I’ve mostly finished my SURF. By this, I mean that I’m no longer being paid. The thing about research projects, I’ve discovered, is that they never really end. You can always do more experiments, or refine your data, or go in a new and different direction. It’s one of the jobs of the professor in charge to call a stop to the work once there’s enough to publish.
Last year, I waited until the last minute to write my SURF Paper and presentation. As a result, they sucked. This year, I started much, much earlier. I’m already on my third draft of my paper and I’m starting to work on my PowerPoint presentation.
Making the presentation is much easier if you already have a well organized paper. A good paper is a lot like a good story. You hook the reader with a general overview, then you step the reader through the various parts of your experiment. At the end, you sum it all up and tell the reader why the stuff you just talked about is important. It’s the same for the presentation, except you have to back up a little bit so that people can follow along at a glance. Nobody likes reading pages of equations in a research paper, but they will if it’s important to the research. Absolutely nobody will read pages of equations in a PowerPoint presentation!
I sent my draft off to all my mentors and professors for their opinions. They had very constructive suggestions. They’ve suggested organizational changes, clarifications, corrections, focus changes, section expansions, and (embarrassingly) spelling corrections in their names. Now, I just have to buckle down and do it!
This year, I’m using LaTex to do all my reports and papers. It really makes them look professional. I downloaded an IEEE style file, so my paper should conform to that style.
Here’s a sneak peek of my paper: