Phew! Finished writing SATNAC paper on time. It was a pretty short paper but it is one of my milestones for the semester so I am pretty happy. I guess I have earned a few brownie points 😉 .
Today, we presented our work-in-progress papers at SAICIST Masters and Doctoral Symposium. It was truly very interesting and these were some of the general comments that were made by the moderators:
- Articulation of the problem statement: It was felt that many of us failed to state our problem statement.
Research question formulation: Again, we were faulted for articulation but the major criticism was with the formulation of the question. The formulation of the question tended to be binary as in yes or no. The problem with this is that contribution to the body of knowledge is not highlighted as a priority.
- Motivating the relevance and importance of the research: We were reminded that the responsibility lied with us to sell our research. So it was important to address the WHY at length.
- Claiming one’s contribution with panache: It was recognised that many people showed reluctance in claiming their contribution. However, it was cautioned that when they do they should do it with humility and perhaps a touch of panache.
- Communicating stage of research: In presenting we failed to inform the audience the stage we are in of the research. That is, are we at the start, middle or end? Consequently, the audience could not gauge what types of questions to ask.
- Confidence: While it was understandable that many of us lack experience in presenting but we were urged to show confidence. After all, it is our research and odds are we know more about it than many people in the audience.
- Differentiating software product from research: This was directed specifically to the computer scientists. Apparently we tend to think that the product that we will develop is the ultimate research. We need to understand that whatever we develop is but a by-product of research.
All in all, the important message to take home was explicitly addressing the WHY, WHAT, HOW and last but no least the SO what questions in the presentation. I must say it all sounds cliché but I guess one can never overestimate the old wisdom of sticking to the basics!
I submitted my work in progress paper to SATNAC and I am pretty happy. I have been told that part of the exercise in writing a work in progress paper is to get practice in academic writing. I think I am growing from the experience but I am certain I don’t like red writing. I haven’t really verbalised this to Alf but for some reason he seems to have figured this out. All my feedback unlike with the proposal was in GREEN. I hope it wasn’t a case of him not having a red pen, but if it is (and hopeful he might read this) green is the way to go for aspiring tree huggers like myself.