I’ve used the time-honoured tradition of handwritten notes for my research, even when I started to do a computer science degree. When I was a physics student keeping a research notebook was the recommendation of my professors. Our course lab notebooks were even graded at the end of the term!
My same professors insisted that I use a pen since preserving mistakes tells an important story about the research, one that could be erased too easily in a text editor. A lab notebook is also safe to bring near strong magnets: good for noting an MRI experiment’s configuration. Besides, I’ve always enjoyed the physical engagement of writing cursively in a journal.
In the computer science world an old fashioned notebook saves on screen real estate, is portable between multiple computers, allows quick easy diagrams, writing equations, etc. However, it isn’t very sharable, and is susceptible to rain, loss, and is another thing to pack and move (a prudent consideration for a student).
This blog is a space for me to share the more compelling pages I’d keep in a notebook. Excerpts of my projects and research that are interesting and possibly helpful for others. Opening my work up here also gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and to give suggestions.
Choosing what to share is challenging, and is the main reason why I didn’t start this blog at the beginning of my masters. If I plan on publishing, should I be making that research available as I’m working on it? I think there is a balance to be found. When reading posts from researchers in my field the most useful information was never specifically about my project, as research topics should be unique and without a guide. The most helpful posts were how to solve general shared problems, like computing the solution for a particular form of Poisson’s equation that is widely used.
On the other hand, now that I’m done my masters degree, I can work on some projects that aren’t destined for publication or profit, without feeling guilt for neglecting my research. That is content I also want to make public here as well.