The nature of research is that other people are probably working on similar ideas to you, and it is possible that someone will beat you to publishing them.
Posts Tagged ‘progress’:
If you find this blog helpful (or even if you don’t but you’re interested in blogs on research issues and tools), there are a few other blogs about doing research that you might find useful. Here are a few that I read. Patter — Pat Thomson. The Thesis Whisperer — Inger Mewburn. The Research Whisperer – several RMIT researchers. the (research) supervisor’s friend — Geof Hill. My Research Rants – Jordi Cabot. The Three Month Thesis – James Hayton. profserious – Anthony Finkelstein. Academic Life — Marialuisa Aliotta. Help for New Professors — Faye Hicks. The Art of Scientific Writing – Faye Hicks. Explorations of style– Rachael Cayley. sharmanedit — Anna Sharman. GradHacker – writers from several universities. PhD Life – Warwick Uni students. PhD Comics — essential reading for every PhD student, and good therapy. I’ve created a bundle so you can subscribe to all of these in one go. Of course, there are lots of statistics blogs as well, and blogs about other research disciplines. The ones above are those that concentrate on generic research issues.
Richard Hamming was an excellent mathematician who worked at the interface of mathematics and computer science. In 1986 he gave a wonderful talk entitled You and Your Research. Derek Smith on the AMS Graduate Student blog reminded me of it today. If you haven’t read it previously, stop work immediately and read it now.
I read an interesting post today by Matt Might on “10 reasons PhD students fail”, and I thought it might be helpful to reflect on some of the barriers to PhD completion that I’ve seen. Matt’s ideas are not all relevant to Australian PhDs, so I have come up with my own list below. Here are the seven steps to failure. 1. Wait for your supervisor to tell you what to do A good supervisor will not tell you what to do. PhD students are not meant to be research assistants, and a PhD is not an extended undergraduate assignment. So waiting to be told what to do next will usually get you nowhere. By the time you graduate with a PhD, you are supposed to be an independent researcher. That means having your own ideas, setting your own research directions, and choosing what to do yourself. In practice, your supervisor will usually need to tell you what to do for the first year, but eventually you need to set the research agenda yourself. By the third year you should certainly know more about your topic than your supervisor, and so are in a better position to know what to do next. 2. Wait for inspiration Sitting around
It seems everyone has 7 secrets to success, and now someone has hopped on the 7-secrets bandwagon with something for PhD students. Thinkwell is an Australian company offering a seminar and associated work book on “The 7 secrets of highly successful PhD students”. I bought the book out of curiosity, but “book” is a gross exaggeration — only eleven pages of fairly simplistic advice. I hope the seminar has more substance. For what it’s worth, here are the so-called seven secrets. Care and maintenance of your supervisor. Write and show as you go. Be realistic. Say no to distractions. It’s a job. Get help. You can do it. If you can work out what is meant from those headings, you’re doing better than me. After reading the “book”, I think a better summary would be as follows. Meet regularly with your supervisor. Write up your research ideas as you go. Have realistic research goals. Beware of distractions and other commitments. Set regular hours and take holidays. Make full use of the available help. Persevere. Nothing too surprising there. Perhaps it should have been called “Seven obvious things PhD students should already know”. If I haven’t put you all off, one of the authors is presenting the seminar at Monash in a couple of weeks. The