How to do High Quality Research and Run a large Research Group
Update: Slide is available at here
Yesterday, Prof. C.-C. Jay Kuo from USC gave an interesting talk titled "How to do High Quality Research and Run a large Research Group". This is a talk about philosophy and management, and I summarize some key points as follows.
Prof. Kuo said there are two forces to drive a person to pursue a PhD, one is external drive (family, peer pressure, small success), and the other is internal drive. Research interests is one important internal drive, and a student must of curiosity so as to have passion in research. Strong ambition is also an important internal drive.
A new problem which is practically important yet technically challenging is the best problem to investigate, but in reality, it is quite difficult to find such a problem due to the limitation of experience, vision, etc.
Aim high, accept low?
A student must set a high goal for himself so as to motivate himself. However, reality is always tough. If we come across some failures (rejections...), we need to accept low, and stand up to fight again!
Background survey (tutorial + references) and forward survey (cited function in Google scholar) are two good ways to dig into a new research areas. In addition, when we read a paper, it is very important to have a proactive attitude. That is, after reading abstract and introduction, we should close the paper and ask: if I am the author, how will I write the paper? Critical thinking is very important, or else you will be controlled by authors' logic.
Nurturing good taste?
We must read papers from top conferences and top journals. In addition, it is good to divide papers into several categories (I still need to improve my ability in this part):
A: 80% understanding (introduction, results, methods)
B: 50% understanding (introduction, results)
C: 20% understanding (introduction)
Paper writing is not a trivial task, a suggested solution is multi-pass writing:
1st pass: detailed outline
2nd pass: rapid writing
3rd pass: fine-tuning
4th pass: cross-reading
Weekly report system?
Write a weekly report to supervisors and receive their comments could help students make progress in every week. A sample format:
1. Tasks finished this week?
2. Plan for the coming week?
3. Feedback and Interaction
4. Detail report
5. Milestone (conference, journals, etc.)
Doing research is a touch yet joyful journey, keep up Chao, you can do the best!