Presentation on theme: "1 How to Get the Research Work Done? SLOAN Foundation Fellows Program 2008/2010/2011 Luis San Andres Texas A&M University."— Presentation transcript:
1 How to Get the Research Work Done? SLOAN Foundation Fellows Program 2008/2010/2011 Luis San Andres Texas A&M University
2 What does earning a graduate degree means? Work leading towards an advanced graduate degree is designed to give the student a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of his or her professional field and training in methods of research. The final basis for granting the degree shall be the student’s grasp of the subject matter of a broad field of study and a demonstrated ability to do independent research. In addition, the student must have acquired the ability to express thoughts clearly and forcefully in both oral and written languages. The degree is not granted solely for the completion of course work, residence and technical requirements, although these must be met. The official view 2007-08 TAMU Graduate Catalog,, p. 151 INDIVIDUAL INDEPENDENT & ORIGINAL MASTERY COMMUNICATION
3 Work leading towards an advanced graduate degree is designed to give the student a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of his or her professional field and training in methods of research. The final basis for granting the degree shall be the student’s grasp of the subject matter of a broad field of study and a demonstrated ability to do independent research. In addition, the student must have acquired the ability to express thoughts clearly and forcefully in both oral and written languages. The degree is not granted solely for the completion of course work, residence and technical requirements, although these must be met. The only view The ability of student (INDIVIDUAL) to perform INDEPENT & ORIGINAL work with demonstrated COMMUNICATION SKILLS What does earning a graduate degree means?
4 Necessary conditions Stability Financial support (economic) Personal (emotional) Family & peer support (emotional) Resources Equipment, Computers, Tools and Space conducive to work Library, Expertise from peers and advisor
5 Necessary conditions Desire to learn Passion for subject. Not merely a ticket for future $$ rewards Natural Curiosity Constant inquiry, hands-on experience Appreciation of Needs How to contribute with improvements? Desire to serve others Professional society/community at large
6 Necessary conditions Fierce Independence Drive towards solving unique problems (find “opportunities”) Appreciation of Past Work Learn from others ! Ability to be a team player You ride with others!
7 The role of your advisor Provides the means ($$, Lab & office space, PC, access to information ) Guides on literature ( self and others ) Guides on selection of procedures ( analytical, experimental, shows shortcuts ) Recommends classes, seminars Serves as active co-author in publications Encourages and supports attendance to professional meetings
8 The advisor does NOT Conduct minute scrutiny of the student progress Monitor correctness of analysis, equations, computer programs, test results, etc. in every detail Correct & Edit English and style of every single document, report, thesis, and (paper) manuscript prepared to show student research progress Teach basic mathematical skills and engineering skills student should have learned in prior education Advisor assumes you are a professional responsible adult
9 The advisor expects a student To perform work timely (assigned tasks and responsibilities) to the best of his/her ability To take full responsibility for own accomplishments and shortcomings To have a strong desire to learn and be of assistance to fellow students in the Laboratory To read/learn from technical papers to enhance knowledge and technical competence in field of interest To write effectively and concisely well documented sound technical reports and papers Remember: you are a professional responsible adult!
10 How to Get the Work Done? All research is INCREMENTAL; it adds to the vast published knowledge. There is no excuse for you not to know what has been done before. Originality relates to novel, faster and more reliable procedures for measurement and prediction. In all cases, the research must strive to solve problems and to create opportunities (innovation). ORIGINAL RESEARCH?
11 How NOT to Get the Work Done? Class Work Literature review Independent research Analysis & Writing Thesis FINISH LINE Year 1Year 2Year 3
12 How to Get the Work Done? Class Work Literature review Independent research Analysis, Synthesis & Writing Thesis FINISH LINE Year 1Year 2Year 3 Literature review
13 Research for industry Industry sponsors a large portion of TAMU research “business.” Industry supports your work because it needs a certain expertise – your advisor’s mainly The Principal Investigator (your advisor) has accumulated a vast experience in solving engineering problems with an outstanding tradition of excellent service to several industries These companies are also the major employers of graduates, i.e., you will probably work for one of the companies funding the work. Only a few Ph.D.s end up working in academia
14 Research for industry Principal Investigator, i.e. PROJECT MANAGER, has the main responsibility of ensuring the program is executed on time, within budget, and addressing to the technical requirements specified Presently, all contracts with industry, even with government, demand the above conditions
15 Research for industry Research is no longer intended to educate students and to show “ a best effort ” to advance science and engineering. Academic research is a business! To stay in business one needs to satisfy the customer, anticipating his needs, delivering on time, exceeding expectations, etc. Furthermore, industry, to remain competitive, demands more work with less resources and in record time. Creativity and Innovation are highly sought to remain competitive. One must strive to do things right the first time!
16 The bottom line Industry has a choice! If not satisfied, a customer will go elsewhere where the work can be conducted as requested and probably at a lower cost and in less time. Think about globalization. What skills do you need to keep your “research job” during the next 10+ years?
17 What is TEES view? TEES (Texas Engineering Experimental Station), the research administration arm from TAMU, solicits information from sponsors (customers): * Were contract deliverables satisfied and timely delivered? * Did the quality of the work meet your expectations? * Will you do business with TEES again?
18 TAMU revamping grad education 2011: MS and PhD graduating students must demonstrate, just like UGs, the soft skills needed to survive in a fast changing world.
19 How to Get the Work Done? Views from Dr. San Andres (former) graduate students
20 How to Get the Work Done? Set goal(s) of research Compile written tasks Develop time table for completion Remain focused Strive for excellence Read technical literature Ask questions when necessary Document work throughout Student 1
21 How to Get the Work Done? Ask for help with design and feasibility Plan ahead—fabrication always takes longer than expected Make certain your project budget fits the plan Read instrument and software manuals early Write about what you have learned as you learn it. Don’t get discouraged by failure—it happens! The work will not get done by itself and it will not get done overnight—hang in there! Student 2
22 How to Get the Work Done? Student 3 Divide ultimate research goal into tangible objectives Prioritize objectives List the individual tasks to achieve each objective. Prepare a timetable to complete tasks Read and learn from literature Deliver as planned! The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge. Daniel J. Boorstin
23 How to Get the Work Done? Student 4 * Develop a methodology with your advisor Weekly meetings with your advisor are recommended * Seek help from other students/peers * Keep yourself organized * Read technical papers Identify similar problems others have encountered and/or solved. Gain ideas on how to further your research.
24 How to Get the Work Done? Student 5 Plan your tasks and keep organized. Don’t rush what you are unsure of. A task is achieved the quickest when it is done slowly and correctly once, than when it is rushed through several times without the appropriate background and consideration given. Document your work, diversify your schedule and deliver on your planned tasks DO THINGS RIGHT ( ALMOST ALWAYS ) THE FIRST TIME !
25 How to Get the Work Done? Student 6 Define a clear goal and conduct work with vision and persistenceDefine a clear goal and conduct work with vision and persistence Utilize tools and resources to your advantage: mentor’s experience, the close-knit social group of a laboratory (grad students, post-docs, and professors of all ages) Utilize tools and resources to your advantage: mentor’s experience, the close-knit social group of a laboratory (grad students, post-docs, and professors of all ages) Make the most of information (the depth and breadth of understanding necessary to thrive in a field of research is constantly growing) Read technical papers related to your work Make the most of information (the depth and breadth of understanding necessary to thrive in a field of research is constantly growing) Read technical papers related to your work Take course work that is applicable and information rich Have a sense of urgency to make your research field the best it can beHave a sense of urgency to make your research field the best it can be
26 How to Get the Work Done? Personal – Focus on research work and academic studies, prioritize between work and entertainment activities. Distribute time according to duties and responsibilities. Professional – when dealing with research and academic work: organization of ideas and efforts, time management, planning and completion of tasks, methods and procedure to achieve tasks and to meet goals, and to deliver results. Student 7
27 How to Get the Work Done? Work proceeds along several fronts and every task takes time! Do not wait to complete course work to start research! Do not just plan & schedule, actually do the work and deliver! Read & write often! Do not wait until advisor tells you to do so ! Student 8
28 How to Get the Work Done? Avoid NIH ( Not Invented Here ) Attitude Do not reject or discredit ideas because they come from other sources outside your group (In particular published literature) Learn and accept right ideas and reject wrong ones. Invention is 1/10 inspiration and 9/10 perspiration (T. Edison) Student 9
29 How to Get the Work Done? Master published literature. Do not just read & learn your advisor’s papers. A lot has been done elsewhere, even in different fields Have fun! – Enjoy your work, Help others, Write & Publish! Student 10