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Questions and Discussion for Academics
This subreddit is for discussing academic life, and for asking questions directed towards people involved in academia, (both science and humanities).
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Hi! This summer (for the upcoming 2 months), I am going to conduct research in the field of HCI (specifically, information sensemaking) which involves application development as well. I had sent out a research proposal, which has been accepted (hooray!). Now I am getting a bit confused on how to go ahead with the plan. I had used a standard research plan, complete with literature review, interviews/surveys, analysis, application development, user testing, etc.
- What do researchers actually do to plan out their project and use it as a day to day guide?
- What should be an ideal research workflow? What things should I keep in mind?
- How do you find, manage and assimilate all the information that you read, understand?
Since it is my first time going into a self guided research, I would love to know tips and techniques on how to effectively perform and manage my research. Thanks!
I had been submitting my paper to a communication science journal. A reviewer suggested to replace the mention of "paper" to "article" (e.g., "in this paper, I argue ..." or "as discussed in this paper"), but did not mention the reason. I asked in my revision correspondence but it was not brought up again.
I've been working on a specific project that I think with enough time and effort can prosper into a solid well cited publication in a high impact journal. My lab are part of an research interest network within a large R1 institute with members of several labs taking turns presenting their individual projects on a monthly basis.
Since this is a network of labs working on similar research interests, I initially thought that it was meant to be a collaborative environment with open sharing of ideas and comments. In fact, some of the labs were even part of each other's R01 funding.
There was this one postdoc's work was similar to my(also a postdoc) current research project. They worked on Gene A , while I work on Gene B. Both A and B contribute towards X phenotype as they share a lot of similar genetic and physical interactors. I've been taking a rather collaborative approach in understanding what this postdoc was working on and tried my best to share my ideas and results whenever they present.
Recently, I was horrified to know that due to the postdoc having some personal commitments that they decided to leave academia and want to publish whatever results they might have into a smaller scale journal. I was even more horrified and agitated that our results shared almost 80% similarity despite working on different genes (think of it as the experiments were the same, the conclusions were the same just the cell lines were different). I was further annoyed by the fact that they had a new piece of key data that was never there throughout the years they've been presenting and it took me almost a year to establish the same data. A month after I presented my results, the other lab miraculously also generated the same observations using the caveats I listed.
I'm currently filled with so much rage and anxiety when my PI approach to tell me that I have to also try aiming to cut parts of my data to fit into a smaller paper so that we can at least publish back to back with the other lab. It annoys me because I find it unfair that I left to do damage control and was thrown under the bus. It annoys the heck out of me that the other PI kept acting apologetic for wanting to publish earlier because the postdoc is leaving soon. Moreover, I'm not considered to be a collaborator on the project even though the other PI hinted that he will be putting my PI as an author in the manuscript.
To me , the apologies are cheap and insincere since I recalled how much gaslighting I had to deal with the other PI whenever I present my results. Looking back, it might just a tactic to stall my work while giving their postdoc ample time to reproduced mine. My PI , who still wants to maintain a cordial relationship, flatly told me to stop complaining and get working on re-assembling my results and writing a brand new manuscript. It annoys the heck out of me that my intended story is being butchered into incohesive parts that I now need to put in even more extra effort into making them whole. My PI tried to say that I can cut up my materials into different, smaller manuscripts which was undoubtedly unfair for me since it placed unwarranted stress for me to get everything ready in a short amount of time and will also reduce the value of the research when they're taken apart.
Because I left a paper trail of every correspondences i have with the other lab including whenever i shared my results with them, my friends were suggesting :
a) I should just report to the research ombudsman which will inevitably just not be fruitful since technically we're not working on the same genes and so it can easily be swept under the table as being pure coincidence.
b) I should just bite the bullet and do as much damage control as necessary.
I learned my lesson that ideas are cheap and you're not even safe from people from your own institute when you share unpublished data. Yes, I'm venting and ranting and yes I'm very bitter about it.
Master's student here (social sciences), looking at pursuing a PhD. I've worked in geopolitical consulting and academic research roles for four years, and I love what I do - my field is so interesting and definitely helps to fulfill my passions. Doing a PhD would not only boost my current career path (ie academic research), but it would also allow me to explore a topic I care deeply about and become a better researcher. All of this to say - I'm confident in wanting to do a PhD.
HOWEVER - I love hiking, reading fiction, writing fiction and things not related to my PhD, yoga and pilates, etc. I'm 23, and I'd like to date and get married in the coming years, make friends and find new communities, this list goes on...
Basically, I want a life and to have time and energy to pursue different things on top of a PhD. I'm from North America and like the idea of doing my PhD in the US. I also like the funding in the US - it's far more generous than the UK (though still VERY modest), and it seems like US PhD programs offer far more support to their students (sometimes called "hand holding," i know...). The UK, on the other hand, is far shorter in duration and is said to offer far better work-life balance. But, UK PhDs also seem to be far less valuable in North America for these very reasons.
Any thoughts? There are experts in my field of interests at great institutions in both countries, so this isn't much of a concern.
After waiting for 2 months for the paper to be under review, my paper got rejected just after 5 days of review. While the comments of Reviewer 1 was really helpful and suggest minor revisions (which all can be revised in around 30 minutes), Reviewer 2 comments was pretty critical and some of the things they said doesn't even make any sense. I didn't actually the Reviewer 2 myth until now, lol.
My paper is about how some factors can contribute to the development of suicidal ideation (Try to keep it vague). Reviewer 2 said that the paper is confused suicidal ideation to suicide, and at best only contributing to the understanding of suicidal ideation. I scanned my whole paper again and the whole paper, from Abstract, Clinical Implication, to Conclusion, clearly stated that this study would focus on the understanding of suicidal ideation.
Another point they criticized my paper is that the paper should include clinical sample. Despite I already explained in the paper how non-clinical sample is better for the current study and the title already included the word "non-clinical sample".
They also said they didn't see the connection about how guilt related to one of the study variable. Funny, I scanned the whole paper again and discovered that I never mentioned guilt or any guilt-related-word once in the article, lol. They also stated that they don't understand how hopelessness related to one of the theory, despite I clearly stated and cited 3 papers that linked the two variables.
Sigh, good luck to everyone who are submitting their paper.
Edit: Have finished revising the paper according to Reviewer 1 and add some sentences to explain some simple points that Reviewer 2 failed to understand. Hopefully my next time submit the paper I would received kinder review. Now I'm gonna hide in some corner to play game and swallow my pain.
Does anyone here know of any programs similar to Matriculate that might offer assistance in preparing and advising for admissions to prestigious universities? I’m a student in my early thirties and I can’t seem to find any resources for anyone that isn’t still in high school.
I’m currently earning my associates at a community college but plan to transfer to a good university for my bachelor's. I’m a FGLI as well so I have a lot of anxiety about being prepared and trying my hardest to get into the best school I can. I eventually want to try for a phd. So I'm very stressed about navigating.
I’ve done/ do a ton of research on my own but after hearing about matriculate, I realized what a helpful program something like that would be for me.
I know nothing about the academic world, so would love some insights on what her options may be.
The background: she is from China and in a liberal arts PhD program at a top US university. She came here with a bachelor's and master's from top Chinese institutions. Her advisor insisted she retake undergraduate classes she had already taken, and then get a second master's, basically a duplicate of what she already had. Somewhere around 9 or 10 years into the program, her advisor changed the dissertation target from about 200 pgs to about 350 pgs. Then her department bungled her student visa extension and it expired.
Now she's at 11 years, has written about 240 pgs, and is about to submit a draft to her advisor. We're both assuming her advisor will say she needs to write another 100 pages.
Does she need to take it on the chin and continue to put the rest of her life on hold (with no pot of gold at the end), or is there something she can do to advocate for herself? I assume it's related to Chinese culture, but she is very hesitant to challenge authority. But this is killing her.
Really appreciate any help!
I am doing a lot of maps for my papers. I use so far the background of USGS. I checked on their website and it seems okay. What are people using for the satellite background of their map? I am modifying the maps. I would be happy if anyone knows which maps we can use. Most of the time it is to show the location of my study...
I am not in a PhD program yet (maybe won't) or anything, but I do want to know what is the logical explanation behind a 75-page thesis? Seriously, I'm talking about working professionals with families and the thought of sitting down to write a 75-page thesis (probably more) does what for what in what benefit for any person?
So, some colleagues and I were discussing attendance on a hybrid conference we attended recently. Lots of people who were on the program did not come in person nor showed up virtually to present. This led to the point of disagreement: is it okay to list the event on your CV in the conferences part?
Some said yes, because in the US what counts is the letter of acceptance, not the participation (many conferences don’t even offer certificates of participation).
Others said no, because in the conference section what counts is the ones you participated in (which drove us to a secondary discussion: do you add all conferences you attended or just the ones where you presented?!)
Finally, the minority said that they would add the conference, but add a parenthesis in the end explaining why not presented (which I don’t think works in this situation. It would work only, for example, in conferences that were fully canceled, like happened during covid).
What’s everyone’s take in this case?!
Context: Social Sciences, Humanities, UK
I grew up in a working class environment, but chose to join the middle classes by going to university, doing a PhD and receiving tenure in the UK. Many of the people around me went to college to become plasterers, electricians etc. Recently, after sharing some time with one of them, I wonder if I made the right decision.
He told me that he finished college at 16 and that he is now 30, spending the last 14 years working, raising a family, enjoying his youth. He earns now £200 for a day of work (that is a 9 hour shift). I could not help but compare his life's trajectory to my own. I spent 12 years in higher education, getting all the necessary degrees whilst always working on the side. After my PhD, I went through precarity and, like so many others, worked from contract to contract. I count myself privileged to get a tenure job, because I know many are not that fortunate. I earn now a few more quid than the bloke I mentioned earlier, but I can't help but feel that I have lost so much along the way. Yes, I get to work with ideas and enjoy more independence, but the emotional, social and embodied price I paid feels high.
In the midst of a cost of living crisis, industrial action, pension losses, real-term pay cuts, long-term wage stagnation, I can't help but wonder: was/is it worth it?
Hello. Need to make a decision ASAP. I got admission into two Doctoral programs. One is Defense and Security Studies in Washington D.C. from a decent University and the other is International Development (Security & Development specialization) in Mississippi. The challenge I'm having is that the D.C. campus has a very good faculty in the security field, but it is a hard-core Security limiting me only in the field of security. On the contrary, the Mississippi program is broader incorporating security and other fields such as development and economics. While I'm interested in international security, I want to be able to widen my options careerwise both with think thanks and international organizations and I fear the D.C. program will not give me that wider options.
I am currently a visiting assistant professor that is looking to transition into a tenure track position in the legal academy. What are some things you all look for in determining whether an institution is right for you?
Intuitively, I know I should be attentive to geographic location, the work of colleagues, and the prestige of the institution but I am concerned about how I can get a feel for culture of a school without actually being there for a meaningful period of time.
Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated!
Hello, I’m currently looking into PhD programs to apply for in the future, however, I’m stuck on deciding which program would benefit me. I want to work in the pharma industry as a scientist in cancer research. I’m aware of the cancer biology program that many schools are offering but I’m also wondering if there are other programs that would provide the same kind of experience as cancer biology?
I guess I’m also asking if getting a PhD in cancer biology would increase my chances of getting a scientist position or not
The lab normally recruits teens via social media, but Facebook changed their policy so we can no longer post ads targeting adolescents (on the one hand, totally support this! On the other, not great when you want to recruit this demographic).
I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas to recruit the 13y-17y female (sex assigned at birth) demographic within Canada for an online pain study.
We might still get some responses from the non-targeted Facebook ads, but we need other strategies since the grant deadline is looming.
These are the other recruitment ideas I‘ve had so far:
posts in relevant parent Facebook groups
ads in community newsletters and other online newsletters
posters in community centres, cafes, public places, clinics around the city
giving short recruitment talks to summer camps
giving short recruitment talks to schools (don’t think we’d be able to start this till September even if we get ethics approval)
mod-approved posts in relevant reddit groups
lab tent with fun activities at summer festivals in the city
We aren’t in one of the bigger Canadian cities, so in-person recruitment may be limited.
Does anyone have any additional ideas?
Any other ideas or advice you have would be phenomenal!
Hey all and thank you in advance for the responses.
I am currently a second-year attorney working in Chicago. I really want to become a professor. I’ve always dreamed of teaching college students not just for the enjoyment of teaching, but also for how I can get involved at a college. I’m really passionate about joining a college where I can build up and develop clubs as a faculty-advisor like chess clubs and video game clubs.
Primarily I want to teach pre-law courses where I can tell students my story of how I got into law school with a full ride, how to graduate with a six figure job after law school, and provide other guidance based off of my experiences. Of course building this into an actual classroom lesson plan teaching what the legal system looks like and how it works from an attorney’s perspective.
My questions are: (1) Do I need to get a Ph.D to get a job at a community college in Chicago? I would prefer not to move out of the city because I genuinely love it here. (2) Would my J.D be sufficient to do more than get adjunct teaching roles? I’m ready to make a full transition into teaching or a Ph.D program and while I don’t mine adjuncting, I do need to be able to afford my rent. (3) If I’m really limited to adjunct positions does anyone have advice on getting a job in one of these positions or does anyone have any contact suggestions that I could reach out to?
I’m passionate about teaching. I believe that I have wisdom to offer to students thinking about law school from the application process to scholarship negotation what to focus on in law school how to pass the bar exam on the first try and how to get a job afterwards. And I also really want to be an active teacher who contributes to clubs and societies at the college.
I really appreciate any advice. Thank you
Hey y'all, I just graduated with my BS in psych and am working now to save for my PhD. For the past two years I've worked in a neuroimaging lab as an RA and my PI was nice enough to hire me post-graduation, and I just started another job in another lab on campus. Each week I spend about 20 hours at each lab. My new PI asked me to write a BioSketch for a project, but I'm having trouble writing my personal statement. Though both are neuroimaging labs, they study very different things and I have very different roles at each. Should I focus on the new project I'm on specifically or combine both?
Excuse the terrible formulated question, I've been working a lot today and do not want to leave 'the zone of focus'.
Onto the topic at hand: I'm currently writing my thesis discussion (cognitive neuropsychology, hence the flair), currently discussing limitations of my research. I argue that participants that volunteered could be systematically different from participants that refused to participate.
I feel like this statement is valid, I referenced papers, but I don't want to make it look like this is something that is necessarily true. Eg; it is a suggestion. But rounding out/concluding my paragraph with 'this is merely a suggestion, based on a hunch, there could be other factors playing a part' doesn't feel smooth. /It feels like with that sentence I basically tell the reader; yeah, but idk, so i could have not typed this out.
Does anyone have a suggestion for this? I feel like I'm almost there, but I also feel my formal English running out (non native English speaker who desperately wants to stay in hyperfocus lol).
*Let me know if this is unclear or if this belongs in a different sub.
Thank you for reading!
This is a bit of a industry relationship question, I need some help in getting my head on straight for a response to a recent back-and-forth correspondence. I'm in a post doctoral fellowship with my Advisor/Professor and Company X.
Back when our research group began our research with Company X, in order to access the data sets we were going to ases, Company X needed us to use Company laptops to access the data and the un-aggregated data needs to remain on company computers (until the data is aggregated). I gave Company X a wish list of software and hardware to our initial contact. When I arrived to pick up the laptops, the contact didn't actually submit/forward our request to the IT department. Software was easy (but time-consuming) to install but I couldn't get my hardware request fulfilled before I had to leave the site. (the site is in a different city/province than myself so getting to site takes a trip of a couple of days+cost of hotels, etc.)
I knew I could eventually get the work done with the hardware given, it just meant processing the data we were going to use would be more time consuming and require a few 'tricks'
Initial contact has left the company.
I hit a snag where I knew a computer with more ram would make our (the research team's) life easier. I asked a new contact if I sufficiently anonymized the data that I can move to a lab computer, understandably it was denied.
My new contact included the message in the refusal:
Thank you for letting us know laptops provided aren't particularly powerful. While we may not be able to address this issue at present, I'd be glad to pass along any recommended specifications for the machines we should have provided to you (such as processor speed, RAM, etc.). In the future, I can advocate for more powerful devices with our IT department.
Not sure if I should be explicitly calling out this miscommunication (or "telephone game" failure). I'm the expert in this area and my advisor is not (that is why they hired me). I am a little peeved as the sum of the back-and-forth correspondence seems to indicate that we (my advisor and I) should have planned better.
I have the original email request where I outline what I needed, about the only thing I can think of was I literally titled it "computer wishlist" which maybe in English it means "nice to have" and not "need to have"?
With being peeved and other (less important) messages seeming to be lost in communication, I'm having a hard time not sending a message that throws Initial Contact under the bus (so to speak) and/or is passive aggressive (or aggressive aggressive).
Part of me is a 'just ignore it', but our lab hopes to continue a relationship with Company X, I think I really need to lay out expectations and needs to conduct our research.
Hi guys! I just started a position as a research program coordinator at an R1 university. Even the majority of my work is doing research, my manager told me to pay attention to potential funding information because our team constantly needs projects. I used to be a student research assistant and never had to worry about where my salary came from. As a new graduate, I felt a little overwhelmed by this "you need to worry about the money now" situation. I was wondering what platforms and/or resources I should keep an eye out for in terms of new grants/funding/awards etc. Our research mainly focuses on public health and program evaluation.
Thank you in advance for any input!
I am working on my bachelors thesis at the moment and I need to know how often "Spotify Wrapped" has been tweeted in 2022. Ideally with a breakdown into each month.
How can I see how often something has been tweeted in a given time window? All the services I found that can provide such data are incredibly expensive. Is there still a way to get Twitter usage data for research without paying absurd amounts of money?
Thanks in advance!
(media and communication studies / germany)
I'm an upcoming third-year at a large public university with essentially 2-full years left before I graduate. I've spent 1-year with a lab at a neighboring institution, showing up rather consistently (20+ hrs/week during the school year, ~40 hrs/week now) to work on a semi-independent project under the supervision of a postdoc despite a 2-hour commute. Ultimately, my goal is to pursue a PhD in microbiology.
Recently, I've been considering leaving my current undergraduate lab to join a different one that better suits my interests as they have changed quite drastically (also the commute frankly is exhausting). My current lab does stem cell research and my interests have turned towards the field of microbe metabolic engineering. I think they're pretty different, so there isn't really a way for me to incorporate it into what I'm doing now without "overstepping" as an undergraduate. While I haven't fully decided to leave yet, I want to understand how I might go about doing this in a way that won't completely destroy my relationships with the PI and my postdoc mentor. So far, I think they're very positive and I don't want to sour them. What makes it a bit more awkward, I suppose, is that I had already stated I would be interested in continuing with them during the fall about a month ago. I'm also currently working on a summer fellowship with them; leaving right after that's all settled kind of seems off to me, but perhaps that's just in my head. There's also the inherent risk of leaving a research position I already have and possibly not even getting into another lab at all. Could leaving a one-year commitment also be seen negatively by other labs that I'm applying to? Any advice would be appreciated, thank you!
I'm more and more interested in looking at the history of representation of the self, or the vision of oneself, in public places, so as to compare the past with the present, the present's constant displaying of the self, unwittingly, in public. Yes, we can now take our own photos and stories, but what I'm really interested in is, when did it go from needing someone else with a lot of expertise and technical components to show you what you look like (usually some amount of minutes afterwards), to being able to see yourself in the self-checkout aisles, or on public transport CCTV camera's screens (in the UK, you can see the camera's view rotating throughout the bus), or, extravagantly, there was a marketing gimmick where your face would be beamed up onto the displays in Times Square.
I feel like this is a seismic shift, but I want to study this more rigorously, and feel like this COULD be a good PhD angle for me, but I have not a clue what department I could go into to study this. And I feel like a PhD in Photography wouldn't give me the level of academic proficiency I'd like (well, I guess that depends on what University I go to). And I don't have a deep social science background. So I'm at a loss as to where to study, pure humanities route, social science route, etc.
Any help or ideas is much appreciated.
This thread is posted weekly to provide short answers to simple questions, mostly from undergraduates to professors. If the question you have to ask isn't worth a thread by itself, this is probably the place for it!
Recently I launched dataspot Ai tool for researchers, that turns any type of content such as research paper, website, or YouTube video into interactive chatbot. You can effortlessly retrieve information, obtain summaries. Google "dataspot ai" & let me know what you think :)
I have received an invitation to give a job talk for a tenure track Assistant Professor position in at a Agriculture university (U.S.). The position entails 70% research and 30% teaching responsibilities. As part of the presentation, I am required to discuss my teaching experiences and present my teaching plans. I am uncertain about how to create slides for this presentation and whether I should include information already mentioned in my teaching statement or CV. Additionally, I am unsure about what types of questions are typically asked when presenting teaching-related slides. Can you provide some guidance on how to effectively present this information and what kind of questions I might expect?
It seems that there is no source guiding how to change the citation style in Zotero. I mean changing from (number) to [number] at the end of the cite sentences. I have tried to look for this guidance, but it seems that no one has ever talked about this(?) This edit can be done easily in EndNote. I wonder why Zotero does not have it.
I'm about to start my first year as an English 1A professor at a California State University. What projects have been the best for you?
Around 6 months ago I volunteered to assist a ta with their lab work. I was excited about the research topic and was hoping to participate a lot more than I got to. I was initially given smaller tasks and I think things just fell apart after that. The ta was happy with my work but there was not much else I was given. The communication b/w us was fairly weak as well. Most of the time I never got any responses from them, however, I am aware they are a very busy individual. I can say some of this is my fault since I began participating less and less in weekly meetings with the whole lab and offering to travel for some other roles (I felt I had nothing to offer during those meetings and exams and school work was getting hectic). Anyways, now that it's summer and I am moving on to graduate school in a completely different field, I just don't see myself volunteering there anymore, I feel another individual may be more suited for this role and cannot figure out how to email them telling them I want to leave. Any advice would be appreciated!
P.s. I hope this is the correct forum to ask this question
There's an article published in a Neuroscience journal which describes a theoretical method of efficiently collecting behavior data on mouse populations. One side project I'm exploring uses existing data on such populations. The data is such low quality and old that it would be of great benefit to implement the proposed experiment in this article. How do I go about that if I’m not in Health Sciences?
My understanding is the way I would get this done is that you would just have a grant approved from one department, and they'd just grant that to the Lab Animal department, assuming they approve my proposal. I'd just be asking to implement an existing paper developed by Health Sciences researchers which is non-invasive.
Interdisciplinary projects are fairly rare due to compartmentalization in academia. I'm wondering if anyone has ever done something like this or if I'm on the right track.