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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

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
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
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
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
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
How can I make nanorobot?
Lily
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
how can I make nanorobot?
Lily
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
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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