The interest of the poll (as described by Alexandre) was to compare answer distribution for PhD students and for staff.
Here are the results of the poll for 11 participants.
- Why : 45%
- How : 45%
- What : 9%
- Where, When, Who, How much : 0%
“Why” and “How” have equally obtained the highest percentages. To be more specific, for staff (4 participants), the distribution is “Why”: 75% and “What”: 25% and for PhD students (7 participants), the distribution is “How”: 71.5% and “Why” 28.5%. We observe that experienced people ask “Why”, and young ones ask “How”. To be more clear, note that for PhD students in the first or second year, “How” is 100%!
This “How” approach comes from an engineering point of view. In school, you are given a set of tools to solve problems, and are evaluated on your good use of these tools to solve exam problems. The difficult part in research is that problems have no answer yet!
PS: Statements and justifications are written by Alexandre.