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Research Proposals

Research Proposals

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Research Proposals

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  1. Research Proposals Computer Science Research Practicum Fall 2012 Andrew Rosenberg

  2. Proposals • Who is the audience? • What is the purpose? • What are some standard and useful structures?

  3. Who is the audience for a research proposal? • Family and friends • A boss • Other administrators • A potential client • A potential funding agency • A professor/advisor • A colleague

  4. What is a proposal? • A description of what you plan to do. • The length, and required detail vary by audience.

  5. What is the purpose of a proposal? • Communicate your plans. • Advocate for your effort • Compete against other proposals for limited resources • Gather feedback • Clarify your thoughts.

  6. What should a proposal do? • Motivate the problem • Motivate your solution

  7. Common structure of a research proposal • Abstract • Introduction • Related Work • Pilot Studies and Previous Work • Proposed Effort • Previous Successes • Conclusion • *References and Appendices

  8. Abstract • An “abstract” is an high-level summary of the proposal. • Maximum 1 page. • Minimum 1 paragraph. • It lacks many details. • Summarizes the major themes. • Motivate the problem. • Motivate your answer.

  9. Example Abstract The Research Practicum class has traditionally left students unprepared for PhD programs. There is a need to train graduating Master’s students in fundamental research skills including but not limited to: design and implementation of experiments, presentation and writing skills. The proposed 12-week course will address this gap through hands on lectures. Students who take this course will have a significant advantage and important skill set should they continue in their academic careers into research in computer science.

  10. Introduction • The introduction lays out the problem. • What is your research addressing? • Why is it a problem? • What are you going to do? (very brief) • What will solving this problem accomplish? • Convince your reader that there is a need for this research, or other effort. • Be honest, but you don’t need to point out possible risk at this point.

  11. Example Introduction The Research Practicum class has traditionally left students unprepared for PhD study. While it has been a capstone course for many years, our graduating students who have continued on to PhD study have reported that they are untrained in basic research skills. They don’t have the hands on experience in the mechanics of executing, writing and presenting research. One student reports, “I didn’t know where to begin, everyone else knew how to give a presentation, and I really never had”. The CS department has a capstone course on the curriculum, yet it is not sufficiently training students in the skills that they will need moving forward. The proposed course will address this skills gap by providing hands on experience in three areas. 1) experimental design and execution 2) writing of proposals and technical reports 3) preparation and delivery of oral presentations With training in these core areas, our students will be well prepared for successful academic careers to an unprecedented degree.

  12. Related Work • What have other people done on thistopic? • How doesit relate to yourproposedwork? • Whereisitstilllacking? • This can help motivateyour solution.

  13. Example Related Work The Research Practicum class has been taught many times before. In these courses, experimental design and execution has been highlighted. Students got hands on experience in the practice of research in computer science. For example, in Fall 2010, Prof. X had all of the enrolled students work together to improve speech recognition for non-native speakers. This experience gave students a unique experience of the realities of doing cutting edge research. However, students did not need to write a report on their efforts. At XYZ University, there is coursework similar to the one I am proposing to teach. At this university, each of these skills are taught in 4-week courses by the Engineering school. Students do not get credit for these courses, and participation is optional. This limits the enrollment and impact of these courses.

  14. Pilot Studies and Previous Work • Have you done any work previously that relates to the proposed effort? • What are the results of this research? • Small applications serve as a proof-of-concept. • More comprehensive work can serve as a testimony of your ability to execute the proposed work.

  15. Example Previous Work Prof. Rosenberg has taught 11 courses in the CS department at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. In each of the Machine Learning and Spoken Language Processing courses, oral presentations and research projects have been part of the syllabus. Prof. Rosenberg has informally advised dozens of students on presentation and paper writing skills. He has written over 30 peer-reviewed papers. He has given oral and poster presentations at international world-class conferences including: NAACL, EMNLP, and Interspeech. He has given invited talks at ETS, AT&T, USC.

  16. Proposed Effort • Get into the details of what you propose to do. • Be as explicit as possible, despite the fact that the work isn’t done yet. • A detailed plan will give the reader confidence that you know what you are doing.

  17. Example Plan In this section, we lay outline the coursework for the Fall 2012 Research Practicum course. A week-by-week syllabus will serve as a backbone for this description highlighting the skills that will be covered, activities and any homework assignments. Week 1 – Defining Computer Science and Research Week 2 – Numerical Skills Week 3 – Evaluation and Machine Learning Week 4 – Research Proposals … In addition to this syllabus, guest lecturers will be invited to address the course. This will provide insight into the research process from people who are actively engaged in it.s

  18. Previous Successes • This allows you to taut your own accomplishments. • This motivates youas the person who should do this work. • What have you done elsewherethatis relevant to the success of thisproject. • This isdifferentfrompriorwork. Here the workdoesn’tneed to bedirectly relevant.

  19. Example Previous successes Prof. Rosenberg has been an active member of the Queens College Computer Science Department faculty since joining in Fall 2009. He is committed to fostering research in computer science at Queens College and CUNY in general. Prof. Rosenberg’s Speech Lab has successfully secured funding from NSF, DARPA, Air Force, and IARPA. In addition to establishing this research lab, Prof. Rosenberg has mentored 5 undergraduate and master’s students through independent studies. He has also sat on the Graduate Academic committee at Queens College and the Executive Board of the CS program at the Graduate Center.

  20. Conclusion • Tie everything together by summarizing the content. • A conclusion is often like the introduction or abstract. • Avoid bringing up new ideas in the conclusion. • Avoid “In conclusion,”.

  21. Example Conclusion

  22. References and Appendices • Any papers or work that you have referenced in the writing should be included in a References section. • There are many valid and useful reference formats, but be consistent. • sometimes the audience will expect a particular format. • If there are details which are too cumbersome or tangentially important, these can be put in an appendix.

  23. Example References • A. Rosenberg, “Why I teach”, Journal of non-existent stuff, Vol 1, No. 1, 112-112 • A. Rosenberg, “Symbolic and Direct Modeling of Prosody for Classifying Speaking Style and Nativeness” Interspeech 2012 • etc.

  24. Example Appendix In this appendix, we include student feedback from Prof. Rosenberg’s previous courses. “…not that bad…” “I’m not sure that I learned anything, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t get any dumber by taking Algorithms with Prof. Rosenberg.” “Snoozefest”