Research Advice

Here is a collection of advice from different people about how to do good research and write good papers.

From Simon Peyton Jones

In his talk “How to write a great research paper” they discuss many points which I think about when writing a paper such as:

  • Don’t wait, write.
  • State your contributions
  • Giving credit to others does not diminish the credit you get from your paper
  • Introduce the problem, and your idea, using examples and only then present the general case. Explain it as if you were speaking to someone using a whiteboard

From Ross Girshick

“Show the simplest form of your idea.”

1. Start from a solid baseline, 2. Apply your idea to it, 3. Perform ablations under simple settings.

“What did I learn from your paper?”

A paper should be about a single focused idea or question. “Idea” usually means method; What should I learn? -. Under what conditions does it work? When does it work? If the idea has multiple components, which are the most important? Which implementation details are important?

“Ablations: One Table, One Message”

Example: Mask R-CNN paper. Many tables, one message per table.

“Support all of your claims”

All claims should be supported. By citation or by experiment.

Otherwise qualify the statement. “Intuitively, increasing X is important for Y..” This statement is your intuition (not fact), the reviewer may disagree.

“Increasing X may lead to improved Y…” Expresses uncertainty or that some conditions may apply.


From Joseph Paul Cohen

I have common sayings to guide research projects. If you work with me you will probably hear one of these.

+ Always work on the MVP (Minimum Viable Paper)

+ When writing a paper start with the first approximation, an outline, and refine it iteratively.

+ Test your code by breaking it