Dr. Herman wrote a guide for the perplexed graduate student doing research. It is a piece of article I think that every graduate student should read.
“Supervised research is a symbiotic (although not symmetric) interaction between student and adviser.”
Here I copied the laws:
The laws of Herman
- Your vacation begins after you defend your thesis.
- In research, what matters is what is right, and not who is right.
- In research and other matters, your adviser is always right, most of the time.
- Act as if your adviser is always right, almost all the time.
- If you think you are right and you are able to convince your adviser, your adviser will be very happy.
- yes, very happy!
- Your productivity varies as (effective productive time spent per day)^1000.
- Your productivity also varies as 1/(your delay in analysis acquired data)^1000.
- Take data today as if you know that your equipment will break tomorrow.
- If you would be unhappy to lose your data, make a permanent back-up copy of them within five minutes of acquiring them.
- see here for a large data back-up plan
- Your adviser expects your productivity to be low initially and then to be above threshold after a year or so.
- You must become a bigger expert in your thesis area than your adviser.
- When you cooperate, your adviser’s blood pressure will go down a bit.
- When you don’t cooperate, your adviser’s blood pressure either goes up a bit or it goes down to zero.
- Usually, only when you can publish your results are they good enough to be part of your thesis.
- The higher the quality, first, and quantity, second, of your publishable work, the better your thesis.
- Remember, it is your thesis.
You (!)need to do it.
- Your adviser wants you to become famous, so that he/she can finally become famous.
- Your adviser wants to write the best letter of recommendation for you that is possible.
- Whatever is best for you is best for your adviser.
- Whatever is best for your adviser is best for you.