I'm a graduate student and soon be a Ph.D. student in Physics. The semester is about to end. We have been given too many assignments throughout the semester that we don't get time to read the topic taught in the semester from a book at least once. So when we have to do the assignment, we usually search the problems on dozens of the books and see whether the question matches from somewhere or is related. Then we read that part and repeat the same calculation for our own problem.

Now there are very few of the problems, where we say, Yeah! I think I can apply this or try to approach it this way. It also leads to less interest in the subject. Now I know, that the assignments are necessary to do as they carry the weight of marks. I wanted to ask, If it's essential in the point of view of research.

I wanted to know about the correlation between solving the assignment problem and doing good research work.

  • 2
    You need a good foundation of knowledge and skills to do good research. The assignments are intended to improve this foundation and provide benchmarks. They might not be an ideal solution to a difficult problem but so far there isn't really a universally better approach.
    – user9482
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 7:43
  • My experience is that there is certainly a correlation between NOT doing well on every assignment and quality of research. The correlation is not 1 (there are exceptions) but you will rarely find good researchers who did poorly on every assignment. Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 22:42
  • I'm very suspicious about "too many assignments throughout the semester that we don't get time to read the topic". Maybe they expect you to do both, maybe you wrongfully expect to read a well-structured book on it like you did before. In many ways, research is closer to "read dozens of articles with something remotely similar" rather than "read a single source with nicely outlined reasoning". In most cases of modern research, this book doesn't even exist in the first place.
    – Lodinn
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 4:47
  • @Lodinn, I know that a single book doesn't exist. But I made the point that we don't get the time to read a single book thoroughly. Does solving lots of assignments without going through the text make a sense for research in the future? Or reading several materials just seeking to help solve assignment problems, is this alright for the person who is going to do research later? Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 6:42
  • 1
    I meant it was preparing you for research in a sense that "solving lots of assignments without going through the text thoroughly" will be in many ways similar to your actual research. This is a model of what you will be doing, the only difference being that in the actual research, these assignments will be self-posed and, presumably, interesting. You will have an idea and need to handle dozens of minor problems, many of them solved before you - so you take these solutions, "repeat the same calculations" and move on to the next step. What relevant skills do you think are not taught to you?
    – Lodinn
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 10:39


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .