Tips for PhD students
On this web page you will find the answers to all the questions we
have asked ourselves during our research as a PhD student. Questions about how to get it
started and how to get it finished, but that we have never dared to
ask. Besides this we have included links to some useful tools we
have discovered along the way. Please, contact us if you want to
- Frequently asked questions
- When, how and where do I submit my first abstract?
You are starting your 4-years tenure, you are reading papers, you are
enjoying yourself while doing it, you see the others writing and you
wonder when it's going to be your turn, right? Try, try it now! You are not
going to learn how to write by only reading. Take a (small) problem that made
you think while reading or attending a course and try to make clear
what you think about it and why. Few ideas clearly written will be enough
for your first abstract. In the worst case you will learn a lot from
the reviewers. Here is more information we have found on the net:
How to write a good extended abstract by William Pugh.
If you still don't know where to submit your abstract you can find information
about conferences via mailing lists. We list some of them here:
Subscribing to them will keep you informed about what's happening in your
field. Note that not all conferences are on the same level, there are some
major ones where everybody dreams to go, e.g.
But when starting you might want to try minor ones. There are some
organized especially for students, e.g.
- How do I write a paper?
We found the advice by Tony Roberts pretty handy. Go and have a look
Write Right for Research.
- How do I prepare a talk?
To some question has been asked to Patrick Blakburn who gave us the
answer at ESSLLI 01.
How to give a good talk
- Do I have to spend all my time reading and writing?
When you get familiar with this process of submitting papers, you
might want to learn more about what is behind the workshops,
conferences you have been taking part in. You might want to have a
look at them from the inside. Again, try this out! You can contribute
to your field by being involved in the organization of workshops as
well. You could start proposing meetings with your research group, or
with your fellow-students. This will also bring more variety in
your work and you will get to know your colleagues. It will be good for
your CV and it might be good for your mood as well. If you want to
give it a try but you don't know how, read
Tips on Organizing Workshops and Symposia by Marie des Jardins.
- How, When and Where do I submit my first paper to a journal?
The process of publishing papers in a journal is much longer than
the one you have experienced with conferences. It may take
years. Anyway it is worth a try. Sometime papers published in
proceedings of conferences can be selected by the editors for special
issues in a Journal. Otherwise you can decide to submit your paper
yourself to the Journal your paper is suited for. In this case there
is no call for papers you have to wait for, but you have to follow the
general instructions given by the Journal you are thinking of.
More information on the topics above can be found at http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~tw/phd/!
- How do I write my thesis?
Well, this is a hard question indeed and none of us know the answer yet, but
John W. Chinneck, has written something about How to Organize your Thesis
- What do I have to do for my PhD defense?
We are working on it! For now you'll have to make do with the booklet the
OGC has published on the subject, at their website (in Dutch).