Posts Tagged ‘research’

A few months ago, I blogged about Jorge Cham (the cartoonist behind the online comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper aka PhD Comics) coming to the University of Waterloo for a talk and book signing. If you’re a fan of the comics, you probably know that Jorge and the crew have been working on a movie adaptation of the comics for a while. Here is the trailer:

For the last 4 or 5 years, I have been a loyal fan of Piled Higher and Deeper (a.k.a. PhD comics), which is an online comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in grad school. The comics are done by Jorge Cham, who started them when he was a PhD student at Stanford.

Today, Jorge was at our own University of Waterloo, where he gave a very humourous talk – arguably one of the most interesting talks I’ve attended over my whole time in grad school. The comics have a huge fan base, and the hall where he gave the talk was packed. Of course most of the audience were grad students, with a few undergrads and professors (at whom he poked fun every now and then).

The Illustrated Guide to a PhD

Posted: October 2, 2010 in Cool Finds
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I recently stumbled upon The Illustrated Guide to a PhD by Matt Might. It is a simple way to visualize what it means to do a PhD. I completely forgot about it until it came up tonight during a discussion with some friends. I’m reproducing that page here for the sake of convenience:

I just found this interesting page, whose author criticizes a research paper that has appeared in VLDB 2006 (a major Database research conference). The author of that page (not the paper) proceeds to point out some major (and minor) flaws in that paper, and also tries to find reasons why this paper did not get rejected. Here is an interesting extract from that page:

There is a common belief that the conference program committees never read more than a few pages of a conference paper when they make a decision on whether to accept or reject a paper. Since the statement contradicting the claim in the abstract is near the end of the tenth page, it would be easy to for such a referee to miss the contradiction.


Researcher’s Block

Posted: August 13, 2007 in Thoughts
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Many of us have heard of (or talked about) a problem called the Writer’s Block. This basically related to writers when they find themselves unable to come up with something to write about. It gets really frustrating, especially if there are deadlines to consider. The more time that passes, the more frustrated the writer gets, the less they are able to write…and the cycle continues.

A find a similar problem relating to me as a researcher, and I call it the Researcher’s Block. This happens when we are looking for a research problem to work on, but unable to find one. I feel like I am currently in this situation. I went through a lot of literature, done a lot of brainstorming, trying to branch out of existing work, but with no use. I have been told to read a lot, and LIVE in whatever topic I’m working on, trying to think “outside the box”, until I find something. I have been doing just that, to no avail.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who faces that problem occasionally (at least I hope so), and I wonder what others do to overcome it.

I came across an article written by Roger Clarke (from the Australian National University). The article lists some common practices related to publishing research papers; practices that can be considered unethical, at least under some circumstances. Although I do not agree with all the listed items, I do think that the author is mostly right, especially when it comes to the influence of superiors or sponsors on the publishing of information. In addition, the author also touches upon issues like adding particular (well-known) author names or citing particular sources to increase the chance of the paper being accepted. I think many of the listed issues have been practiced by most researchers (myself included); whether intentionally or not. Still, it was an interesting read to see them listed and organized.

You can access the full article by clicking on the following link:
Ethical Issues in the Preparation and Submission of Research Papers in the I.S. Discipline

What is a Research Poster?
A poster is where the researcher directly presents their research results as a visual display, which is positioned on poster board. The poster is usually a mixture of a brief text, mixed with tables, graphs, pictures, and other presentation formats. The researcher stands by the poster display during an assigned time, while other conference participants can come and view the presentation and interact with the author.