Posted by: hmchang | February 26, 2007

Research: Importance of Broad Knowledge

This week, I learned from Mitchell and Prof. Forrest Brewer that background survey is extremely important.

Michell told me that half of a paper (in analog testing) he wrote is devoted to paper survey. It is because that the reviewers of your paper (especially ITC) are mostly test engineers that most likely do not know about the material you are presenting. It is thus important to teach them relevant background knowledge, especially in detail. They will appreciate you and your work a lot if they are able to learn something from you.

Prof. Forrest Brewer’s presentation is so great and impressive. He gave a vivid introduction of error detection codes. He has very broad knowledge on the topic and can also relate the topic to other things, especially put it into a bigger picture. From his talk, I feel his confidence on the topic and the importance.

If I were to write or present my idea, if I have the same confidence? I started to afraid that my background knowledge is not solid enough. Publishing a paper is one thing, learning what has been done may be another, but they are somewhat related. One need to have a great sense of what needs to be done before he/she can really devoted into a topic. Critical thinking is also important because there are so many things to learn but time is limited. One will need to think and take what’s important on the way of reading.

Whatever topic I shall pick up, it is important to have extremely broad knowledge on that topic. A Ph.D. study is contributing something deep or specific, but a Ph.D. should also be broad in the sense that he/she knows what’s happening in the world and what’s important to do and how to relate one thing to another.

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