In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:
How do people working in small departments brainstorm research ideas?
I work in a teaching-oriented small department, and people work in quite different areas. I often encounter small ideas and thoughts in my research such as “x is interesting. I wonder if anyone talks about it” and “can we think about y in a different way?”… Some of these ideas were developed into papers, but many of them were based on misunderstandings or the lack of basic background knowledge on certain topics. In graduate school, I could just have a quick conversation with either my peers or professors. But there are no such people around me now. I saw people doing this kind of brainstorming on Facebook and Twitter, but I do not have many friends or followers on social media. So, I was still emailing my peers and professors from graduate school, but I am not sure if this is sustainable. I wonder if there are other effective ways to brainstorm small research ideas.
This is an excellent question, and I’m curious to hear from other readers who work in small departments. I work in a very small department myself, and this was one of the more difficult things that I had to learn how to grapple with early in my career. In my case, I just had to learn how to do work mostly on my own. Everyone in my department worked in very different areas, and I’ve never been very good at cultivating a research network–so I just learned to draft up ideas that seemed interesting to me and send out work to conferences and journals. That worked fine for me in the end, but I imagine that it’s probably not the best solution for everyone.
So, if you work in a small department, what do you do? Any tips for the OP on how to brainstorm new research ideas?
Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More