About This Page

* As of August 2014 we are updating this site. Please direct any suggestions or corrections to Jessica Hite (jlhite@indiana.edu) Thanks!

I am compiling a library of published and unpublished resources for graduate students, particularly geared around those in Ecology-Evolution-Behavior style departments. These resources are meant to offer advice, but they should be considered as food for thought rather than a recipe for success. With that caveat in mind, I hope that you find these documents useful. If you find anything yourself which might be useful to others, please send it along and I will post it. Again, you may not agree with all of the advice in these documents, or you may not find some articles helpful. Please view everyone's advice with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Request: If you find this webpage useful, or have suggestions/feedback on its content (e.g., certain resources are great/not so great), I would love to hear from you.

Use the icons below to navigate by topic or simply scroll down:

Advice on Being a Graduate Student

  1. John Thompson's "On being a successful student in the sciences" - REQUIRED READING (PDF)
  2. Martin Schwartz's "The importance of stupidity in scientific research" - REQUIRED READING (PDF)
  3. Steve Stearns classic "Modest Advice" article (PDF)
  4. Ray Huey's reply to the Stearns article (PDF)
  5. Phil Acre's "Networking on the Network: a guide to professional skills for PhD students" (HTML)
  6. Isaak and Hubert's BioScience article, "Catalyzing the transition from student to scientist" (PDF)
  7. Hugh Kearns and Maria Gardiner's Nature essay, "The care and nature of your advisor" (PDF)
  8. Carmen Wong's "Preparing for the field season" in BESA (PDF)
  9. Benjamin Zuckerberg's "Overcoming analysis paralysis" in Frontiers in Ecology (PDF)
  10. Cassey and Blackburn's 2003 "Publication rejection among ecologists" in TREE (PDF)
  11. An orals survival kit, by the Chronicle of Higher Ed (HTML)
  12. Lonnie W. Aarssen's "Judging the quality of our research: a self-assessment test" in Web Ecology 2010 (PDF)
  13. National Academy's "On being a scientist: responsible conduct in research" (PDF)
  14. Jason Hong's Advice on graduate school - especially early on in your career (HTML)
  15. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jasonh/advice.html

NFS DDIGS And Grant Writing

  1. David Skelly's 2003 Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer article on writing a successful DDIG (PDF)
  2. Spencer and Leonie's observations of successful and unsuccessful DDIGs (PDF)
  3. Logistics of DDIG submission (mainly for Indiana students) (HTML)
  4. Link to advice on "Broader Impacts" from NSF itself (PDF)
  5. Deneb Karentz's 2006 "Tips for proposal writing" (PDF)
  6. Marissa Baskett's list of funding agencies for ecologists (HTML)
  7. List of grants and fellowships to which Indiana University EEB students have applied (HTML)

Advice on Getting a Job

Faculty jobs: General and getting the interview
  1. Anurag Agrawal's excellent guide (PDF)
  2. Armin Moczek's equally excellent guide (PDF)
  3. Spencer and Leonie's advice on "Making the shortlist" (PDF)
Interviewing
  1. Brian Inouye et al.'s interview guide (2006 BESA), mostly questions to ask during interviews (PDF)
  2. Alan Tessier's thoughts on the socio-intellectual side of interviewing (PDF)
  3. Herried and Full's "How to Survive an Academic Job Interview" in J. of College Science Teaching (PDF)
  4. Herried and Full's "Qualms and questions for an academic job interview" (PDF)
  5. Kathy Cottingham's (Dartmouth) "Questions to ask (and be prepared to answer) at academic job interviews" (PDF)
You have the job, now what?
  1. Bradbury et al.'s "B&B Primer on first job haggling (PDF)
  2. Wohl and Brown's "Negotiating a faculty salary" (PDF)
  3. HHMI's Making the right moves: a practical guide for scientific management for post-docs and new faculty (PDF)
  4. An NCEAS compilation on early career advice (PDF)
  5. Advice on keeping your faculty job from Phil Stoddard at FIU (PDF)
Postdocs:
  1. Bourne and Friedberg's "10 Simple rules for selecting a post-doc" (PDF-2006) (PDF-2007)
  2. HHMI's "Making the right moves: a practical guide for scientific management for post-docs and new faculty" (PDF)
Other kinds of jobs
  1. Slides from a talk by John Shuey, Indiana Nature Conservancy - traits and characteristics of TNC hires (PDF)
  2. Peter Karieva on jobs at TNC (PDF)
  3. Thoughts on academic vs. other types of jobs for PhDs (PDF)
    General:
  1. Phil Acre's "Networking on the Network: a guide to professional skills for PhD students" (HTML)
  2. HHMI's "Making the right moves: a practical guide for scientific management for post-docs and new faculty" (PDF)
  3. "5 things your dissertation director wishes you knew..." (HTML)
    Some thoughts on being a successful ecologist:
  1. Simon Queenborough's detailed review and reflections on time management (HTML)
  2. Simon Queenborough's thoughts on outreach and facebook...does it count ? (HTML)
  3. Simon Queenborough's comments on characteristic of highly cited publications (HTML)

Advice On Good Writing

  1. Simon Queenborough's detailed review and reflections on good writing (HTML)
  2. Josh Schimel's "How to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded" - (the book offers some of the most useful examples and exercises I have found) (HTML)
  3. Ken Lertzman's "Notes on writing papers and theses" (PDF)
  4. Chris Harley et al.'s 2004 "Scientific writing and publishing -- a guide for students" in Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. (PDF)
  5. Jeff Conner and Gary Mittelbach's Tips for scientific writing (PDF)
  6. A how-to guide on scientific writing from Bates College (HTML)
  7. L.B. Railsback's "Comments on good writing and editing", from a geological perspective (HTML)
  8. Good writing from William Wells in JCB (PDF)
  9. Steve Ellner's "Notes on successful theory papers" (PDF)
  10. Greg Demas' "Elements of style in science" (PDF)
  11. Kaj Sand-Jensen's "How to write consistently boring scientific literature" in Oikos (PDF)
  12. Harold Heatwole"s "Plea for scholarly writing" (PDF)
  13. Ronald Hite's "How to give a scientific talk, present a poster, and write a research paper and proposal" (PDF)
  14. George Orwell's classic on politics and the English language (PDF)
  15. Paul Silvia's "How to Write a Lot: A practical guide to productive academic writing" (no PDF available yet)

Advice on Good Talks and Posters

Talks:
  1. Lynda Delph and Curt Lively's (Indiana U) "Notes for giving good talks" (PDF)
  2. Kevin Lafferty's "How to give a scientific presentation" (PDF)
  3. Jamie Smith, Judith Myers, and Isla Myer Smith's 2007 "Tips for effective communication in Ecology", in Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. (PDF)
  4. Lawrences Bragg's 1966 "The art of talking about science" in Science (PDF)
  5. Martin Kochy's 2004 "Things that can go wrong with Powerpoint presentations" in Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. (PDF)
  6. John Cairns Jr.'s 1989 "Speaking at length" in BioScience (PDF)
  7. Simon L. Peyton Jones et al.'s 1993 "How to give a good research talk" (PDF)
  8. Mike Dahlin's 2006 "Giving a conference talk" (PDF)
  9. Simon Pickett et al.'s 1991 "Strategy and checklist for effective scientific talks" in Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. (PDF)
  10. Thomas Wolcott's "Mortal sins in oral presentations or How to give a talk if you never want to talk again" (HTML)
  11. The Oceanographic Society's 2005 "Scientifically speaking - tips for preparing and delivering scientific talks and using visual aids" (HTML)
  12. Melissa Hine's "Scientific presentation skills" (PDF)
  13. Stephanie Pfirman et al.'s "How to give a scientific talk" (PDF)
  14. Ronald Hite's "How to give a scientific talk, present a poster, and write a research paper and proposal" (PDF)

A list of more resources selected by the DIALOG group (HTML)

And even more resources on Marissa Baskett's page (HTML)

Posters:
  1. Thomas Wolcott's "Mortal sins in poster presentations or How to give a poster no one remembers" (HTML)
  2. Steven Block's 1996 "Do's and dont's of poster presentation" in Biophysical Journal (PDF)
  3. Collin Purrington's "Advice on designing scientific posters" (HTML)
  4. Ronald Hite's "How to give a scientific talk, present a poster, and write a research paper and proposal" (PDF)

Guides/Thoughts on Authorship

Authorship:
  1. Carlos Galindo-Leal's article in the Bulletin of the ESA (PDF)
  2. Jake Weltzin et al.'s 2006 article on authorship in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (PDF)
  3. Kathy Barker's 2002 "Accountability and authorship" in Science (HMTL)
  4. James Wilson's 2002 "Responsible Authorship and Peer Review" in Science and Engineering Ethics (PDF)
  5. Dale Benos et al.'s 2005 "Ethics and scientific publication" in Adv. Physiol. Edu (PDF)
Reviewing:
  1. Waser et al. "How to write an effective review" in BioScience (PDF)
  2. Moher and Jahad "How to review a manuscript" (PDF)
  3. Wager et al. "How to survive peer review" (PDF)
  4. James Wilson's 2002 "Responsible authorship and peer review" in Science and Engineering Ethics (PDF)
  5. Benos et al.'s 2003 "How to review a paper" in Adv. Physiol. Edu (PDF)
  6. Laura Roberts et al.'s 2004 "How to review a manuscript: a "down-to-earth" approach" in Academic Psychiatry (PDF)
Publishing your papers:
  1. Lonnie W. Aarssen's "Judging the quality of our research: a self-assessment test" in Web Ecology 2010 (PDF)
  2. Cassey and Blackburn's 2003 "Publication rejection among ecologists" in TREE (PDF)

Teaching

  1. Karen Wilson and Stephanie Hampton's 2004 "Ecology teaching tips for first-year professors" in Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. (PDF)
  2. Stamp and Amstrong on "Using the Power of Story" in Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer. (PDF)

Other People's Pages for

Graduate Students

  1. Marissa Baskett's (UCSD) fabulous resource page - you must visit this page (HTML)
  2. Dan Horn's warehouse of general advice from Ann Arbor - some targeted more for Michigan students (HTML)
  3. Ronald T. Azuma's guide for computer science grads (still great stuff for Biologists) (HTML)