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ResearchSkills (forcareerandlife)

TaoXie DepartmentofComputerScience NorthCarolinaStateUniversity http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/faculty/xie/ htt // d /f lt / i /

Slidesat
http://people.engr.ncsu.edu/txie/advice/researchskills.pdf

MotivationforThisTalk
Manystudentslackimportant(research)skills tosucceedinacademicorprofessionalcareer
Manystudentsdontrealizethat y Nottosaythattheyknowhowtoimprove

Thistalkintendstoincreaseawarenessof
Importantresearchskills (hi h l l) (highlevel)waysofimprovingtheseskills fi i th kill

Thistalkisbasedonmyownexperienceand observationwhileworkingwithstudents b hl k h d Manyskillsdescribedhereapplicablenotonly y pp y toresearch,butalsotocareerandlife 2

ImportantResearchSkills p
Selfdirectedandmotivated Problemsolvingskills Engineeringskills Innovationskills Communicationskills Learningskills g

SelfdirectedandMotivated
Ifyouneedsomeonetopushyoutodoyourresearch,it oftendoesntworkwell Researchdrivenbypassion:
Community/upper/peerrecognition C it / / iti Intellectualcuriosity Makeimpact(ontheresearchfield,practice,world) Makeimpact(ontheresearchfield practice world) Learningnewthings Betterunderstanding(ofthings) Bettercareerpath

Workhardandstrategically
strategicallyrelatedtoengineeringskills strategically relatedtoengineeringskills effectivelyandefficiently
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ResearchEthics
Absolutelyfollow(research)ethics
Responsibleandresponsive Absolutelynofabricationorfraudofdata Absolutelyavoidplagiarism
Plagiarismex:copyasentencefromanothersource(even wiki)toyourpaperwithoutcitingthesource Plagiarismex:copyasentencefromanothersource(even wiki)toyourpaperwithoutrephrasingevenwhenciting thesource
http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/plagiarism_policy http://www ieee org/web/publications/rights/ID Plagiarism html http://www.ieee.org/web/publications/rights/ID_Plagiarism.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_misconduct http //en wikipedia org/wiki/Research misconduct http://www.chass.ncsu.edu/ethics/


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AvoidDuplicateSubmissions
http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/sim_submissions/ http://www.ieee.org/web/publications/rights/Multi_Sub_Guidelines_Intro.html http://www.icseconferences.org/sc/guidelines/duplicateSubmissions.html htt // i f / / id li /d li t S b i i ht l

ifthereissubstantialoverlapinthetechnicalcontentof theconferencesubmissionandanyotherworkthatis: th f b i i d th kth ti


underreviewatanotherpublication, h b hasbeenacceptedbyanotherpublication,or db h bl hasappearedinanotherpublication,atanytimebeforethe conferencereviewprocessiscomplete. f i i l t publication:anypeerreviewedscientificarchivesuchasa conference,journal,ortechnicalbook. conference journal ortechnicalbook AlsoavoidLPU:LeastPublishableUnit Al idLPU L P bli h bl U i http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Least_publishable_unit
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ResearchPaperLifecycle
W:W0rkshoppositionpaper(47pages) [Notethatsomeworkshopacceptsfullresearchpaper, whichshallbeviewedasconferencefullpaper] C:Conferencefullpaper(1011pages) C:Conferencefullpaper(10 11pages) J:Journalpaper(1520pages) [Atleast30%newcontentoverC] C/JcantreatW/CasapreviousversionofC/J,andclaim C/JcantreatW/CasapreviousversionofC/J andclaim contributionsofW/CasC/Jscontributions(needto explicitlystatesoandexplainthemaindifferencesof twoversions,e.g.,infootnote) ButsomePCmembersmayevaluateCbasedononlythe diffsofCandW thenpublishingWisdiscouraged 7

SelfdirectedandMotivatedcont.
Trytoimproveexternalfactors
Yourassignedprojectideamaynotbealways promising
Tryyourbesttoimprovetheidea Tryyourbesttochangetoanotheridea Ex.mypastsummerinternshipexperience

Trytodo/tryyourbestwiththeexternalfactors
Sometimesyoucannotchangethesefactors
Ex.Mypastmasterthesisresearch yp

Seeminglynegativefactorscanturnouttobe positiveone(ifyoutreatthemright)
Ex.handsoffvs.handsonadvisingstyle
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ProblemSolvingSkills g
Examplesoflackingdebuggingskills
AstudentcametomeinformingmethattheJava codedoesntcompile,givingsomeerrormessages;I foundoutthatthestudentdidn tsetclasspath foundoutthatthestudentdidntsetclasspath correctlyfortherequiredjarfiles Astudentcomplainedtoathirdpartytools Astudentcomplainedtoathird partytool s developersthatthenewreleaseofthetooldidnt workwithanexampleinput;Ifoundoutthatthe p p ; exampleinputdidntevenworkwiththeoldrelease AstudentpresentedmeaJavafiletellingmethat p g thefilecannotbeprocessedbyatoolwhereasthe toolcandealwithotherfiles;Ihadtonarrowdown thecausetospecificconstructsforthestudent. h f f h d
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ProblemSolvingSkillscont. g
Debuggingskills
Havingapassingcaseandafailingcase the failureinducinginputportion(s) Havingapassingoldversionandafailingnew version thefailureinducingchange(s) Deltadebugginghttp://www.st.cs.unisb.de/dd/ Wheretoseekhelp? p
Googletheerrormessage Contactrelevantpeople(toolauthors,etc.)withminimal orreducedfailurecausinginputs(cc.youradvisor) Seekupper/peersupport Tradeoffbetweentryhardyourselfvs.askothersfor d ff b h d lf k h f 10 help

ProblemSolvingSkillscont. g
Improvingdebuggingskills

http://www.whyprogramsfail.com/

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ProblemSolvingSkillscont. g
Tooldevelopmentskills
Programmingskills Programunderstandingskills g g Softwarereuseskills(sometimesyoucanreuse withoutrequiringtounderstandingeverything) q g g y g) Thinkaboutalterativeeasierwayofimplemenation

Searchingskills(Googleskills) Searchingskills( Google skills)


Whichkeywordstopick Howtofindoutwhatyouwantinqueryresultsets H t fi d t h t ti lt t Howtorefinekeywordsbasedonqueryresultsets Options:filetype:ppt, 12 Ex:searchingavailableNSFproposalsontheweb

EngineeringSkills
Costbenefitanalysis b f l
Examplecost:
Howmuchdevelopmenteffort? Howmuchevaluationeffort? Anyexistinginfrastructurestoexploitorreuse?

Examplebenefit:
Howmuchnoveltyofthework? Howmuchresearch/practicalvalueofthework? Howmuchyouaccumulateinfrastructuresfornextidea? Howmuchyougetyourselfskillstogetintoanareaifyou want?(realoptionvalue)

Alwaysthinkaboutalternative(easier)waysof implementation(especiallyinfeasibilitystudy) i l t ti ( i ll i f ibilit t d ) 13 Helpdecidedoit(ornot)ordoitnow(orlater)

EngineeringSkillscont.
Automate(ornot)inexperiment:Iwrotemypapers Automate(ornot)inexperiment:Iwrotemypaper s LaTeX sourcefilessothatwhenIupdatemy e pe e ta data by edo g y e pe e t, y experimentaldatabyredoingmyexperiment,my LaTeX sourcefilesareautomaticallyupdated
Cost:constructingmacros(ifyouhaventdoneit,learning g y g curvecost) Benefit:whenrerunningexperiments,youdontneedtodo extrawork e tra ork Analysis:benefit>cost?

Rememberyourultimategoal
Oftenyouneedtoconvincereadersthatyouresearchidea workswithprototype/evaluation Indeed,sometimesevaluationoryourresearchgoalcallsfor ahighlyusabletoolinpractice
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EngineeringSkillscont.
Riskreductionskills(spiralmodel)
Researchfullofrisk(justlikesoftwaredevelopment) (j p )
Initialideas/wholedirectionmaynotwork g g g Choosingthewrongexistinginfrastructure Youmisinterpretyouradvisorsideas/mind

Countermeasures
(Heavy)manualfeasibilitystudyphase,e.g.,miningcode forbugs Atleastyouneedtofindoutoneconvincing,motivating examplebeforeyougoahead Prototypefeaturesiterativelyandtrysubjectstoget feedback g , , p , pp Formalwritingofabstract,intro,example,approach sectionssenttoadvisorbeforedoingfulltooldevelopment; 15 experimentdesignsectionbeforedoingfullexperiment

EngineeringSkillscont.
Deadlinemakingskills
Somepeoplearelastminutepersonsandsomearenot p p p Butmanystudentsarenotgoodlastminutepersonsand finishwork(ornot)tothelastminutebeforethedeadline
Latesubmissiontoyouradvisor noorinsufficienthelpfromyour b d ff h l f advisortoimproveyoursubmission

Manystudentsdonthavegoodsenseof y g
Taskselection/prioritization:whichtaskstofocusfirstgiventhe limitedtime(acceptancechance/timespent)

Manystudentstendtopostponetheirwritingtothelast minute(theydontlikewriting;fewdoes) Goal:anytimeyouarestopped,youshallhaveagoodshape Goal:anytimeyouarestopped,youshallhaveagood shape draft(incrementalstyletowardsthedeadline)

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InnovationSkills
Criticalthinking/questioningskills/assessment skills
Noteveryideaofyouradvisororauthorityinyour areaiscorrectorthebest Questioningalmostanything(notjustquestioning othersandalsoyourself)
Ex.AstudentquestionsalmosteveryideathatIgavehim (notenough,needconstructivesolvingskills)

Capabilityofjudgingresearchisnoteasy(Ex. reviewingpapers)
Requiringtheknowledgebreadthanddepthofthe subarea,insights, Al Alwaysthinkaboutwhetherandhowthepaperconvinces hi k b h h dh h i 17 thereadersthattheworkisindeeduseful.

InnovationSkillscont.
Constructiveinventionskills(Noteasyatall!)
Requiremonths/yearsofaccumulation,learning,training, thinking,exercising thinking exercising Needtoforceyourselftothink
IgotmanynewideaswhenIstaredattheblankresearchtaskportion g y p inmyproposalbeingwritten Newideasgeneratedwhilejoggling,attendingtalks,evenindreams,

Needtoknowaboutbackgroundandrelatedwork
WebMon:http://www.markwell.btinternet.co.uk/webmon/

Needtohavethehabitsof(creative)thinking
CanIapplythisideafromfieldAtomyfieldB? CanIaddressthissolutionforproblemAtomyproblemB? MyAdviceonGettingaStartintoResearch http://people.engr.ncsu.edu/txie/adviceonresearch.html
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ChooseResearchProblem/Idea
Novelty:istheproblemnovel?Oristhesolution novel? Utility:cantheresearchproducepractical impact?E.g.,withhelpofindustrialcollaborators i t?E ithh l fi d t i l ll b t Risk:howlikelytheresearchcouldfail?Reduced withsignificantfeasibilitystudiesandrisk managementintheresearchdevelopment g p process Cost:howhigheffortinvestmentwouldbe needed?sometimesbeingabletobereduced withusingtoolsandinfrastructuresavailableto 19 us.

ChooseResearchProblem/Ideacont.
Competitiveadvantages:
whatisitthatyourgrouphasthatplacesyouatan advantagewithrespecttoothers aparticulartool, aparticulartechnique,somecolleagues,aninsight, p q , g , g , etc. secretweapon p

Underlyingassumptionsandprinciples
corevaluesthatdriveyourresearchagendainsome broadway howdoyouchoosewhattopursue? howdoyouchoosewhattopursue? canbeproblemdrivenorsolutiondriven
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ContributedbyDavidNotkin

CommunicationSkills
Technicalwriting h l
Avoidlackingoflogicalthinking,ex.
Usebeforedefine,definewithoutexplanation Nostrongcausal/transitionrelationshipsbetween sentences

Counteringcarelessmistakes
Usespellcheck(orstylecheckinMSWord) ll h k l h k d Customizestylecheckwithhistoricalissuepatterns A kf Askforpeerreviewbeforesubmittingtoyouradvisor i b f b itti t d i

Learnfrompatternsandantipatterns
AdviceonWritingResearchPapers: http://people.engr.ncsu.edu/txie/publications/writepapers.pdf CommonTechnicalWritingIssues: http://people.engr.ncsu.edu/txie/publications/writeissues.pdf h // l d / i / bli i / i i df ToolsandTipsforWritingPapers: http://people.engr.ncsu.edu/txie/publications/writingtools.html

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CommunicationSkillscont.
Oralcommunication
Presentationskills Effectivemeetingwithadvisor(beprepared)
Bringinanagenda(discussionitemslisted) Preparebackupdiscussionitemsincaseyoustillhavetime y inyourallocatedtime Usewrittenmaterialstohelporalcommunication

5minselevatortalk 5
Moststudentswouldstartwithlowleveldetailsoftheir research,forgettingaboutthemotivation,problem domain d i Losethebigpictureduetobeingtoofamiliarorexcited aboutthesolutions DontaddresswhydoIcare?howcanyouconvinceme 22 thatyourworkisuseful?

LearningSkills
Traditionallearningskills Bemindfulandlearnfromyoursuccessfuland failingexperience
Afteryoufinishdoingsomething youshallbeableto Afteryoufinishdoingsomething,youshallbeableto abstractandsummarizeyourlessonslearnedand conveytoothersyourtips
Studyingforacourse,preparingforyourGRE,applyingfor gradschools,contactingprofessorsduringapplication, gettingstartedinanewresearcharea,workingwithyour advisor,writinghighqualitypapers,preparingforjob interviewsandapplyingforjobs,negotiatingyourhiring packages,writingfundingproposals,increasingvisibilityin community,

Opportunitiesarevisibletoonlypeoplewhokeep23 theireyeswideopenandthinkproactively

Summary
Selfdirectedandmotivated Self directedandmotivated Problemsolvingskills Engineeringskills E i i kill Innovationskills Communicationskills g Learningskills
Welcomeadditionalskillsthatyoufeel importantbutarenotdescribedhere! Letmeknow!
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Whatnext?
Nowyouknowwhatskillsareimportant Nextyouneedtothinkaboutimprovingthese d h k b h skillsinyourprofessionalandpersonal development
Notaneasytaskbutyoushalltryandtryhard

Browsemyadvicecollectionsat Browsemyadvicecollectionsat: http://people.engr.ncsu.edu/txie/advice/ Myresearchgroup/researchwebat: https://sites.google.com/site/asergrp/ Wealwayslookformotivated students/researcherstocollaboratewith


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