This document attempts to provide useful advice for graduate students, particularly Ph.D. students, just starting out on their research careers at the Autonomous Networks Research Group, Dept. of Electrical Engineering-Systems, USC. It should also be useful for graduate students at other institutions working in similar research areas.
Students with no prior experience often have several misconceptions about the nature of research. For example, they may think that doing research is similar to or requires the same skill as acing courses; that research projects are like homework sets - the advisor will assign well-formulated problems and provide the student with the tools to solve them. Hopefully, this document will help clear some of these misconceptions and help them get started on the right foot in their research.
Many of the pointers here may seem like common sense, but as they say, common sense is by no means common… and very little of it is taught in a classroom.
This is an active document, and as such is subject to modifications. To begin with, I have just listed my main points under each heading. I will be working to convert this into a coherent narrative over the course of the next couple of months.