Research in Computer Science

Introduction

Embarking on a career for Phd is to prepare you to be an independent researcher. Research is about finding answers. Answers to solutions. So to find answers, you must know the environment.

Read read read, know what you are dealing with or love to deal with. Then its time to find the loop holes. Why? is your friend. Why why why? then make a guess of why and you are on a your journey to prove your guess. Just like sherlock. A hypothesis and a proof. That is research.

Some researchers try to make their research sound complicated. but in our current work where public is power. Simplicity is your best friend. A professor once told me “if something is too complicated. Use the stupidiest way to solve it.” And once you do. use the simpliest way to explain it.

Finding a PhD

Most universities have PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in various fields. You will need to contact a right department, lecturer (group leader) who has PhD topics. Most research groups have PhDs. So where should you start? Email friends and relatives, talk to people who are already doing research. Ask them for recommending a topic or university. Talking or emailing lecturers or current researchers in the field you are most interested in; most of them are rather friendly if not over enthusiastic on explaining what they do.

Funding a PhD

Quite a number of PhDs are funded by Associations, Research groups, Universities or even your company. These are called Scholarships/Bursaries. An average PhD overseas student tuition fee is £10,000 – £16,000 per year. It will typically take 3 years to complete the research and 1 year to finish the thesis (writeup), making it about 4 years in total; some take longer.

So What is a PhD?

Some folks at Imperial College London told me it was “Permanent Head Damage”. So what about the Doctors in NHS? Well, specifically they are MDs(Medical Doctors). There are very many ways to look at a PhD. Some feel they are B****es of departments who are not bothered to do the research themselves but have loads of money with nowhere to spend. Great. Lets get a PhD to do the work.

A good version which I humbly accepted is its a training of learning to think independently and critically. “YES” man gets shot. In PhD, we say more of a “Lets see what happens”, … “OOooo. isn’t there a better way to do this?”,….”This is interesting… What else can I do with this.”… and finally.. “Noooo.. I think its rubbish”. Failure is common when researching.

PhD is a pathway to help build up initiative and confidence in problem identification, analysis, critical views, and solving the problem with validation (experiments). Defining problems is a skill we attain as one follows the PhD pathway of light. “The looking beyond the obvious”. (I think thats why lots of PhDs like visiting abstract art galleries.).. Either look good, look sophisticated or Look Beyond ..

What Next?

During Phd, you will be embarked on a journey to finding the GAP in society of knowledge. The gap which you can safely wriggle in and expand. “This is the problem identification stage.” and this is when you READ, READ, READ, LEARN, READ, then criticise and prove they are wrong(or right).

After a while you will be the pinnacle of your field. The grand plan of this is then you would have published alot in your field and here comes the “money shot”. Grand Idea, written into a proposal and funding from Research Societies. You get the first paycheck to fund a team to carry on your own dream. Dream that will change the field, society or even the world. “Is it all FAME and Glory?”

Lets be noble about this. Your research will be carried on and it will improve our environment and knowledge about the world even in greater depth.

HURRAH

Doing research in science fields may be daunting for quite some people. Hopefully the following can help some.

Researching

First, talk to an academic of a particular field. He/She can get you involved in certain research or area. You can also get some good conference recommendations. When pursuing research career, your career is mostly….. about RESEARCH. Therefore you will have to pursue an area of interest / speciality and work from there.

Publishing

Here are a few international directories that can help you seek conferences all over the world. Currently there are a few types: Journals / Conferences / Workshops. Graded in order of importance. All these are based on impact. Impact is how it influences the world. The lower the score i.e. 0.6 or 1.2 is good. 8.0 is not as good.

Open Access Journals Directories
  • http://www.doaj.org/
  • http://www.wileyopenaccess.com/
  • http://www.oxfordjournals.org/oxfordopen/
  • http://www.plos.org/

Journals / Conferences

  • http://www.digitalcultureandeducation.com/
  • http://www.ejise.com/
  • http://journal.ub.tu-berlin.de/

Next question about publishing is cost. Most journals or conferences will require a fee. This fee varies but at current standing it is about USD$ 1200 – 2500. You might criticise the lack of support for open knowledge, however this is life. Like how cars work on petrol, people still work on money. Solar is near, but not near enough.

If you are down on dosh, you may consider the following methods

  • Research group funding
  • Co-author funding (other co-authors might have access to funds)
  • Department funding (your school or department might have funds for you)
  • School or University funding
  • Open Trusts such as Wellcome Trust (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/about-us/policy/spotlight-issues/Open-access/Guides/wtx036803.htm)


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