Some suggestions for graduate students to be successful

This page provides some suggestions for graduate students to be successful.

Table of Contents

  • Writing


  • Crystalizing the ideas through the process of putting things together
  • Hone the paper to a razor-sharp, articulate, polished work
  • Write the paper as early as possible, sometimes before even starting the research work
  • Will discover the important things that you have not thought about
  • The process of writing results in a flood of ideas
  • Even if a paper is not accepted, the process is energizing and often lead to new ideas for the next research problems
  • Submitting the paper is often the start of a new line of work
  • Get Results First than Writing?
    • Conventional mode
      • Idea-> Do research -> Write paper
    • How to write a great research paper” by Simon Peyton Jones (PDF, PPT)
      • Idea -> Write paper -> Do research
        • Forces us to be clear, focused
        • Crystallizes what we don’t understand
        • Opens the way to dialogue with others: reality check, critique, and collaboration
    • My way
      • Idea -> Write paper -> Do research -> Revise paper -> Do research -> Revise paper -> …
  • Interesting Title
    • Cool titles attract people
    • Grab people’s attention
    • But don’t be provocative


  • Start Working Early!

Write, write, write…

Ask others for comments


  • Work Hard in the Summer

  • Tell A Good Story

Good ideas and convincing results

  • More high impact papers are about how to get things done right!
  • Math Equations
    • Minimal number of equations

No more, no less

Too many details simply make a paper inaccessible

Have you encountered the  following similar situation?

At (professional or casual personal) gatherings,  we do not remember at all who does what.

This article offers some tips for making a memorable self-intro.


  • Lessons

    • Several influential papers have been rejected once or twice

    • Some best papers make little impact

    • Never give up in the process


  • Quotes from Steve Jobs

      • “ I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. ”
      • Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. ”


  • Other Quotes

      • Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.“– Albert Einstein.
      • Many things look difficult and mysterious at the first glance. But once we take the time to deconstruct them, the mystery is replaced by mastery!
      • Be so good, they can’t ignore you.” — Steve Martin
      • “Behave for the job you want, I always say!” — by Prof. Niklas Elmqvist
      • TBA


  • Time Management

Calendar. Not to-do lists. (Viewing time as space.) [by Professor Devi Parikh, Apr 25, 2018, PDF if not retrievable]


  • Tips for Paper/Poster Presentations

The most common size for posters is 48″x36″. But check out your conference for the specific poster size instructions when you prepare for your poster.



  • Watch those, I think most of you will realize that we are able to do anything very well if we really want

    • Golden Buzzer: Kodi Lee Wows You With A Historical Music Moment! – America’s Got Talent 2019  (YouTube, Published on May 28, 2019)

After watching this amazing performance, we have no right to complain about life. We can do anything if we want to do.

    • Mandy Harvey: Deaf Singer Earns Simon’s Golden Buzzer With Original Song — America’s Got Talent 2017 (YouTube, Published on Jun 6, 2017)

Deaf singer follows her dreams and earns a Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell with her original song “Try.”


References and Further Reading List

Academic Research is defined by the father of the United States space program:  Werner von Braun

Basic research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing?

Another definition of research :

Systematic investigation into a problem or situation, where the intention is to identify facts and/or opinions that will assist in solving the problem or dealing with the situation

The definition from the Cambridge English dictionary:

“Research: a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding”

Another realistic and practical adage for defining the research process for a PhD

“A PhD is about finding out more and more about less and less until one eventually knows everything about nothing (Anon.)”

Other definitions of academic research includes:

          • Making a rigorous and relevant contribution to knowledge.
          • Understanding of a cause and effect relationship of a given phenomenon or uncovering a new phenomenon
          • Organized inquiry to provide information for the solution to a problem (Emery&Cooper`91)
          • A careful and systematic investigation in some field of knowledge, undertaken to establish facts or principles (Kumar `96)
          • Scientific or scholarly inquiry or investigation and the proper communication of the findings (McCuen `96)

Useful Links:

    • The Power of Concentration by Theron Q. Dumont (Audio version freely available on LibriVox; note that you can download the .mp3 files — HERE you can download the Whole book (zip file) if its not retrievable on LibriVox website.)
    • TBA