For around an hour, the North American expert gave the attendees some practical tips for changing our approach to research and enhancing productivity. Boyd started his presentation by mentioning the different experiences that people may have when starting to undertake a research project, ranging from frustration and disappointment all the way to success at the other end of the scale. He went on to share a list of 10 habits that, if applied, can help researchers move towards a positive experience. “How can we enjoy our success more as researchers?”, asked Boyd, before swiftly answering his own question: “By being more productive”.
The 10 habits for productive research
Eric Boyd then started going through the list of habits, the first of which was “choosing topics with a high ROI (Return on Investment)” because, as he explained, “it is very hard for somebody to tell us that it is not important”. Secondly, he underlined the level of “interest” in the topics, measured through four characteristics: novelty, uncertainty, conflict and complexity. He then highlighted the relevance of the “use of data” and “creativity”.
Halfway down the list, the fifth habit that he emphasized was “learning from mentors”, of which he identified two types: theory mentors, “who can help us tell our story”, and method mentors. “The former profile would be more ‘senior’, while the latter is usually somebody who has just started out on their professional career”, he clarified.
Moving on to the next habits, Professor Boyd talked about the need to achieve “collaborations that are complementary to the researcher” and “give them access to skills that they do not have. He went on to highlight the need to “anticipate critics’ objections”. Reaching the end of the list, he emphasized aspirational journals, delivery strategy and, last but not least, the creation of a research space.
Before bringing his presentation to a close and discussing opinions with the students present, Eric Boyd added an eleventh habit: having (and maintaining) a “marathon mindset”. As we know, the field of research cannot be run in a day. As the expert said, it is more of a long-distance race.
Gaining his PhD from the University of Virginia, since 2003, Eric Boyd has been the Professor of Marketing at James Madison University (Virginia, USA) since 2003. The North-American professor visited EAE’s Barcelona Campus during his stay in the city.