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This page introduces the modules chosen for the collection, Becoming a Professional Scholar while in Graduate Student

Becoming a professional scholar while in graduate school

One of the most thrilling and challenging parts of graduate school is developing a professional identity as a scholar with demonstrable expertise in a special field. As an undergraduates, students begin as novices, gain an overview of their major, and some depth of knowledge about the field’s major methods, historical contributions, and problem-solving approaches. As graduate students, candidates need to develop an identity as a professional scholar: a person who can

  • place particular issues in the context of past and current work,
  • explain those issues’ importance and the methods that have been used to address them,
  • summarize the findings of key research efforts, and
  • undertake research, individually or with others, on specific problems or questions that will advance the field’s knowledge and possibly benefit society or industry through particular applications.

While this exciting end-point of graduate school is easy to visualize, the road ahead can be daunting. The modules that follow in this collection can help graduate students (and the people advising them) in achieving just this sort of expert identity. Several of these are quite brief.

Reading as a professional scholar

To develop a personal sense of the important work that has gone on in one’s field, one must learn to read published articles and glean the important aspects in a memorable form. So many new articles are published every day that a professional scholar cannot re-read entire articles again and again. A convenient management tool for one’s reading, such as the free Zotero (www.zotero.org) or the commercially available EndNote (http://www.endnote.com) will help a student develop a collection of notes, summaries, and electronic documents or images. However, these software tools cannot tell the reader what is important to note and remember. The module, How to Read a Scientific Article (m15912), will teach readers what to look for, jot down, and summarize. The template at the end of the model can be used in a print version or used in conjunction with the bibliographic software mentioned above. Imagine the template as the spyglass in a detective’s hand. It helps the reader detect those clues in the article that matter in the investigations of that particular field.

Reporting scholarly work

A graduate student’s first scholarly work may consist of writing papers in graduate courses, laboratory reports, or participating as a co-author in a research article for publication. However, a fairly large number of graduate students do not prepare many written accounts of their work until they are asked to propose a thesis or dissertation. This requirement can cause dismay just because it seems unfamiliar. The module, Thesis Overview (m15923), explains what goes in a thesis, what questions it must answer, and how to plan for a successful thesis. Another module, Ten Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Thesis (m16583), suggests how to avoid the most common mistakes graduate students make when attempting a thesis or other major writing project. Brief Introduction to Technical Style (m16059) explains the keys to writing energetic, readable prose in spite of complex subject matter. This module will help graduate students in other fields as well. Finally, fifteen basic editing tips are summarized in Tips on Polishing a Report (m16600).

In a few universities, a report or a combination of reports substitutes for a master’s thesis. In such reports the objective is still to demonstrate the candidate’s contribution to new knowledge in the field, even though the work may not resemble traditional research. For those asked to prepare this kind of evidence of professional identity, consult Demonstrating Your Knowledge and Contributions to a Profession: The Management Report and the Technical Report for the Professional Science Master’s Degree (m16582).

Resources for coaching others

Many graduate students are asked to be responsible for some undergraduate instruction while they are in graduate school. Three basic resources can help graduate students mentor undergraduate writers. These are available on the Connexions Web Site (http://cnx.org). Writing Module Three: Five Essential Parts of Argument (m17224), summarizes the basic moves of argument; the Manual for Writing Mentors (m15909) is a training manual (with student writing examples) to practice evaluating student writing; and Graduate Seminar Mentoring (m16591) explains how a graduate student can mentor small groups of undergraduates or graduate students on their written or oral assignments.

Each of the resources mentioned in this collection was prepared by one or more members of the Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication at Rice University (2008): Dr. Janice Hewitt, Dr. Mary Purugganan, or Dr. Linda Driskill.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Becoming a professional scholar. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10871/1.2
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