I am currently a student about to come towards the end of my 2nd year at University. I had a great professor at the start of the year, and I was interested in trying something outside of traditional studies. I approached him and asked whether I could start trying out some research and whether he would supervise and guide me. He agreed and even provided some nice topics.

We've decided on a topic and I'm ready to get started.

Question. Does anyone have any general advice for me, so that I can make the most of this opportunity? What types of skills should I aim to pick up? With what attitude should I approach this research to make it as fruitful as possible?

I am only just starting research, so I don't have a lot of background behind how it works, and what are some ways of getting familiar with a given field? Any useful websites or ideas are appreciated!

What would be a reasonable goal? Publishing a paper?

Would publishing a paper require actual new mathematical discovery, or for a start would compiling together various core theorems and ideas and re-proving them from different existing papers count as well?



Keep in mind, I'm not in math, so I'm not sure how much a lot of this will apply.

I think if you're just starting out and trying to learn the ropes, I think an important first step is to get a feel for what research looks like in your field so that you're better positioned to conduct your own research independently in the future. If I were guiding a student in my field, I'd want them to understand: 1) how are papers structured in our field, and what type of information is generally included in most papers? 2) how does new research critically examine and contribute to the existing research? 3) how are empirical studies designed in terms of their methodologies? What considerations to investigators make in selecting participants, instruments/tasks, their methods of analysis?

Publishing is a rough process, but a reasonable goal once you have a strong understanding of what the norms are in your field. RE: writing to reiterate/further support existing findings...I'm not too sure. I think it depends; I feel like if you're further proving ideas that are fairly new/not quite established, it might work. However, if there's already a huge body of literature supporting said idea, then I don't think most journals would be interested in publishing that.

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  • Thanks so much, this was really helpful – user523384 Nov 2 '19 at 1:31

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