Friday, July 13, 2012


Times Higher Education has released the 2011-12 World University Rankings on October 6,2011. The continental break-up of the top 200 universities is: Europe 86, North America 84, Asia 20, and Oceania 8, with South America and Africa one each. Of the 20 in Asia, the top position has been occupied by University of Tokyo, with second, third and fourth places taken respectively by University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore and Peking University.

Not a single institution from India is in the top 200. University of Tokyo, though top in Asia, occupies only the 30th place among the world's top 200. City University of Hong Kong, placed 20th in Asia, has a rank of 193 in the global list. It simply shows how difficult it is for even well-known universities to make it to the top globally.
In addition to the top 200, an additional 202 universities are listed, not one by one in rank order, but in bands: 201-225, 226-250, 251-275, 276-300, 301-350 and 351-400. In the penultimate band of 301-350, we find the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

This World University Rankings are based on 13 different indicators of performance classified into five categories: teaching (learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), citations (influence of research), industry income, and international outlook pertaining to staff, students and research. The weights for the five categories are: 30% for teaching, research (30%), citations (30%), industry income (2.5%) and international outlook (7.5%).
One can easily summarize that for institutions in the category of universities, overall score directly and indirectly depends on research quality, largely captured by citations per paper. It takes a lot of hard work plus addressing queries and concerns of two or three reputed academic referees before a paper is accepted by top journals. The reward is worth it: relatively large number of citations add to the prestige of researchers and their institutions.
To make it to top global ranks, Indian universities need to encourage their academics to do useful and authentic research which could b published in top journals and score high on citations per paper.
Quality Matters!!!
Research is a process through which we attempt to achieve systematically and with the support of data the answer toa question, the resolution of a problem, or a greater understanding of a phenomenon. In the words of Webster, “Research is a careful, critical inquiry or examination in seeking facts for principles, careful investigation in order to ascertain something.”
Quality research pertains more to a judgment regarding the strength and confidence one has in the research findings emanating from the scientific process.  "The level of confidence one might have in evidence turns on the underlying robustness of the research and the analysis done to synthesize that research."( Lohr,2004) Commonly cited criteria for evaluating systems to rate the strength of bodies of evidence include (West, King, & Carey, 2002):
  • Quality: the aggregate of quality ratings for individual studies, predicated on the extent to which bias was minimized in the study designs
  • Quantity: the number of studies, the sample size, the study design's statistical power to detect meaningful effects, and magnitude of the effects found or the effect size
  • Consistency: for any given topic, the extent to which similar findings are reported using similar and different study designs
Thus, more often than not, quality research is a precursor to quality evidence. Typically, the overall study design, the specific research questions, methods, coherence, and consistency of findings influence the type and quality of evidence produced. Furthermore, the literature suggests that in general, a quality evidence-base typically requires more than a single research study.

Standards for Quality Research

Quality research most commonly refers to the scientific process encompassing all aspects of study design; in particular, it pertains to the judgment regarding the match between the methods and questions, selection of subjects, measurement of outcomes, and protection against systematic bias, non systematic bias, and inferential error.
Good research reflects a sincere desire to determine what is overall true, based on information; as opposed to bad research that starts with a conclusion and only presents supporting factoids (individual facts taken out of context).
The National Research Council (2002) have described standards that shape scientific understanding and that are frequently used to frame the discourse on the quality of research. This has lead to the term scientifically based research being used in some settings to address research quality. Frequently mentioned standards for assessing the quality of research include the following:
  • Pose a significant, important question that can be investigated empirically and that contributes to the knowledge base
  • Test questions that are linked to relevant theory
  • Apply methods that best address the research questions of interest
  • Base research on clear chains of inferential reasoning supported and justified by a complete coverage of the relevant literature
  • Provide the necessary information to reproduce or replicate the study
  • Ensure the study design, methods, and procedures are sufficiently transparent and ensure an independent, balanced, and objective approach to the research
  • Provide sufficient description of the sample, the intervention, and any comparison groups
  • Use appropriate and reliable conceptualization and measurement of variables
  • Evaluate alternative explanations for any findings
  • Assess the possible impact of systematic bias
  • Submit research to a peer-review process
  • Adhere to quality standards for reporting (i.e., clear, cogent, complete)
Need of Hour
In this age of globalization and privatization with increased competition and to meet the challenges of the 21st century, our education system should be radically transformed. Quality development should be more emphasized to make the research work relevant for present day. Our real resource is our billion-plus people. We deserve to have at least a dozen universities in globally reputed ranks. It's time now for government and academia to come up with solid plans to move the country's universities up on the ladder of excellence.
Thus we need to stress quality research work, as it is the nature of market economy that only those will survive who are efficient and maintain high productivity and quality.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I would like to introduce all students undergoing any research, to the website of All India Association of Educational Research (AIAER)which gives good information about the ongoing research and trends in education and the addresses to some good websites for searching for topics and related literature for research.

All M.Ed. students at CRS College of Education are requested to go through this website in order to finalize their synopsis for the dissertation. It shall serve good suppport for that purpose.