Facts, ideas and originality
Professor Michael Talbot of the University of Liverpool described the nature of originality in one of lectures to graduate students as:
If we accept that there are two ingredients, facts and ideas, and that both may be either ‘new’ (never before presented to the world) or ‘old’ (familiar from earlier commentary), four possible combinations arise:
1. New facts + New ideas
2. New facts + Old ideas
3. Old facts + New ideas
4. Old facts + Old ideas.
Combinations 1–3 all lead to originality. Only combination 4 is guaranteed to miss out on originality. Between them, combinations 1, 2 and 3 cater for an enormous variety of scholarly talents, temperaments and opportunities.
How to recognise and develop originality in research
For research to be of PhD standard, all institutional regulations require it be ‘original’, but the concept of originality is often misunderstood. This page offers suggestions, advice, tips and general help … more