Literature Search: Is hiring a Ph.D. professional necessary?

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“They say if you want to glimpse the future, just look behind you.”

The words Jason Statham said in “Furious 7” are also applicable to new business ventures, research studies, or even new types of customer services. Most researchers and/or entrepreneurs conduct a literature search before they write a new project proposal. Many funding agencies require a literature search in their applications.

Literature Search/Review

Hiring a professional with doctoral degree to do a literature search might be a smart thing to do. Today, even when the information is at our fingertips, these experts provide a good value for money, and hiring them turns out to be an investment with good returns rather than an expense.

Here are the main five reasons why company executives hire an expert professional with doctoral or post-doctoral experience to conduct a literature search:

1) Experts know “the knowledge gap”: When a company or a research lab needs a literature search, the organization is trying to identify the knowledge gap – what information or products or services are currently missing which they could provide. Post-docs and Ph.D. professionals are rigorously trained to find the knowledge gaps through literature searches.

2) Experts know “why”: Literature searches serve as a background and framework to the proposed study or service. Post-docs and Ph.D. professionals, with their writing skills, present researched information in such a manner that it provides a context to the problem and the solution under consideration.

3) Experts focus on the solution you can offer: A successful company or research lab offers a unique solution to a problem. If literature search is not thorough, then the novelty of the solution is not sufficiently highlighted. Through their training, post-docs and Ph.D. professionals are trained to spot and emphasize the bright ideas. Hiring a doctoral professional to do a literature search increases the chances of emphasizing company’s uniqueness.

4) Experts design “how”: Often the media and pop culture create an image that the scientists are disorganized and crazy individuals. On the contrary, post-docs and Ph.D. professionals have a method to their research madness, and conduct their studies, including literature searches, in an organized manner. They develop the search strategy such as search terms, search engines, journals, patents, and timeframe. Further, when the articles are shortlisted, they evaluate each article for its merits, methods and outcomes.

Since doctoral professionals keep in touch with the trends in the field, their searches will most likely meet the current industry standard and often set a new standard. Additionally, when articles are not available of the literature search (which happens if business/research idea is novel), doctoral professionals have personal connections in their field of expertise which they can utilize to gain further insight, information about current consensus and the recent advancements in the field.

5) Experts consider quality to be of prime importance: In a literature search, many items need quality assurance such as the source. For instance, journals with high impact factors or meticulous documentation of personal communications with leading scientists serve as credible sources for a research study. A doctoral professional pays attention to all these details and ensures credibility of the search.

Company executives can benefit by collaborating with doctoral professionals as together they can offer solutions or services that currently do not exist.

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About Author

Aditi is an expert in the field of mind-body interactions. After completing a PhD in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon, her research focused on physiological changes associated with emotional blunting and stress. Apart from science, she is interested in food writing, art and art history.

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