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Research methodology

  1. Feb 16, 2015 #1

    is there a resource, book, website, online course, or whatever that will tell me the principles of research?

    to give you an example of what I mean

    you want to create a mechanism that transmits motion
    you can do that mechanically, but what are the available options?
    but again you can do it via magnetism!
    or maybe other ways
    what is the algorithm to follow, so that I won't miss any of the available alternatives?

    or I want to detect a disease in human body without touching it
    that should be done via waves
    it could be ultrasound
    but also proton scan too!
    how can I know ALL the available options?

    you can never be expert for everything
    is there any method though to follow so that you will see all your options?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2015 #2


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    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't think there is an algorithm that will allow you to be confident you have found all available options. And even if you have all options I don't think there is an algorithm that lets you pick the best one.

    Mechanical design requires a lot of training. One of the reasons is in order to learn many possible ways of solving a problem, and the contexts in which each way is useful. For example, a drive axle on a vehicle may need to operate in snow (and so be exposed to salt and sand on a road), and so various options are not practical. Or it may need to operate under water, again limiting options. Or a drive mechanism in a factor might need to accommodate high temperatures or acids or high vibration. Each will have different materials that work. You need to study these things, or pay an expert.

    Similarly, medical diagnosis requires a lot of training. This is again for the same general reason. You can only apply certain methods. If it was something like ebola that was very catching, you need to do tests that do not expose your medical workers. Or if you are trying to diagnose a condition on a part of the body deep inside the brain you can't do any damaging things or you give the patient brain damage. You need to study these things, or pay an expert.

    Also, as new technology is produced, the array of options changes.
  4. Feb 16, 2015 #3
    no, I don't expect the algorithm to pick the best alternative, but only to list all alternatives
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