Advice on Research Communications Skills
Great researchers are great communicators. This page provides some resources to help you develop your communication skills.
- How to read a paper. S. Keshav. Note: The general principles here are very useful (read a paper in several iterations of increasing depth depending upon your objectives and interest). However, the amount of time it may take you to read a paper will vary greatly depending on the paper and the area. Assuming you can understand a paper deeply in just a few hours may be unrealistic for some papers in some areas. It may take you days or weeks. Do not get discouraged if it takes you more time than suggested here.
- Go to Princeton colloquia, job talks, area meetings, general exams, pre-FPOs and FPOs. Think about what speakers in each context are doing well (or not so well) to communicate their content effectively and memorably.
- How to give a great research talk. Simon Peyton Jones.
- Presenting a technical talk. Nick Feamster and Alex Gray.
General Advice & Courses
- Read more. Of anything that is well written. Doing so improves your vocabulary and exposes you to varied sentence structures. For instance, subscribe to National Geographic or the Atlantic. Start immediately. Improving communication skills is a long-term project and it pays to start immediately.
- Take one of Princeton's writing seminars for graduate students when you have time.
- Join one of Princeton's dissertation boot camps (which doesn't just have to be for writing your thesis, but could be for writing a paper)
- Take Stanford's free online writing class for the sciences when you have time.
- The science of scientific writing. George Gopen and Judith Swan.
- Writer's block is not a struggle with your writing but with your thinking. Write your way out of it.
- Story-telling 101: Writing tips for academics. Nick Feamster and Alex Gray.
- Dave Patterson's writing advice. Dave Patterson.
- How to write a great research paper. Simon Peyton Jones.
- The curse of knowledge. Benjamin Pierce.
- How to give a bad talk (circa 1983). Dave Patterson.
- Style: Toward clarity and grace. Joseph Williams.
- How to write a lot: A practical guide to academic writing. Paul Silvia.
- The elements of style. William Strunk and E. B. White.
- Writing for computer science. Justin Zobel.