Beyond Incremental Research

Stefan Schneegass slides Mon, 12.03.2018

In this session, Prof. Schneegass discussed the vision behind selecting research topics and selecting a PhD topic. Through brainstorming group activities, we identified key requirements for getting a PhD. We discussed the perspective difference about requirements between PhD holders and PhD students.

Session protocol

  • ┬áResearch becomes monotone and less creative
  • The focus of some paper is very specialized -> Researching is only applicable to a special interest group.

Activity 1: Brainstorming – Things required for PhD

  1. Time
  2. Developed resistance/skills to failure -> improve from failures
  3. Supervisor who supervises
  4. Creativity
  5. Intrinsic motivation
  6. Friends as subjects
  7. Publishing papers at a conference
  8. Write a thesis
  9. A substantial contribution to science
  10. Recognized by your peers
  11. Finding a research question
  12. Methodology
  13. Publication and conferences
  14. Network talks and coffee
  15. Convince experts to give you one
  16. Managing Research
  17. Passion/Curiosity
  18. Supervisor which is willing to supervise your PhD
  19. At least ONE good paper

Academia vs. Industry: Relevant qualifications

  1. Develop a story for your job talk
  2. Show that you are able to do research on your own
  3. Be adaptable and open to new challenges
  4. Be aware and visible of your research community
  5. Get to know how conference (and general scientific) venues work
  6. One single high-quality paper (ToCHI) may be enough for PhD, but not sufficient for the academic position
  7. Cumulative vs. Monographic thesis:
  8. Pro Cumulative: People need to publish -> Publications are pushed
  9. Contra: Published paper cannot be changed -> no reflection and changes in cumulative papers
  10. Contra: Monographic thesis foster self-plagiarism

Activity 2: Brainstorming – How to generate new ideas

  1. Read
  2. Discuss the idea
  3. Be open to new ideas
  4. Reflect past experiences
  5. Leave the bubble
  6. Wheel of everyday interaction
  7. Design thinking and brainstorming
  8. Double diamond model (iterate on one idea)
  9. Group work
  10. Generating ideas from different research/activity domains
  11. Watch Sci-Fi movies
  12. Keeping an open eye for problems
  13. Design cards
  14. working and playing with artifact
  15. prototyping
  16. Getting exposed to other expert discussions
  17. Daydreaming
  18. Talk to People
  19. Get a shower
  20. Text notebook (write ideas down)
  • Creativity requires working on an inspiring research topic
  • Iterating the idea (what could you do with X)
  • Everybody has expertise in different areas; Combine unique expertise

Ideas might be risky

  1. Does it work?
  2. Does the user like it?
  3. Does the reviewer like it?
  4. High-risk high impact

How many papers do people read?

  • Some universities expect them to read 140 papers (examined with a test)
  • Most papers professionals read don’t get published