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Starting off research in grad school

  1. Aug 31, 2013 #1
    I'm starting off grad school this fall. My adviser mailed me some published papers that have been written by our group. I've been through them, and although I understand the basic idea, I don't understand many of the formulas and theories used.
    Is this normal? Usually, how do people start off research in grad school? What is expected from me in terms of publications?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2013 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    You shouldn't be asking us what is expected of you: you should be asking your advisor.
  4. Aug 31, 2013 #3


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    Yes, it's normal not to understand the details of papers in a field you're new to. The trick, really, is to use that as a starting point and go and search for review articles that will help to ground you in the field. These can then serve as a basis for dialogue between you and your supervisor when you meet.

    Expectations will vary from place to place. In the systems I've had experience with the typical model is to start with coursework for a year. During this time you're also expected to do background reading in your field, chose a supervisor and a project. In most cases you don't really dive into the research side of things until you're done with courses, but then... research is your full-time job.

    As far as publications (and other expectations such as hours, conference attendance, etc.) go, this is something you will establish with your supervisor (preferably sooner rather than later). It can vary. In my field, in my program we expect to see roughly three publications for a PhD.
  5. Aug 31, 2013 #4
    Thanks Choppy...that's some really good insight!
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