CPS 300
Introduction to Graduate Study

Advice on Doing Research

Of all the wonderful things that you will learn in graduate school, the most important is how to do research. It is the hardest to learn, and the hardest to teach. Like any skill, you can learn it only by doing it. We can teach it only by asking you to do it, and critiquing your performance. Like riding a bicycle, the hardest part is getting started, and it becomes much easier once you have some forward momentum. Research is similar to riding a bicycle in other respects: it hurts to fall down, and the reward for the effort depends in large measure on where you decide to go.

The Web is full of advice for students getting started in science and research. Every scientist has something to say on the subject, and there are many articles written by esteemed elder scientists reflecting on the lessons of their careers. Here is a selection of writings, roughly in order of interest and value for first-year graduate students in computer science. Most are quick clicks and worth the time.