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Questions tagged [research-process]

Questions directly focused on PERFORMING academic research. Do not use this for questions about publishing research. Read the tag wiki before applying this tag.

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636 votes
14 answers
90k views

How should I deal with becoming discouraged as a graduate student?

I am a third year (starting fourth year in the fall) PhD student in mathematics. I've passed all qualifying exams and am currently doing research. As far as I can tell, I am not doing poorly. I have ...
Aru Ray's user avatar
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271 votes
20 answers
35k views

How to avoid procrastination during the research phase of my PhD?

I just finished all of my coursework for my PhD program, and am entering the research phase of my degree with a topic already in mind. I've already started the research, but I'm already finding that ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 11.4k
251 votes
8 answers
21k views

How to read papers without falling into a rabbit hole?

Often while reading a paper, I will see a citation that that seems more relevant than my current one. I'll switch to the new paper, only to experience a similar feeling. Or maybe I need to look ...
jds's user avatar
  • 4,416
193 votes
15 answers
24k views

How to stop hopping the learning chain and actually begin somewhere?

Here is what I feel whenever I find something interesting and feel like pursuing it : Oh so I like X (Computer Graphics), let me read up papers/books about it. Ok let me begin with reading up Y (...
Amit Tomar's user avatar
  • 1,869
147 votes
10 answers
14k views

Best-practice models for "research" code?

I have been a professional software developer for a number of years, I'm also an academic researcher - and my research has involved lots of software development. I sometimes feel as though my ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 1,551
123 votes
13 answers
54k views

Why do students go for a PhD even when chances of getting academic jobs on its completion are slim?

This is in reference to my question: How to do a PhD to equip myself for a job as assistant professor. I was told in the answer of the above linked question that chances of landing a job as an ...
Learnmore's user avatar
  • 2,770
118 votes
11 answers
40k views

One of my postdocs elegantly solved a problem another postdoc had been working on for years. I have no idea how to navigate this delicate situation

I run a lab in an applied computational field (e.g. computational biology/chemistry/physics etc.) One of my postdocs (“A”) has been working on a problem for the last two years. They have made good ...
ScoopedPostdoc's user avatar
116 votes
9 answers
22k views

How to stop feeling guilty about unfinished work?

My biggest challenge as a PhD student is best summarized by the following from PHD Comics: "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com A consequence of working in research is that the ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
96 votes
4 answers
27k views

How do mathematicians conduct research?

I am curious as to how mathematicians conduct research. I hope some of you can help me solve this little mystery. To me, mathematics is a branch where you either get it or you don't. If you see the ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 11.5k
92 votes
6 answers
7k views

How to become well-known in the research community while being a PhD student

This question is mainly about building useful contacts during the course of the doctorate. How does one keep the relevant community in other universities informed about his/her research work? One way ...
Bravo's user avatar
  • 23.1k
88 votes
13 answers
51k views

How should an advisor handle an underperforming PhD student?

I'm a junior faculty in academia and I was asked to take a PhD student several months ago. I was not involved in the hiring process, hence I did not have a chance to evaluate his abilities before ...
Peter1111's user avatar
  • 1,001
86 votes
14 answers
18k views

What good is engineering research with no practical relevance?

I am a Ph.D. student currently doing research at a top engineering school in North America. I am becoming more and more jaded at the fact that a sizable portion of the research conducted at my ...
Norman's user avatar
  • 1,423
84 votes
10 answers
26k views

What do mathematics researchers do if they aren't good?

I am a high school student so I don't know much about academia, but I would like to clear up some confusion I have over research in mathematics. Please excuse my naivite/ignorance on this topic. I ...
Prajanan Patel's user avatar
81 votes
20 answers
22k views

How to deal with a colleague who always puts you down?

I am just starting out my PhD which will take 5 years to complete and I am dealing with a person in my own research group who cannot stop putting me down every chance she gets. In our research ...
Shamisen Expert's user avatar
80 votes
14 answers
21k views

How did researchers find articles before the Internet and the computer era?

I find it hard to write a literature review, even though I have Google, the Internet, and all free, very easy to search for information tools. I have to search for days to find a piece of information ...
asmgx's user avatar
  • 1,887
75 votes
3 answers
12k views

Rampant sharing of authorship among colleagues in the name of "collaboration". Is not taking part in it a death knell for a future in academia?

I am a final year PhD student in chemical engineering. Since the start of my PhD, I was clear on one personal philosophy. I will put my name only on those papers where I have made substantial ...
gogeta's user avatar
  • 805
74 votes
8 answers
16k views

I proved a theorem I heard from another researcher. Can I publish my results?

Some time ago I heard a talk in which the speaker mentioned some theorem. I needed this theorem for another paper I wrote. I looked for this theorem in the relevant literature (which I know quite well)...
Erel Segal-Halevi's user avatar
74 votes
14 answers
9k views

How should a social scientist deal with envy of disciplines that are more quantitatively rigorous?

I am a student in social science who got into quantitative research at the start of my graduate school. Since then, I have had the valuable opportunity to take many Statistics classes and become aware ...
social_science_phd's user avatar
73 votes
3 answers
12k views

How much percentage royalty do I get from Springer (as the paper's author) and how I can apply for royalty payment?

I have submitted a paper to a Springer conference and it has been published. The publisher will charge 24.95$ to anyone who would eventually download my paper and 201 copies of my research sold by ...
vipul salunke's user avatar
73 votes
12 answers
23k views

Is it OK to generate parts of a research paper using a large language model such as ChatGPT?

Large language models (LLMs) are complex neural networks that can capture and represent world knowledge present in the human-generated text as their weights. LLMs are trained on a large collection of ...
Hassan Abedi's user avatar
73 votes
9 answers
16k views

What should be done when the theory behind a PhD thesis turns out to be wrong?

I have a friend who has been working on a PhD dissertation for over 3 years and he is supposed to be wrapping it up. Unfortunately, his thesis involves a complex model and populating the model with ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
  • 1,649
72 votes
7 answers
10k views

Is uncredited use of grad students' unpublished research by professors accepted/common practice in academia?

I'm a master's student, and over the course of my studies I've conducted a few independent studies in which I investigate specific research questions that I formulate on my own. Those independent ...
Researcher Bee's user avatar
70 votes
18 answers
20k views

Why does research cost so much money?

I have been dragged into an argument with someone who can't understand why millions are being raised to fund ALS research (that's the "ice bucket challenge", love it or hate it). He doesn't get why ...
MGA's user avatar
  • 1,143
70 votes
4 answers
21k views

What to do when you spend several months working on an idea that fails in a masters thesis?

How shall a masters student deal with the complete failure to meet the expected results when working on a master's thesis? For example, in the field of machine learning a masters student might spend ...
Magellanea's user avatar
70 votes
10 answers
9k views

How to work efficiently under loose supervision during graduate studies?

I work in a very cross-disciplinary field, which has caused me some headache* over the past couple of years, partly due to the fact that my supervisor isn't very knowledgeable regarding the day to day ...
posdef's user avatar
  • 17.8k
68 votes
6 answers
13k views

Popular software used in research is incorrectly reporting solution is optimal: what to do?

I have an example demonstrating the solution produced by a popularly used software package is not the optimal solution, despite the software claiming that it is. Several recent papers published from ...
Kuhndog's user avatar
  • 919
68 votes
7 answers
16k views

Is it possible take take part in a research project if I'm not a part of a university?

I graduated with a Masters of Engineering, concentrating in digital signal processing, in particular medical and audio, almost two years ago. I've always been interested in research, but due to ...
Phonon's user avatar
  • 1,403
66 votes
3 answers
74k views

Why do people publish on arXiv instead of other places? [duplicate]

I work in engineering and I was warned by a colleague years ago that I should not cite materials on arXiv because they are not peer reviewed. Although it was never clear to me what peer reviewed meant ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 11.5k
64 votes
14 answers
17k views

Inadmissible theorems in research

One of my engineering friends told me how e once had to take a make-up calculus I exam due to being hospitalised and so self-studied a lot of the missed topics. For the make-up exam, e used L'Hôpital'...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 3,175
63 votes
6 answers
11k views

I don't want to do research (First year tenure-track faculty)

I'm currently in my first semester as a tenure-track faculty in a small liberal arts college. I also finished my dissertation and defended about 5 months ago. While I'm grateful that I've got a tenure-...
user64731's user avatar
  • 541
61 votes
13 answers
12k views

I don't have the theoretical background in my PhD topic. I can't justify getting the degree

I did my PhD in computational materials science. I used molecular dynamics simulations and finite element method to carry out my research investigations. I have published several publications and ...
Googly's user avatar
  • 627
61 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why are CS researchers reluctant to share code and what techniques can I use to encourage sharing?

While researching a topic area I have come across a number of papers that claim to improve on the state of the art and have been published at respected outlets (e.g. CVPR, ICIP). These papers are ...
Stephen Tierney's user avatar
60 votes
5 answers
14k views

As a new PhD supervisor, how should I deal with taking a student to a wrong direction?

I am a postdoc who was supposed to co-supervise a PhD student along with another academic who invited me for that. However, I ended up fully supervising the student after the supervisor became too ...
Pioneer83's user avatar
  • 1,058
58 votes
13 answers
26k views

Stuck without progress working on thesis - worried about failure

I am a student of Indian origin. I am Studying Mechanical Engineering in a local university in north of Germany. I am writing my thesis in a company. My task is to optimize the throughput of the line. ...
K3yur's user avatar
  • 681
58 votes
14 answers
10k views

Is there a single example of an outsider considered a "crank" publishing a ground-breaking result that was found to be correct (in the last 30 years)?

I'm interested mainly in mathematical and related fields, in which several important and famous open questions exist (e.g., Riemann Hypothesis). Almost every day a new "amateur" scholar (...
Dilworth's user avatar
  • 13.3k
57 votes
10 answers
7k views

How can a software developer best volunteer to help childhood cancer research? [closed]

I have 30 years of professional experience as a software engineer and I'm at the point in my career where I can volunteer lots of time. I have helped with several childhood cancer organizations over ...
Arthur's user avatar
  • 521
57 votes
7 answers
3k views

Popular proprietary program or obscure open source substitute for reproducible research?

For a long time, I had been using open source software for my work to make it reproducible. I believed that if I made my code open source and the software to run the code was also open source (or at ...
user avatar
57 votes
7 answers
2k views

What to do with spare research topics?

A while back I reached the stage where my ideas for research topics/papers exceeded my capacity to personally work on them. As a PostDoc, I tried to head-hunt students or more junior researchers in my ...
badroit's user avatar
  • 13.7k
56 votes
10 answers
14k views

Can I have a PhD in one field, and be an avid academic contributor in another?

Disclaimer: I'm an undergrad with very limited knowledge of how academia really works and what the atmosphere and culture is like. I'm very interested in pure mathematics, and I think I'm pretty good ...
Michael Ala's user avatar
56 votes
6 answers
15k views

Asking 'silly' questions to doctoral supervisor

My doctoral supervisor is very helpful and I really enjoy working with him on various problems. I have officially entered my second year of doctoral research this month. During discussions, I get few ...
Coder's user avatar
  • 12.7k
56 votes
7 answers
9k views

If you get stuck in research, at what point in time should you ask for help?

It's always worthwhile to take some time to try to figure it out by yourself. But eventually there's a point where you're unsure how much more time it would take to figure it out by yourself (which ...
InquilineKea's user avatar
  • 10.8k
56 votes
5 answers
12k views

Do academics get bored of research?

I am wondering if academics (Professors, Researchers etc.) who usually have to spend their lives on research get bored of the subject or get tired of research? In this case, I want to know how they ...
user avatar
56 votes
6 answers
13k views

If someone conducts unethical research unbeknownst to anybody, but produces positive results, what would happen to the research once discovered?

I was just wondering about this specific scenario. Say someone was researching nature vs. nurture, but his experiments involved keeping babies in a controlled environment for the first 10 years of ...
Zaenille's user avatar
  • 1,231
55 votes
8 answers
12k views

I solved their problem. Should I involve them?

I have dedicated time and effort to solve a theoretical problem posed by two other people. Now I think I have resolved it, and I have material for a publication. Should I involve them as co-authors? ...
anon's user avatar
  • 715
55 votes
4 answers
5k views

How do you balance producing results with learning new skills?

On the one hand, I'd like to produce a few graphs every week so my project can move forward. Taking a month off to learn a new programming language, do a literature review, or work through a relevant ...
Ben Bitdiddle's user avatar
53 votes
10 answers
18k views

What distinguishes top researchers from mediocre ones? [closed]

I am a PhD student studying theoretical physics at a US institution. I am now beginning my fourth year in the program, and struggling to solve my first research problem. I see PhD students around me ...
slepton's user avatar
  • 587
52 votes
11 answers
7k views

Why aren't more research papers/textbooks written in a "thought process" style?

This may be a weird question, but I often wonder why the default way of writing about a given methodology is describing the method as if it "fell out of the blue". Admittedly, not all ...
user3653908's user avatar
52 votes
12 answers
10k views

What to do with an overtly exasperating colleague in computer science?

I am working on my undergraduate research project in an HPCC. Whoever does programming knows this is a "teach-yourself" skill. Everytime a problem arises, you search the wealth of tutorials and guides ...
user avatar
51 votes
3 answers
8k views

Is it acceptable to use Mathematica to derive results in your research?

While doing research in statistics, sometimes I came across complex integration that I can't or don't want to solve analytically. Is it okay to use Mathematica to solve the integration and use the ...
Heisenberg's user avatar
  • 1,466
51 votes
9 answers
23k views

Received an ultimatum from PhD advisor to leave that broke me completely. How to cope emotionally?

I am a PhD student in an American university, on year 4 of a 5-6 year program. Recently (three months ago), my advisor told me to leave the program since he doesn't think this subject is for me (he ...
StudentOfLife's user avatar

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