In February of 2020, I wrote a post on “Coronavirus and the Three C’s,” and since then, there’s been plenty of disheartening news out there. I didn’t want to add to that with this post.
The three C’s I have in mind this time are quite opposite and are what jump out when I ponder the essential ingredients of truly original research. They are curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.
Not all curious individuals are scientific researchers, but all scientific researchers are curious; it is a must. There needs to be a curiosity so intense that it distracts from the multitude of unknowns in uncharted territory. This irresistible sense of curiosity must drive us forward so as to avoid getting stuck in the quicksand of indecision. “Just get out there and start answering those questions!” It’s better to start (if necessary) on the wrong foot than not to start at all.
Then we have creativity. If we’re truly conducting original research, then we can’t really take someone else’s lead, can we? You’re all alone, in an unexplored, pathless, uncut jungle. Undoubtedly we will come against obstacles unlike any previously encountered. We’re going to have to be like MacGyver and come up with something inventive. Something creative! (Which sometimes can lead to a scientific publication in itself).
Collaboration, the final “C.” This isn’t what comes to mind, is it, when we think about some maverick Lone Ranger like MacGyver. The last C doesn’t seem to fit the stage set by curiosity and creativity. But in the world of scientific research, there needs to be collaboration. No human is so great or omniscient as to be able to reach the journey’s end all by him or herself. The scientists we collaborate with can be living or dead. The scientific literature is a treasure trove of experiments and results that outlived the experimenter. Many past results and observations were unexplained and a mystery at the time of publication, waiting to be understood and re-interpreted with the aid of new technology and knowledge at a future date.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.Proverbs 15:22, The Holy Bible
Collaboration brings in fresh and new perspectives. Collaboration keeps us humble. Collaboration discourages fraud and exposes spurious findings. Collaboration is the necessary final “C” . . .
. . . and “C” is a popular letter.
photo credit: 3-Star learning experiences