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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Learning to Research, Part 1 Things to know

This blog is going to be a series of entries to help out PhD Students looking for help on how to do research. Specifically I will be focusing on Electrical Engineering and Digital Signal Processing for UCF students. I started writing notes for a friend and thought, why not blog it so anyone I know can read it if they like. So here is part 1, Things you need to know before we get started:

If you are not a UCF student a lot of this will still apply to you, you will simply be using your schools library website.

This website is your best friend . It will get you free access to most of the things you need, not only journal articles but e-books and copies of things through inter-library loan system.

Effective research will save you a lot of time; schedule an appointment with a research librarian by going to this link, it seems silly but its not. I went to a class the library offered and it really helped motivate me once I knew all the tools available. Do not expect to solve all of your problems with one meeting, but do have a list of what you want to accomplish and let the librarian know before you show up what you hope to accomplish. Rich Gause in particular will do his homework before meeting with you to make the most of your consultation.

The biggest thing you need in order to keep on track is a weekly meeting, even if it isn’t with your advisor. You need to talk with someone once a week about what you plan to do and what you actually did. It doesn’t matter if they know anything about your topic, it creates a guilt factor that makes you do something every week. The hardest way to do the PhD is with a family and a job, and this is what I am doing so I hope this helps if it is what you need to do as well.

It will not be easy, even if you have help. You will get mad at your peers, advisor, family, friends, and yourself. Accept this and realize when it happens that everyone really does want to support you, generally we are not trying to make your life harder.

The last really big item is that you need to keep track of every source you look at even if you plan to use it or not. Create accounts with endnote and refworks, more on this later, but here is the link to free versions since you are a ucf student

1 comment:

  1. This is really helpful. Thank you!