Tiny Things

Micro-advice from a microbiologist

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I am going to use this blog to cover some questions I frequently see on Twitter and other sites. As always these are just my opinions.

Q: How do I start a new research project?

This is the hardest thing to do! So if you are frustrated you should be! Here are some steps that may be helpful to you as you begin your research journey.

  1. Read the literature. Anything you can get your hands on related to the subject. I find that publicly available dissertations and reviews are very helpful when starting a project on a new subject.
  2. Find holes or unanswered questions within the literature. Sometimes the authors of papers will give it away talk about this in the discussion of papers.
  3. Ask yourself if you could make a project based on that unanswered question. Would it be feasible with the technology available (to you)?
  4. Go back to the literature and be sure no one else has already answered this question. If they did, it’s ok, maybe they still missed something!
  5. Just do it! NO FEAR! You will fail at some point just try again.

Remember this is the hardest thing you will ever do as a PhD student and beyond so be patient. Contact me for specific advice.

Here are some links that may be helpful too.

https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2016/03/how-seriously-read-scientific-paper

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07332-x

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