Reflections on Scientific Research


Arumoy Shome


December 13, 2021


Reflections on the scientific process and what constitutes being a good researcher.

I have been working as a researcher for several months now and have been working towards my first publication for the past few weeks. I have a few points of reflection on the scientific process and what constitutes as a good researcher.


This has been a challenge for me so far. I started my PhD with a literature review and during those initial 3 months I read a lot of papers. However once the analysis started, the reading dropped down to 0 papers per week. I am not sure if it is possible to keep a consistent reading practise, however reading at least 1 or 2 papers per week is ideal. Reading not only helps to be inspired and spark new ideas, but also makes for good content for the related work & discussion section of your paper. Moving forward, I want to review recent publications from the top journals of my field, and try to reflect upon what they did well, what I will do differently and identify interesting intersections between their topic and my research interests.


I started to use org-mode at the start of my PhD, capture and organize my thoughts and ideas. This worked out well because when the time came to start writing, I already had a pretty good outline for the paper ready. One thing that was still a challenge (at least for the first week of writing) is that the process itself was very slow. I don’t think this can be helped/improved. This is simply my process and all I can really do it work through it. Moving forward, I will try to plan out content for the report throughout the project.

Paper Discovery

This is relevant for reading & writing. I think my current system works really well (see scientific paper discovery).

Experimentation & Methodology

This could have been planned better. While writing the report I realised several loops & flaws in my data collection and methodology. My supervisor has recommended a book (see reference below) which I will read prior to our next project. Moving forward, I will also try to think about the dataset and its design earlier.

General Thoughts & Remarks

I am curious to understand how my supervisor was able to see the potential in the idea we ended up pursuing versus the ones I proposed. Is this something that comes with experience? How can I spot a good (scientific research) idea?

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