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Tips for 
Researchers 
v0.06 
Ji Soo Yi 
Associate Professor 
School of Industrial Engineering 
Purdue University 
IE 6970...
Disclaimer 
• This material is largely based on the 
presenter’s personal experience, which 
may NOT be readily generaliza...
Background 
• A researcher in HCI / HF since 2003 
• The director of the HIVE Lab since 2009 
• The instructor of IE 65900...
Quick Survey 
• How many of you have any research 
experiences? 
4
Quick Survey 
• What are your biggest 
difficulties/obstacles/concerns? 
5
Difficulties 
• Choosing a Research Topic 
• Overwhelming/boring Lit Review 
• Tragic Procrastination 
• Embarrassing/slow...
Research Topic 
• I don’t know how to come up with my 
research topic. 
• I don’t know whether my research topic 
is good ...
QnDReview 
• Quick and Dirty Review 
– Review a series of papers quickly 
• 100 papers in 7 hours (Yi, 2014) 
– Which pape...
Reading Seminar 
• Find a group of people who share the 
similar interests 
• 30-minute / day, 1-5 papers / week 
• Minima...
Play Outside the Box 
• Expose yourself to totally different domains. 
– TED.com 
– Adjust your new channels: Flipboard (Z...
Lit Review 
– I feel overwhelmed. I feel that I know 
nothing about this topic. 
– I keep finding another article to read....
Arrogant Lit Review 
1.QnDReview 
2.Read the top 10 papers. 
3.Arrogantly write review as if the 10 are 
ONLY papers. 
- e...
Zotero 
• Organize your pdf files and citations. 
• You can synchronize your collections 
with a separate server. 
• You c...
Procrastination 
• I am too busy with classes. No time for 
research. 
• I want to finish my lit review by January, 
but i...
Daily TODO 
1.Write down TODOs for today. 
2.Do them ALL. 
3.Go home. 
Advice from Dr. Salvendy 
•Your TODO should be doab...
Morning TODO 
• Before going to bed, write down the most 
important thing to do. 
• When you come to office, do it before ...
May be a Sign 
• If you keep procrastinating even after all 
the tricks, it may be a sign for you. 
• You might need to be...
Writing 
• I (seem to) know everything, but I 
cannot start writing. 
• I am an international student. English is 
a bad l...
Two-Step Writing 
1.Write random thoughts. 
–Do not judge your thoughts. 
–Do not use even the backspace key. 
2.Edit your...
First Sentence Writing 
1.Write down first sentences of all paragraphs. 
2. Revise these sentences very carefully, so that...
OWL 
• Use twice per week. 
• Find a good tutor for you and stick to 
him/her. 
• Teach the tutor your research. 
• Keep t...
Worries 
• I only have one paper submitted. How 
can I find a job after I graduate? 
• Am I on the right track? What if my...
Small Wins 
• Try to make small wins (e.g., making 
your bed), which will give confidence 
and will power. 
• Don’t make y...
Networking 
• But, I’m quite embarrassed to say hello 
to famous guys at a conference. 
– Prepare a big research question ...
Acknowledgements 
Drs. Salvendy, Uhan, Yih, Nohadani, and 
Hunter provided their own tips. 
Any Questions? 
25
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Tips for Researchers

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These are slides that I use to teach our incoming graduate students how to avoid common troubles that graduate students / researchers experience. It is more for Purdue IE students, but most of the advice could be relevant to many graduate students.

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Tips for Researchers

  1. 1. Tips for Researchers v0.06 Ji Soo Yi Associate Professor School of Industrial Engineering Purdue University IE 69700 4:30 – 5:20pm 2014-10-07
  2. 2. Disclaimer • This material is largely based on the presenter’s personal experience, which may NOT be readily generalizable to individual circumstances. 2
  3. 3. Background • A researcher in HCI / HF since 2003 • The director of the HIVE Lab since 2009 • The instructor of IE 65900 since 2009 3
  4. 4. Quick Survey • How many of you have any research experiences? 4
  5. 5. Quick Survey • What are your biggest difficulties/obstacles/concerns? 5
  6. 6. Difficulties • Choosing a Research Topic • Overwhelming/boring Lit Review • Tragic Procrastination • Embarrassing/slow Writing • Worries about the progress and future 6
  7. 7. Research Topic • I don’t know how to come up with my research topic. • I don’t know whether my research topic is good enough. 7
  8. 8. QnDReview • Quick and Dirty Review – Review a series of papers quickly • 100 papers in 7 hours (Yi, 2014) – Which paper to read is more important than How many papers to read. 8 Yi, J. S. (2014). QnDReview: Read 100 CHI Papers in 7 Hours. In Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Toronto, Canada, April 26-May 1, 2014, 805-814.
  9. 9. Reading Seminar • Find a group of people who share the similar interests • 30-minute / day, 1-5 papers / week • Minimal effort / maximum coverage • If you are interested in HCI & HF – 12:30 to 1pm, Wang 4500 9
  10. 10. Play Outside the Box • Expose yourself to totally different domains. – TED.com – Adjust your new channels: Flipboard (Zite) – Professionalize Twitter and Facebook 10
  11. 11. Lit Review – I feel overwhelmed. I feel that I know nothing about this topic. – I keep finding another article to read. It never ends. – I am sick of entering citation information and keeping track of pdf/hard copies. 11
  12. 12. Arrogant Lit Review 1.QnDReview 2.Read the top 10 papers. 3.Arrogantly write review as if the 10 are ONLY papers. - e.g., “I am the first person who investigates this problem.” 4.Go back to Step 1 (or 2). WARNING: If the number of iterations is small, you could end up writing pretty bad literature review. 12
  13. 13. Zotero • Organize your pdf files and citations. • You can synchronize your collections with a separate server. • You can share the paper collection with your friends and colleagues. • Don’t print out too many papers. • Other tools1 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_reference_management_software 13
  14. 14. Procrastination • I am too busy with classes. No time for research. • I want to finish my lit review by January, but it’s already April. 14
  15. 15. Daily TODO 1.Write down TODOs for today. 2.Do them ALL. 3.Go home. Advice from Dr. Salvendy •Your TODO should be doable-per-day but challenging. •e.g., Finish lit review. (x) •e.g., Do one arrogant review. (o) •e.g., Write two lines. (o/x) •Don’t go home if you don’t finish. ;) •Don’t be ambitious too much at the beginning. 15
  16. 16. Morning TODO • Before going to bed, write down the most important thing to do. • When you come to office, do it before any break. • Smile. • Do other tasks. 16 I still have the issue.
  17. 17. May be a Sign • If you keep procrastinating even after all the tricks, it may be a sign for you. • You might need to be more honest about yourself. 17 I still have the issue.
  18. 18. Writing • I (seem to) know everything, but I cannot start writing. • I am an international student. English is a bad language. • It takes so long time to write something. 18
  19. 19. Two-Step Writing 1.Write random thoughts. –Do not judge your thoughts. –Do not use even the backspace key. 2.Edit your writing. Don’t mix these steps up. 19
  20. 20. First Sentence Writing 1.Write down first sentences of all paragraphs. 2. Revise these sentences very carefully, so that they reflect the main story clearly. – e.g., Why is it important? Why do I do this study? How do I do it? 3.Whenever you have five minutes, finish up each paragraph. WARNING: This technique is more for advanced researchers. Inexperienced researchers may experience too many changes as writing progresses. Advice from Drs. Yih and Nohadani. 20
  21. 21. OWL • Use twice per week. • Find a good tutor for you and stick to him/her. • Teach the tutor your research. • Keep the corrected papers. – It will be interesting to see the red marks on your paper later on. • Or, hire a private tutor. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/ 21
  22. 22. Worries • I only have one paper submitted. How can I find a job after I graduate? • Am I on the right track? What if my current research is useless? • Things aren’t moving, and clock is ticking. Ah, I don’t know. 22
  23. 23. Small Wins • Try to make small wins (e.g., making your bed), which will give confidence and will power. • Don’t make your worries eat yourself. 23
  24. 24. Networking • But, I’m quite embarrassed to say hello to famous guys at a conference. – Prepare a big research question to be answered. – The question will lead you to be connected. • BTW, I cannot go to a conference, yet. – Email them, then. – One hypothesis, “The more famous a guy is, the quicker his/her response is.” 24
  25. 25. Acknowledgements Drs. Salvendy, Uhan, Yih, Nohadani, and Hunter provided their own tips. Any Questions? 25

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