Saturday, October 11, 2008

Doing Research when Ground Shifts Underneath

It is hard enough to do research when you are competing with other smart people or against the unyielding truth of the universe, but it is harder to do research when the ground underneath shifts even as one preps a research question. I was reminded of this when I heard a pst on how people purchase HDTVs: by a sequence of steps that includes searching the web, seeing and being influenced by display ads, going to product review and comparison sites, before finally buying it at a physical store. Being a curious person, I typed in "hdtv" into Google and I got the following (left), complete with product names, prices and no. of stores; if you click one of those links, you see the comparison (right). There goes that sequence. We researchers have to keep in mind when trying to formulate problems to model, study, and optimize that in some cases, the technology might change faster than we can write down the problem.


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11:16 AM  

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