“The Researchers Bible”Debate and Conversation in English September, 2011
● The Researchers Bible Alan Bundy, Ben du Boulay, Jim Howe and Gordon Plotkin. 1995 Gives advices about various aspects of getting a Ph.D.
What is a thesis?● The Ph.D. Candidate must demonstrate that he is capable of pursuing original research in his field of study.● Must be original work making a significant contribution to knowledge.● Contain material worthy of publication.
Pitfalls for postgraduatestudents● Pick research goals which are too ambitious.
Source of ideas● Further work sections of papers● Re-doing bad work
Having chosen a topic● Read the literature● Talk to people● Tackle a simplified version of your problem● Write down your ideas● Give a talk to a small group
Computer bum● Your program must be explainable at a higher level than code.● Plan your program theoretically before going to the terminal● If people dont understand it is your fault● If you really believe that existing languages are inadequate then write a paper on it
Micawberism● Make sure what class of result you are attempting to establish● Talk to people● Imagine the experiment finished● Dont keep running experiments in the hope that something will turn up
● Keep in touch with the state of the art in releated fields● Talk to other people about their research● Attend selected seminars and lectures
Misunderstood genius● Try to rephrase your ideas using ordinary english● Your solution wont be trivial to other people and should anyway be used as basis for further work● Motto: Do the easiest thing first, then stand on shoulders and do the next easiest thing etc.-a better infinite loop
● Do it the simplest you can● Tackle the abstract property in a concrete situation● Do something simple● The readers and examiners are interested in the general arguments in favor of the idea
Mental attitude● Belief in what you are doing● You must be prepared to modify your ideas if they are wrong● Doubts about your own ability can lead to research impotence● You will have to learn to differentiate between valid and invalid criticism
Cold start● Make yourself a regular working schedule● Make sure you leave some non- threatening, attractive task to do first
● Only try to prove a theorem if it is clearly relevant to your overall purpose● The sooner you subject your idea to the acid test, the sooner you will discover its limitations
Choosing a research project1. You must be enthusiastic about it2.Solving the problem must be worthy of a Ph.D.3.It must be do-able in three years4.There must be someone willing to supervise it
● Beware of choosing an area new to you● Find someone whose interest lie in this area and who is prepared to advise you
Research methodology1.Think of a scenario2.Hypothesise what processes ,ight achieve such a scenario3.Think of further scenarios4.Choose the programming language that fits your needs5.Find some examples you have not previously considered – Modify your program until is robust
6.Testing it on some examples – Keep statistics on its success/faliure7.Describe your program using language independent of your particular implementation
Writing papers● You should make writing a regular part of your life● Keep records of everything you do
Guide to writing● Your paper should have a message● Cannot be misunderstood● Stick to the main message and only include what is essential to that● What is the problem?, what did you used to tackle?, what result followed?
● Have a particular reader in mind decide what your reader has to know in order to understand the central idea● Use worked examples to illustrate a procedure● Clearly state what is new or better about what you have done
● Do no define a new term unless you really need it● Ask several people to read the draft versions
Relevant to thesis writing● Should not be a core-dump of all you know about everything related to the topic● You should write your ideas and results up as a series of notes
● Build your thesis message: – Should serve as a guide to the title, abstract, summary, conclusion and the whole body of the thesis – Should answer: what have I done? And why does this work deserve a degree?
Guide to reading ● Staying in touch with related research is the main subgoals of obtaining a Ph.D. Middle circle: Specialized textbooks, seminars YOUInner circle:Deep understanding,Get involved in it Outer circle: Get familiar with