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Building a Successful Research Program


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Presentation for Doctoral Symposium at ICSM (International Conference on Software Maintenance), Timisoara, Romania, Sept 13, 2010

Presentation for Doctoral Symposium at ICSM (International Conference on Software Maintenance), Timisoara, Romania, Sept 13, 2010

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  • For the ICSMPreDoc Symposium, Sept 2010
  • Agile and iterative development applies to Research too- Start with low-hanging fruit- Keep notes!- Depth or Breadth?- PhD must show depth, but you will need depth after- Cannot start with depth- Proceed iteratively to map out your topic
  • - See what has been done- Where do you fit?- Where are the holes?- What is in scope or out of scope? Maintain an *agenda* of topics to work on; switch to avoid exhaustion
  • - "Creative thinking is a skill; it is not a matter of individual talent"- Break out of set patterns- Brainstorming- Po- Random input- Explore "wrong" and "childish" ideasSee De Bono
  • - might have to build itDon't waste time in the wrong community!
  • - Start writing early- Avoid "least" publishable unit- Upgrade work as it proceeds (workshop -> conference -> journal)- Always have (at least) one paper in the pipeline- PhD as "junk sculpture"
  • - Writing is packaging- Tell a story; But don't try to build suspense- Say what you're going to say - Then say it; then say what you said- The reviewer is your audience! (Don't be boring!)- Be complete while focussing on *one* key point- Don't say too much or too little- Be clear about the contribution!Ingredients: problem is real and interesting; contribution is novel
  • - Be interestingYour audience is the reviewer!
  • - Aim for impact; pay attention to tenure- Select well your publication venues- Quality varies!- TR/workshop/conference/journal- Don't ignore journalsBe careful with workshops; can be good for community building, but can also be dead ends
  • - make use of colleagues for internal reviews!- Look for good co-authors- Don't be afraid of losing intellectual property
  • - Web presence- Have all your publications on-line!- ReviewingPCs etc
  • - Problem too tough (reset goals; switch topic)- Wanderlust (needs crisis)- Impatience (slow down!)- Perfectionism (needs deadline)No progress (need checkpoints)
  • - There is a fine art to procrastination- Time-sharing for effective time managementBe careful with teaching and other duties
  • Transcript

    • 1. Building a Successful Research Program
      Oscar Nierstrasz
      ICSM PhD Symposium, Sept 13, 2010
    • 2. PhD Research Patterns
      The Research Plan
    • 3. The Research Plan
      Be Problem-Oriented
      Use a Spiral Research Model
      Make a Research Map
      Exercise Lateral Thinking
      Identify your Research Community
    • 4. Be Problem-Oriented!
      Avoid being “solution-oriented”
      Look for research at the border of two fields
    • 5. Use a Spiral Research Model
      Agile and iterative applies to research too!
      Start with low-hanging fruit
      Keep notes!
    • 6. Make a Research Map
    • 7. Exercise Thinking
    • 8. Identify your Research Community
    • 9. Publishing
      Write “One paper at a time”
      Package your Research
      Aim high
      Include One Startling Sentence
      The Reviewer is your Friend
    • 10. Write “One paper at a time”
      Take baby steps
      PhD as “junk sculpture”
    • 11. Package your Research
      • Say what you’re going to say …
      • 12. One key point
      • 13. Emphasize the contribution
      • 14. Write for the reviewer
    • Include One Startling Sentence
    • 15. Aim high
    • 16. The Reviewer is your Friend
    • 17. Focus
      Beware of Distractions
      Be Visible
      Avoid Common Pitfalls
    • 18. Be Visible
    • 19. Avoid Common Pitfalls
    • Procastination
      Hard work often pays off over time,
      But laziness always pays off now
      Beware of Distractions