6

I am a master student in computer science and am working on a static program analysis project as my thesis. I used existing platforms and frameworks along with existing approaches for static analysis of a program.

However my work would solve a problem in the area I am working in. In better words, for Android OS there is not yet a good work on static analysis of native binaries. This is what I am working on.

I think my work is not a good research work, because my work is all about implementation and dealing with existing tools. As far as I know, a good research work should not engage itself in implementation complexities and should be as abstract as it can be with a great degree of novelty.

In my opinion my work is novel, but it is not an abstract solution as it is mostly about technological stuff. So, I am in doubt if I am thinking right or not.

PS: By "good research work", I mean it can be published as a good research paper.

  • Does it solve a novel problem or offer a novel solution to a known problem? – Captain Emacs Jun 5 '16 at 11:54
  • @CaptainEmacs It's a known problem, but there isn't a good solution yet. – frogatto Jun 5 '16 at 14:29
  • And yours is? Then you have your answer. – Captain Emacs Jun 5 '16 at 17:18
9

Good scientific research is anything that increases the knowledge of humanity. Sometimes that involves creation of new things, sometimes that involves putting together existing things in a way that creates a new capability.

What you have described might or might not be scientific research, depending on the particulars of the work.

  • If there is an interesting reason why Android static analysis hasn't been done yet (e.g., something incompatible between Android's organization and typical static analysis approaches), then explaining that reason and how you overcame it can be the core of a good scientific paper.
  • If, on the other hand, it's just technical drudge work (e.g., like rewriting an application from C to Java), then even if it is difficult and valuable it will not be particularly scientifically interesting.

Even if the application itself turns out not to be scientifically interesting, however, what you learn once you start applying static analysis to Android programs might well be...

2

In my opinion, academic research work should be focused more on learning in general and learning how to perform research correctly in particular, rather than on doing grandiose, novel or even "the right" research. This is especially applicable to the Master's level research, where implementation-focused work and theses are very popular (obviously, it is quite field-dependent, but here I imply the software engineering / computer science areas of research).

I don't see any reasons for why an good implementation-focused research work could not be published as a research paper in a solid journal. In fact, I have seen a lot of such papers (of varied quality), especially in the above-mentioned domains, published in respected peer-reviewed outlets.

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