In pursuit of research

As doctoral researchers a.k.a. Ph.D. students, we are the so-called “researchers in training.” We took this path because we had a calling. More or less, we felt we had more to offer to science after getting our master’s degree – having that innate endless curiosity and the pre-requisite skills to come through; or so we initially thought until mind-boggling hurdles greeted us along the way. But it’s part of what we signed up for, isn’t it? Nevertheless, we felt we had what it takes to persevere and become rational men and women of science. But what is scientific research anyway? When and how can we say that we are doing a good job out of it? It is not a monetary discussion (trust me) but that feeling of fulfilment that we are contributing to human knowledge and perhaps towards good change. Nowadays, we are also taking part in feeding artificial intelligence (AI) platforms with information – that is contributing to their training data to become an intellectually superb collection of algorithms. So these platforms can provide sufficient help for those in need (we all do at more than one point). The bottom line is, we are contributing out of our good hearts, good souls, and good minds.

According to Viergever et al., (2010), there is no such thing as a single best practice to do research in health sciences. Everything is relative to the context and aims of our research. It’s all about delineating our research priorities. On this note, they proposed nine common themes of good research practices as follows: 1) Clear context (i.e. research scope, criteria for principles, and environment); 2) Comprehensive approach (i.e. frameworks, models, and philosophical underpinnings); 3) Inclusiveness (identifying stakeholders); 4) Information gathering (availability and gaps in knowledge); 5) Implementation planning; 6) Criteria (to determine which priorities to focus on); 7) Scientifically sound methodology; 8) Evaluation of process; and 9) Transparency. Seems a handful of considerations; but I guess we should just keep on remembering that at the end of the day, the way we achieved our accomplishments reflects our own rigor, logic, and dedication. One research process may be less sensible to another and yet, an impressive feat to some. We need to believe in our ideas through thick and thin while getting a good grasp of our logical reasoning in every sense of the word.

It is rather common for us doctoral researchers to modify our research plans throughout the course of our Ph.D. journeys. I mean, why not? Afterall, the only permanent in this world is change. Changes happen for us to adapt rather than to compromise. Every day things happen around us and each day, a hundred things can change. May it be political, educational, financial, or even the society we live in to name a few. These undebatably affect research. Our willingness to adapt to change can lead to further discoveries and foster our mindset toward logical reasoning. It has always been a process and a fraction of the whole journey. Regardless of how many times we change our research processes, as long as everything is logically cohesive, then there is really nothing much to worry about until we publish and defend our scientific stance with the peer reviewers.

There are many factors to consider in getting our works published. Perhaps it all comes down to the right journal, right reviewers, right timing, and the right way to convey our research. One of the important things I have learned in my own pursuit of research is that just because all seems clear and logical to you does not mean it is the same with others at the onset. Putting your research into writing is a skill that needs to be developed. It is not easy. We need to go through the process and gradually develop the skill. There is no skipping the “read, read, and read” to be well-informed on how things are done in a multitude of ways. As we familiarize ourselves with what’s out there, we arm ourselves with more knowledge. It gets easier as we go along, so they say. The most crucial part is if there is even something to write about (grin). Scientific research takes time; nevertheless, it’s worth pursuing.

Kaile Kubota 

TtM, SH | MHSc, MSN, RN, Väitöskirjatutkija | Doctoral Researcher, Hoitotieteen laitos | Department of Nursing Science, Lääketieteellinen tiedekunta | Faculty of Medicine, Turun yliopisto | University of Turku, Finland,

Research topic: Co-design of a serious game for promoting the psychosocial well-being of pre-adolescent children


Unseen Studio. (2015). Designer sketching Wireframes. Available at:

Viergever, R.F., Olifson, S., Ghaffar, A. et al. (2010). A checklist for health research priority setting: nine common themes of good practice. Health Res Policy Sys 8, 36.


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