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The Pareto Principle and Literature Review

Why Your Paper Will Probably Never Be Cited

This is Part II of our Literature Review series. Part I: How to Judge Impact Factors lays the foundation for the focus of this post. If not you’re already familar with accessing impact factors for journals and researchers, give it a quick watch (it’s only 5 minutes) or read the edited transcript. This video and post will focus on:

How to make sure I found the most appropriate papers (by topic), and enough of them (how much is enough?).

How to Judge Impact Factors

In this short 5-minute video, I cover the essentials of analyzing literature networks and judging the impact and continued relevance of a given paper.

Specifically, I discuss these topics in the context of a recent high-impact publication by Jeremy England at MIT:

The Importance of Mentors

I defended my thesis and graduated with my PhD in 2013. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work: many blind alleys in the research process, lost weekends, and general sacrifice of well-being. It’s a price that all PhD students pay to some extent. My mentors played an essential role in my success.

I Love Mentors

What did I do when my research got stuck in one of those blind alleys? I’d send an email to someone on this list, a curated list of mentors I acquired during my PhD. My advisor, my fellow peers, researchers I met at conferences: they came from a number of places. When I needed advice on a critical decision about my work, career path? I’d send an email to someone on that list.

All of my mentors were helpful, but there were some game-changing mentors. If you’re lucky, one of these is your PhD advisor. I had the pleasure of working with three amazing advisors during my BS, MS and PhD work. They had several common traits:

  • Extremely competent in technical knowledge (something you can grantee every advisor has).
  • Balance of mentorship and support, with the goal to produce independent researchers.

While advisors have technical competency, faculty hiring sometimes overvalues it at the expense of good mentorship.

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