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I am curious and also want to clear my understanding about the nature of research which students undertake in a PhD program.

Take this product as an example.

  1. What is the difference between the research behind the development of this product, and a PhD research which is able to earn a degree?
  2. Does a 4-5 years' PhD research degree program allow developing a product like this?
  3. Does the student need to mask his product development as a PhD thesis by selecting a cryptic title which sounds "wise", or would he be allowed to use a plain title like "A desktop sweater knitter"?
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What is the difference between the research behind the development of this product, and a PhD research which is able to earn a degree?

Products are typically developed from known results (including existing research), whereas research (during a PhD) produces new results.

Does a 4-5 years' PhD research degree program allow developing a product like this?

Not typically: Research is time consuming and there typically isn't time to develop products.

Does the student need to mask his product development as a PhD thesis by selecting a cryptic title which sounds "wise", or would he be allowed to use a plain title like "A desktop sweater knitter"?

I think you're (discretely) trying to ask: How can I develop a product during my PhD? Don't do that. If you do, the IP will (most) likely be owned by your university, not you. You'll need a less common approach: Work for a company (possibly your own) and enrol with a university under non-standard terms which ensure the company retains (all or most) IP rights.

  • "Products are typically developed from known results (including existing research), whereas research (during a PhD) produces new results." --- kindly, elaborate. – user366312 Mar 13 at 12:47
  • I don't really understand what you want elaboration on. Nevertheless: Just look at a product, e.g., a pencil, there's nothing new there (it is just graphite wrapped in wood). By comparison, look at a research paper, it is by definition novel. Of course, I'm oversimplifying and generalising, but that's the core idea. – user2768 Mar 13 at 12:56

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