The project focuses on figuring out what factors would affect the process of technology commercialization. To be more specific, we used a bottom up approach by analyzing all the papers we can get our hands on from a list and try to find co-discoveries among those. Assuming that now the teams are equipped with the same technology, we would trace up to see what are some factors that lead to the commercialization or not of the technology and compare the pair to get some kind of conclusion.
This is the general plan of the research but we had a relatively slow start. During the whole summer, we were trying to figure out how to do the data collection and because of the huge number of papers we need to download, it was simply impossible to do it manually. Therefore, we wrote a program from scratch and spent three months trying to find the most efficient and reliable way of downloading the papers from the internet and perfecting the program. It was a long time of debugging, discussing the method of downloading, abandoning the previous method and picking it up again.
This past summer, if I have to say what I learnt from the research, rather than some solid knowledge on our topic, I would say that it was more of me getting a real sense of what researches are like. Before I started the research, I thought our professor had it all planned out, and what we need to do would be to simply follow the route so by the end of summer, we would get some kind result. But I quickly realized that there is never a right or wrong way of approaching a topic, only whether it is efficient or not. The professor is not there to tell you which way to go; it is more of a discussion based process of trying to figure out a way together.
I felt that this experience is educational for my future work experience since there is seldom anyone telling you the right steps. Everything comes as a more collaborative effort.