I am a master student, working on something on my own. One day I came up a new definition (My field is mathematics) of something. I am not sure if it is publishable or not (Not even sure if it works). So I decided to present my work to my thesis advisor to a look first (His field is related to my work).

But the question arises, should I finish my work first (This includes the background introduction, comparison with other definition, etc), or I just present my rough idea first (After all, it is just a definition, I just need to explain why it works)?

For the first approach, it sounds reasonable, but it may take longer time for my advisor to read, and may not worth the effort if it is not publishable. For second approach, it is quick, and the result is not worth trying, I can work on something else. The drawback is my advisor may not understand what I am doing.

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    It might be worth asking your advisor what they prefer. But personally, I'd prefer to see a rough sketch rather than have a student spend a lot of time on something that might go nowhere. – JHare Jan 23 at 19:19

I think the advantages of showing it soon (i.e. unfinished) outweigh any disadvantages. The advisor may have some suggestions as you note and may point you to prior work that you may not be aware of. That could make further work more or less desirable, of course, but either way, it is good to know.

And, whether publishable or not, it may indicate that you are gaining needed insight into your field.

I think that very few advisors would not want to be bothered.

  • The question is about which way to show(finished work or rough idea),not should I show it to him. – Ken.Wong Jan 23 at 19:51
  • Fixed, I hope. Let me know if you want more. Sorry I wasn't clear. – Buffy Jan 23 at 19:57

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