The genesis of this work goes back to the time when I began teaching a course on Research Methodology to fellow (doctoral) programme students at NITIE. That was way back in 2003, a good 11 years ago. That was when the Applied Statistics forming half of the course was taken out at my insistence and began to be taught as a separate course in addition to the stream-specific courses in the first module, with the sole objective of strengthening the methodology part without neglecting the statistical tools/techniques widely used by research scholars. That my colleagues on the Board of Research concurred with my long-held view and agreed to such a change was a big step indeed, for it was only then that as the Chair I could convince the Director. Perhaps, by then it had become increasingly clear to all concerned that in most credit seminar presentations, there was confusion among students as between methodology and methods and that they took the latter for the former, thus came the opportunity to strengthen the research methodology course with some theoretical perspectives, especially from the logical and philosophical viewpoints associated with creation, dissemination and advancement of knowledge. It felt good to experiment with new topics like knowledge claims, formal logic, dialectics, theory, empiricism, positivism, phenomenology, quantitative and qualitative paradigms and models, verification and falsification modelling, etc. More importantly, the students seemed interested and receptive, often expressing the view that this was something totally new to which they were exposed to and that it would immensely benefit them in their research work. Yet, I would increasingly feel something was amiss, and this was despite the fact a significant proportion of the batch admitted happened to come with fairly sound academic background, albeit from diverse disciplines ranging from science and technology, economics, finance, behavioural sciences to social and management sciences, IT, environment, ergonomics, etc. Admittedly, their proposed areas/topics of research were as diverse; some entailing conceptualization, modelling, testing, others involving laboratory work, others relying on primary data obtained from fieldwork/surveys and yet others taking recourse to library research using published data sources. Further, some were quantitative in their approach, others were qualitative and some others adopted a mixed type. Also, the composition of the successive batches would change.
KeywordsKnowledge Claim Diverse Background Diverse Discipline Drawing Inference Sole Objective
First and foremost, my heartfelt thanks go to the contributors to this volume for their encouragement as well as graciously agreeing to be a part of this project and sparing some of their valuable time to write the chapters amidst their busy schedules and pressing commitments. I would like to thank Professor R. Bandyopadhyay with whom I have had the privilege of long years of fruitful interaction. In addition to sharing my concerns and appreciating the need for bringing out this volume, he also generously agreed to contribute three valuable essays to it. So also, my grateful thanks go to Professor Amitabha Gupta, Professor L. M. Bhole, Professor O. B. Sayeed, Professor V. K. Kool and Professor Rita Agrawal for their encouragement, for readily agreeing to write for the volume and for sending in their valuable contributions well in time to meet the publication schedule. Besides, I am thankful to Dr. Lakshmikanth Hari for his immense help during the process of editing and consolidation of the volume to bring it to the final shape, in addition to co-authoring the Appendix. Further, I would like to express my grateful thanks to Professor D. M. Nachane who very kindly agreed to write a foreword to the volume. His erudite scholarship, humility, kindness and unwavering dedication and commitment to academic profession have been an immense source of encouragement to many of us in our generation right from our student days onwards, who looked up to the peer group that he belonged for inspiration and guidance. Also, my sincere thanks go to the several batches of research scholars I taught and interacted with, at NITIE as well as outside, during their seminar presentations right from the stage of registration, literature review, credit seminars and all the way to synopsis stage, in various capacities, be it as an examiner, advisor, guide or dean. In fact, one learned a great deal from their trials and errors and struggles with issues of conceptualization, methodology, inference, implications and the like in addition to those of one’s own, over a period of time. Also, it is an occasion to reminisce with gratitude the several interesting reading sessions on classical political economy I was privileged to have with Professor Attila Agh while I was with the University of Dar es Salaam. His erudite scholarship, deep understanding of the subject and familiarity with the original German editions of the literature were immensely helpful in appreciating a number of finer points/aspects. Besides being kind and affectionate, the Agh couple was also generous hosts. In addition, thanks are due to Ms. Sagarika Ghosh, Sr. Editor of Springer for showing keen interest in the manuscript from the beginning till the very end and helping in bringing out this publication. My thanks also go to her team especially Ms. Nupoor Singh for the attention to details, care and meticulous job done on the whole. Thanks are also due to anonymous referees. Further, I shall be failing in my duty if I do not remember my venerable teachers right from school onwards, through college and all the way to university days. As I look back in retrospect and remember them with gratitude, I consider myself fortunate to have had such a galaxy of dedicated teachers who, despite being taskmasters, were kind, large-hearted and patriotic. In particular, mention must be made of Professor VR Panchamukhi, Professor PR Brahmananda, Professor R Bharadwaj, Professor KR Ranadive, Professor VM Rao and Professor GC DeCosta. Finally, I would like to thank my loving family for their constant support and encouragement over the years.
To end, it is my sincere hope, this volume would serve as a useful reference for doctoral scholars in social and management sciences, including those from a wide variety of technology-management interface areas, and would go a long way in facilitating their research work with improved rigour, relevance and perspective.
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