The ability to write good research papers is absolutely central not only to your career prospect but also to doing good research so what I want to do in this talk is just to make seven very concrete immediately actionable suggestions that I think will make your papers better but the ground rules are the same as in the talk about giving a talk this is slightly less recursive which is this is not a subject on which there are any right answers right so there’s no in I have no monopoly on truth here so please ask questions or indeed make comments from your own experience as we go along that would be more fun for me we will still finish at twelve as mentioned at the end of the last talk okay yes definitely although any answers that are definitely wrong probably not.
Actually you know to everything there is a counter example but I’m just going to err on the side of being highly opinionated and saying things that I believe to be true and then you can be free to disagree with them and fight with your supervisor about them okay so here’s the first thing just start writing right so here is a typical plan for doing research first of all you have some idea and then you spend some months or even a year or two developing the idea and then you write the paper that sounds logical right that’s just good scholarship isn’t it utterly wrong here’s what you should do right you have an idea.
You start to write the paper and in writing the paper you think oh I didn’t really understand that idea very well that sort of forces you to refine the idea and you you should the act of writing the paper sort of forces out the research as it were what can happen with with this plan is you have the idea you start like you start you do the research and after you you start to like the paper and you think darn six months of that year were completely wasted and there’s another six months left to do on bits that I didn’t realize that I didn’t understand right so I’m a functional program I like lazy evaluation so this is like lazy evaluation right you’ve got a you start writing the paper.
Use that as a forcing function for doing the research an order Oh drat not only is it a good forcing function but it also it’s a good way of trying to make yourself articulate what it is that you’re doing so I can’t tell you how often I’ve started to write a paper and I’ve realized that something I thought I understood I don’t understand after all but when you write it down it all seems you know by the time you actually get it in letters on paper it seems more complicated than you thought it was right so it kind of crystallizes your ideas in a very concrete way and that can make it much clearer where you don’t understand. As found on Edusson.