RM – Research Problem Formulation

Notes taken during sessions attended at the VGEC under the course of Research Methodology. These notes are not modified, and just as it was recorded.

Research Methodology class

18/02/2017, Saturday

Auditorium, VGEC Chandkheda

Dr. Rajul K. Gajjar, Director – Research, GTU & Principal, VGEC (rkgajjar@yahoo.com)

Session – 1: Research Problem Formulation

Introduction of each participants (name, branch and institution) [till 11.45 am]

  • Status of the assignment – revisit after the session – no need for re-print;
  • Assignments are for getting a deeper idea about the research topic;
  • By the end of assignment, one can produce a synthesis paper (it is a first paper for a research paper) but it teaches how to write, search literature, format it and so on;
  • Assignments were aimed to:
    • How to find researchers for a topic;
    • How to criticize a research paper;
    • How to prepare a synthesis paper;
  • Design of research was explained in earlier lecture (only background, no software demonstration)

How to formulate a research problem:

  • All researchers have already shown a willingness to work on a topic however, it was just an exercise to check the research attitude among the applicants;
  • It can be considered as a theme but not a formulated problem;
  • BVB explained and discussed about his topic
  • Jayveer talked about vehicle emission norms for future- Eoro Standard 6 / Bharat Stage 4 (a devised based research for producing emission in compliance to EURO 6 norms that can be applicable in India – Spark engine vehicle based device)
    • Talk about the intervention;
    • Talk about the gap identified based on literature study;
    • EGR Technology / Carbon dust – exhaust emission ash-pond concept consuming amount of gas making it able to reuse; and convert it in to a device;
    • Will you be able to meet your set target in next four years?
  • A few papers tell about something, a few about something else and one can get a spark about what should be explored/ intervened – it is the GAP. Give it up for the innovators.
  • All the literature must be very critically reviewed for identification of the GAP for your research;
  • Identify few (about five) papers that are most relevant to the research topic;
  • Literature review is very important – it will give aim, objective, scope and method to carry out the actual research
  • Topic can be freeze later however literature review needs to be done continuously throughout the duration of PhD;
  • If data is not available, the research can get lost – find source – all of it that are necessary for performing the research;
  • Ellis: Refrigeration and air condition based research: VCRA system waste will feed in the other system enabling reduction in the GHG emission;
    • Condensing process waste;
    • Design of a heat exchanger;
    • Satisfying many conditions;
    • Work is similarly done for Solar but not for household based condensers;
    • Funds will be required and a lot of facilities will be required and make sure that the work is not being done elsewhere;
    • Publish the first-end results instantaneously as soon it is available;
    • A series experiments will be required to get done during time;
  • Literature review and research gap (No Googleing)
  • Source of data and experimental setup
  • Apply for research proposal for funding
  • No structure for research – it needs to be designed however, a broad guideline are available;
  • Systematic handling of database;
  • Read – write – speak – define time windows
    • NO GOOGLE for Literature review – GTU will provide access to good journals
      • IEEE and other good journals access available through GTU library;
      • Check for IITs, NITs, ISRO, PRL and such; write to them for sending specific papers, they provide it; professors leverage ID and password for accessing journals for researches;
    • Go for a proposal for experiments/ procuring software in guidelines with the supervisor – start sending;
    • Identify sources for funding and pass it on among ourselves;
    • Share a sample sanctioned proposal draft to have an idea about drafting the proposal;
  • Ms, Darshana Bhatti: advanced oxidation processing for farmers;
    • Fetched a grant from GujCOST
    • Published a paper in conference at Chennai, fetched second prize for poster presentation;
    • Reading proliferate and rigorous, reading is learning, more of the fundamental learning is essential, first reading will not allow to understand everything; each paper needs to be read for at least 5-6 times – each time more of the understanding is leveraged; a thorough reading will allow for thinking over a gap for your research;
    • Read – read – read; let go off the sleep in the upcoming four years – if such passion is inserted, then only PhD will be enjoyable; Do not loose every 10 minutes available for reading; keep scribbling; keep reading, writing and SPEAKING; choose friends who make you most uncomfortable; it needs be painful time ahead;
    • Be proactive, preparing ourselves – not losing time windows – you are not full-time researchers
  • Ask Radhika to send list of co-supervisors (international)
  • A good person working at senior level in any reputed university can be proposed as a co-supervisor for your research, propose it to GTU and it will be granted by GTU;
  • Jigar Malavia (MAZDA):
    • Treatment of affluent by some methods are identified through literature study;
    • If something is already is done, it needs not to be attended through PhD;
    • Write a short paragraph about the applicability at the end of entire PhD; it will add much value to the work done
  • Hetal:
    • Discussion on a topic based on Cloud under IT engineering;
    • Identified a possibility of framing an algorithm
    • Reading on big data analysis, scheduling algorithm, Hadoop based algorithms,
    • The research is not to find a tool – writing a good algorithm is not a research – it will not be accepted
    • Even if the research gap is established, there must be substantial aim for carrying out a PhD
  • Milind:
    • Gujarat state based documentation in Gujarat;
    • Character recognizing from Gujarati written documents;
    • It will be a work on developing an OCR for Gujarati language; attempting on the quality of OCR based output at the end of the research;
    • Talk to people – do a lot of literature review – exhaustive

Presentation by Madam:

  • Research problem formulation:
    • Criteria for selecting a problem
    • Formulating research problem
    • Writing research problem
    • Evaluating research problem
    • Objective of lecture: to impart skills on how to formulating and structure a research problem
      • Hemang: (GIS & ITS) The whole neural network is working in the background while you are research papers are searched; read papers that are most relevant; think over “what if it would be done in some else manner?” it will help defining research problem; interpretations are in a manner of an individual; scale of a problem does not matter; “ONLY 5 PAPERS FOR DEFINING PROBLEM” it also will help framing a magnitude of the problem statement;
      • Once the gap is defined – objective and scope is to be written – objectives need not be more than four – scope will help framing work plan
      • Do the manual calculations – not by computerized – it will help training your neural network – solve every problem by yourself – irrespective of getting the right/wrong answers – Just do it.


Session – II Presenting the research

  • Three versions of research programme (thesis) was discussed
  • Organization will be different from order of writing
    • Writing the thoughts inside out
      • Start with the work
        • Write the middle level (own work) chapters first
        • Indexing is very essential (for studied papers, scribbles, notes everything)
      • Then go to the conclusions
      • Write the introduction next
      • Finally, an abstract (as three is a limitation of 500 words)
        • Give maximum time in writing your own work
        • Writing in own words;
        • Failure during the work might not be added in the thesis (considering it to be a foolish job done) but negative results help researchers in choosing paths
        • Not necessary to have detailed explanation and descriptions
      • Start writing early as there will be many revisions; start preparing various sections
      • Janak Trivedi questioned – there are many parameters and methodologies where the research need to be done, it will be required to have write inside-out many times
        • RM helps in defining research path through a structured method, if there is a diversion, there is an informed choice of diverting; in the duration of limited four-year time; there is no need to write all the chapters again and again;
        • Problem definition will be after the literature review (conclusions of studies)
      • Reports and deadlines: allow you to stay and track
    • Thesis structure (Slide 04 and 05)
    • Introduction should be interesting, so that reader will go on anticipating interest
      • Read a few thesis introductions
      • Several drafts to make it interesting
    • Literature review
      • From where did the problem came from?
      • There will be various sections leading to sub-areas of research work
    • Middle chapters
      • These are material for papers
        • Theory
        • Experimental/ computational model
        • Results
          • How one want to stand the defense – method of writing the chapter will be based on that (1) do all the tables/charts etc and then describe them (2) there will be results with descriptions
          • Results never to be dumped on the examiner/ reader – it is not just allowed
        • Validation of the model created by you through within the domain so that results are never questioned; if validation process show minor errors, keep making minute tweaks to it till errors are minimized and make a robust model; trends (iterative runs) developed through iterative model run, which will be reflected in a simplified result statement/ discussions over the result;
        • Conclusions are drawn based on own work only.
      • Find good examples of conclusions not acceptable
      • More statements in the conclusion is false notion; it needs to be based on the work only (maybe a sentence or two);
      • Research in PhD need to be very exhaustive – they are final statements – they are to be used as primary steps for future research – trends are essential prior deriving the conclusion
      • Quantification in general sense need to be included
      • Watch the trends and not just the final version;
      • Mapping of objectives are done in the conclusion;


  • First DPC is the core subject examination
    • Include somewhat of aim/objective and scope of rsearch
  • Compulsory DPC are eight number (May and November)
  • One research week in a year (not for 2015 batch student) but come and sit attend, panels of international experts/ IIT experts
  • After that open seminar (final defense)
  • Submission of synopsis


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