🧐

Problem Solving

96 SAVED IDEAS

Optimism Bias

Looking at the bright side of life, and putting more weight on the likelihood of positive events happening around us is known as Optimism Bias.

The two beliefs that form this bias are:

  1. A belief that we possess a greater amount of positive traits than others.
  2. A belief to have some kind of control over the world around us.

@george_ii20

🧐

Problem Solving

Optimism bias provides us with a certain level of confidence, which may be just false, but is effective in stopping the constant worry, doubt and fear that arises when we try new and potentially difficult things.

Unexpected negative events keep happening, but we choose hope and positivity over despair and cling to the positive things that help us survive the crisis.

Reality cannot be seen with positivity goggles at all times, and being constantly positive blinds us from the actual facts, rendering us unprepared for potential hazards.

Genetics play a 30 to 40 percent role in optimism bias. Actively believing that positive changes are going to happen boosts our motivation to try harder than we normally would, impacting the final outcome. Positive expectations make us happier and reduce our anxiety.

In the corporate world, CEOs and entrepreneurs tend to lean towards optimism as their success sometimes depends on them not quitting in despair.

As beneficial as it is, complete optimism has its downside, as we need to be realistic on what can be done in the given circumstances.

Seeing a situation from all possible angles and as objectively as possible is recommended. Optimism, like any other strength, can turn into a weakness if overplayed.

Famous Eureka Moments

The falling apple has caused physicist Isaac Newton to formulate his laws of gravity. Archimedes took a bath and figured out how to calculate volume and density.

Anna Marie Roos, a historian of science, advises us to take these eureka moments with a grain of salt. However, she thinks they give insight into the creative process.

Narratives of scientific discovery get polished after the fact.

  • Newton was an old man when he told his friend, William Stukeley, that his thinking on the nature of gravity "was occasioned by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood." The adage of "the apple fell on his head" came with time, but is not historically correct.
  • Archimedes did have a eureka moment while he lowered himself in the bath, but the part that he streaked across Syracuse is probably not true.

Eureka stories happen when decades of work get compressed into one inspirational moment.

The stories of Newton and Archimedes point to the need to quiet the mind and be contemplative. The falling apple and gravity, and overflowing bathtub and specific gravity show us that creativity needs space. Creative ideas often occur when scientists allow themselves to play.

How to plan a research project

Planning research projects requires creativity and sharp analytical skills.

Any research planning uses the same four steps:

  1. Orienting yourself to knowledge-creation
  2. Formulating your research question.
  3. Reviewing previous research on your question.
  4. Selecting the information needed to answer your question.

Orienting yourself for research planning requires you to stop thinking like a student, which treats knowledge as something created by other people.

  • Instead of consuming information, adjust your thinking to a producer of information.
  • Question previous claims - even if it comes from a revered source such as Plato or Marie Curie - and perhaps point out previously accepted ideas as wrong or incomplete.

Forming a good question is often the most difficult part of the planning process. This is because the exact language of the question frames the rest of the project. Most researchers do this step repeatedly as they change their question in light of previous research and other constraints.

  • Find a subject that is interesting to you.
  • It should be feasible within your resource constraints, such as time and money.
  • It should lead to new and distinctive insights.

The 'literature review' section in academic research demonstrated that researchers have thoroughly and systematically reviewed relevant findings of previous studies on the topic.

  • Your research project should include something similar to a 'literature review.'
  • Write at least six bullet points describing the major findings on your topic by other people.
  • Using this, you should be able to point out where you could provide new and required insights.

Two basic rhetorical positions can help you frame the novelty-and-importance argument in academic research.

  • Build on or extend a set of existing ideas. 'Person A has argued that X is true. This implies Y, which has not yet been tested. My project will test Y. If I find evidence to support it, it will change the way we view X.'
  • Argue that there is a gap in existing knowledge, either because previous research reached conflicting conclusions or failed to consider something important.

The overall goal is to show that your research will be part of a larger conversation: How your project flows from what's already known, how it advances, extends, or challenges the existing knowledge.

At some point, you'll need to consider which data source and analytical strategy are most likely to give the answers you need.

  • Consider whether your question would be best addressed by qualitative data (interviews, observations, or historical records), quantitative data (surveys or census records) or a combination of both.
  • You might need to collect your own data, or it might be available in an existing database.

The point is to plan research, not to conduct it. The purpose of this step is to think through a feasible approach to answering your research question. You might reevaluate and revise while planning your project as new and unexpected avenues are revealed.

A systematic approach will establish the building blocks of your research project.

  • Clearly describe the question you've chosen to study.
  • Summarise the state of the art in knowledge about the question, and where your project could provide novel insight.
  • Identify the best strategy for collecting and analysing relevant data.

Ask yourself:

  1. What will be the general topic of your paper?
  2. What will be the specific topic of your paper?

Write down your answers in bullet points accepting that you'll probably change your answers as you read other studies on your topic.

These questions should drive your analysis.

  • Your question(s) should be phrased in a way that you can't answer 'yes' or 'no.'
  • It should have multiple plausible answers.
  • It should be framed in terms of How? or What?, instead of asking Why?

Your background information should come from scholarly books and journals, or reputable mass media sources. Use search engines such as JSTOR and Google Scholar.

Create an annotated bibliography by providing at least ten sources relevant to your topic.

  • Name of author(s).
  • Publication date.
  • Title of book, chapter, or article.
  • If it is a chapter or article, write the journal's title or book where they appear.
  • A brief description of this work, including the main findings and methods.
  • A summary of how this work contributes to your project.
  • A brief description of the implications of this work.
  • Identify and gap or controversy in knowledge this work points up, and how your project could address the problem.

Write a short statement of about 250 words about the kind of data that would help address your research and how you'd analyse it.

  • What are the main concepts or variables in your project? Include brief definitions.
  • Do any data sources exist on those concepts, if not, would you need to collect data?
  • _Of the analytical strategies you could apply to your data, which would be the most appro_priate and the most feasible?
We all make bad decisions

While we may not like to admit this, we all are making a lot of bad decisions, be it our personal lives, careers or in our jobs. Here is what research says about making good decisions:

  • You need the right information, not more of it.
  • Feelings can be utilized
  • Know your strengths
  • Make a 'good enough' decision
The right information, not more

If there is too much information, we tend to make the wrong decision, and even if our decision is well-researched and considered right, we end up dissatisfied. 

The right information, even if less, provides clarity to make the right decision.

Gut feelings vs logic

A gut feeling, or an instinct, is often the right path, and points towards the right decision.

Ultra-rational, logical and unemotional decision-making does not guarantee that the decision taken will be the right one.

Factoring your strengths

A good decision depends on the strengths of the person making it.

If a person is an expert in a field, he can then make an informed decision, while trusting his gut feeling or instinct.

A good enough decision

“A good decision now is better than a perfect decision in two days” - James Waters

Losing valuable time for a perfect decision sometimes backfires, and a good enough decision can work just as well.

Self-Education: The Way Of The Future

Self-learning (also known as autodidacticism) is useful for certification (and fine-tuning) of your existing skills, to be able to learn continuously, and for the cultivation of your curiosity.

It’s essential to move out of the comfort zone and dive into the learning zone.

The Learning Loop

Self-learning is about goals and the meaning you derive out of your work, though it can also work without a goal, only for self-satisfaction.

The Learning Loop is as follows:

  1. Identification of the goal, where we research about what are the requirements.
  2. Devising a learning strategy.
  3. Practice with consistency and resilience.
  4. Ensure you get adequate feedback about your progress.

Mind Framing or the personal growth framework uses the PARI method:

  1. Pact: A public commitment to learning something new.
  2. Act: Studying, practicing and experimenting.
  3. React: Sharing of progress and building of projects.
  4. Impact: Work towards something new using the acquired skill and move towards a new pact.

The world is already moving towards direct acquisition of skills and away from credentials. Companies are increasingly okay with self-learned, skilled employees that get the job done.

Many online resources like Coursera, edX.org, Udemy and others can open new doors in our lives and provide us with new skills if we can take the plunge.

© Brainstash, Inc

AboutCuratorsJobsPress KitTopicsTerms of ServicePrivacy PolicySitemap