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PhD Student Expectations

In addition to the general expectations, PhD students are expected to:

  • Prepare and submit 1-2 conference papers per year,

  • Prepare and submit 1 journal paper per year,

  • Participate in the training and mentoring of the undergraduates, MS students, and beginning PhD students in the group.

  • Refer to Student Resources for resources for manuscript preparation.

Of course, the publication rate of beginning students may be somewhat lower.

MS Student Expectations

In addition to the general expectations, MS students are expected to:

  • Prepare and submit 1-2 conference papers during their MS studies,

  • Prepare and submit 1 journal paper during their MS studies,

  • Participate in the training and mentoring of the undergraduates and beginning grad students in the group.

  • Refer to Student Resources for resources for manuscript preparation.

Undergrad Student Expectations

In addition to the general expectations, undergraduate students are expected to:

  • Prepare and submit at least 1 conference paper, and ideally one (1) journal paper, during the time they work with the group,

  • Refer to Student Resources for resources for manuscript preparation. Dr. Byrd will assist with manuscript preparation.

  • Spend at least 8-10 hours per week on research activities,

  • Plan on working with the group for at least 2 semesters.

  • Anticipated Deliverables (at a minimum):

    • First semester: Abstract

    • Second semester: co-Author a paper with Dr. Byrd, submit paper to JPUR: Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research

    • Create a poster detailing your work.


Undergraduates should cc' their graduate student or postdoc mentor when they send me their weekly report. If they are reporting on something in addition to their research, e.g., courses or other personal information, they should send that to me separately.

Additionally, for undergraduates who are on payroll, you are expected to be physically present in the lab for all the hours for which you will be requesting payment. Of course, as with all students, you will spend more time on research than you are paid for since it is not a job but your education, and certainly some of this time you may not always be in the lab. Also, in your weekly report you should note how many hours you worked each day. Failure to send weekly reports will result in a delay in the required signature for your bi-weekly pay.

(adapted from cra.org)

What to Expect from me:


My role as your advisor is not only to help you with your research, but also to advise and assist you in your academic and career objectives. My overall goal is for you to be successful in achieving your career and life objectives. You need to share those with me on a regular basis so that we can plan for and work toward that from the beginning. At least on a semesterly basis, I will set research goals with each student. This will include goals, objectives, and implementation/publication plans for the next period. Students are encouraged to complete the Self Assessment and Individual Development Plans (provided by Dr.Byrd).

While you are a student, I will assist you in planning your course work and help you to plan for and obtain internships. You should consult with me about your planned coursework prior to each semester. You should also consult me prior to applying for any internship so that I can help you plan for the most successful outcome.

When it comes time for you to plan for the next step in your career, I will help you decide what options are best for you given your career goals. I will review your application materials and help you strengthen them prior to submitting them anywhere. Finally, I will help you make sure that your application gets the proper attention.

You must seek my counsel prior to applying for any position (internship or full-time) and get my input on your CV/resume and other application materials; this is to help ensure your application presents you and also our group/lab in the best light. If you make a poor first impression, it will be very hard to correct it later and it will also hurt the future chances of other students in our group.

If you are working on a document for publication or conference submission, you should plan to send the document to me for review and feedback before submitting. You should also have the document ready for review in time to review the document and give you feed back. Typically 1 to 2 weeks. This does not apply to thesis and dissertations (you should allow for 3 to 4 weeks for me to review thesis and dissertation documents.

What I Expect from you:


General Individual Responsibilities and Expectations:

Individual initiative and the ability, desire, and willingness to suggest new ideas are the most important characteristics that I look for in a student. Just as important, however, is the ability to follow through on these ideas in a timely manner, e.g., using good judgement to determine when a research approach should be pursued, abandoned, or scaled back

Every student should be hardworking, conscientious, and understand that researchers hours are not only 9-5 Monday through Friday. You are expected to make regular, daily progress on your research: it is not acceptable to work in bursts. When a deadline is faced (e.g., paper submissions, demos, etc.), every student is expected to put forth the extra effort needed to meet that deadline.

This is a research group, and as such, most of the problems we deal with do not have already known, well-defined solutions. Students are expected to take the initiative and individually research the problems we are studying (e.g., identifying and reading relevant research papers, finding relevant conferences, etc.). All such information should be shared with the entire group.

General Responsibilities and Expectations for the Group:

The accomplishments and reputation of the group reflect on everyone in the group, and everyone is expected to contribute. By working together as a group, we can have a much larger impact and accomplish much more than we can as a disjoint set of individuals. Therefore, every student that joins our group is expected to be a contributing member of the group and to strive for excellence in every effort undertaken by and for the research group.

Some specific expectations and logistics:

  1. All students need to email me a weekly report describing their progress that week and their plans for the coming week. The report should also note any seminars you attended and any thoughts you had on them, and similarly for papers that you have read. For students that a retaking courses, it should also include an update on them, e.g., major assignments due, exams, etc. Reports should be emailed as plain text messages inserted in the body of the email messages (e.g., not as PDF or WORD files) and are due by the end of the day on Saturday so that I can read them on Sunday and think about them in advance of our individual meeting that week. Typically, I will not reply to your report but we will discuss in person when we meet.

  2. All students should be in the lab 10-6 Mon-Fri except when they are in class or at lunch. This facilitates impromptu meetings and allows you to give/receive help to/from the others in the group. If you will be absent during this time, you need to email Dr. Byrd in advance

  3. Attendance, active participation, and occasional presentation (both of individual research and general interest work) at group meetings is mandatory.

  4. All graduate students should be constantly searching for research papers relevant to their work, and they should share them with the group as appropriate. As a rule of thumb, you should be reading 1-2 papers a week on your own, i.e., that are not required by class, reviewing, etc.

  5. Attending research seminars, both in and outside your specific research discipline, is an important part of your education. Attendance at seminars organized by or for our research group is mandatory(e.g., Byrd Vis Lab seminars). In addition, each student should take the initiative in identifying and attending other seminars; when you find interesting seminars, inform the group about them. Also, you should plan on attending the departmental graduate seminars(pending). As a rule of thumb, you should try to attend at least one seminar a week that is not one of our group seminars.

  6. Every student will be required to do some of the service work related to the group, e.g.,contribute to the Laboratory Newsletter, web support, seminar coordinator, assist with BPViz Workshop, etc. This is not an option, and excellence and timeliness is required on all such tasks.

  7. Every student should do their part to maintain their personal webpage and their research project webpage(s). This is important because the web is an important means of disseminating our work and helps build our group reputation. Each student is responsible to be sure that all their publications are in the publications database and that the information is complete and accurate. The pages should follow the lab/group standards and guidelines, which are documented for the most part in the intranet

  8. Assistantships will be renewed on a semester-by-semester basis dependent upon sufficient research progress and the
    availability of funds

  9. Every student should consult with me before setting their course schedule each semester, and they should submit their grades to me at the end of every semester

  10. Every student should read and respond to, if necessary, their email daily as that is my best method of communication with you.

Data Management Procedures


Every student working in the Byrd Vis Lab has access to the Byrd Vis Lab drive and a folder with his/her name on it. If you are a graduate student, then you will find your folder inside the Grad_Research folder. If you are an undergraduate then you will find your folder inside the Ugrad_Research folder. Although you will see multiple folders on the shared drive, you only have access to your folder.

All research related files, documents, etc., should be saved in your folder on the ByrdVisLab Drive. All files stored in this drive will be backed up nightly. Any files not saved to your drive space will NOT be backed up. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure your research related files are saved to your folder.

This space is for research related files and should be used for research related files, not class projects, assignments, etc. Any files stored in the drive that are unrelated to research are subject to deletion without notification.

Grounds for Student Dismissal from The Byrd Lab

  • Failure to meet expectations described above

  • Failure to follow established protocols for research in the lab (that includes but is not limited to): failure to follow data management procedures, loss of data files due to failure to follow lab procedure and data management procedures

  • Failure to show up for scheduled meetings and/or consistently being late for meetings

  • Being unprofessional and disrespectful to Dr. Byrd and any member of the group



If you have not already done so, read and become familiar the Student Expectations and Lab Roles & Expectations for The Byrd Lab.



How to write an abstract

7 steps to publishing in a scientific journal, Checklist (and pitfalls to avoid)

5 secrets to surviving (and thriving in) a PhD program, A PhD candidate shares the lessons he learned preparing his dissertation and publishing research along the way.

The following articles refer to how to get published in an international journal, but the points made can be applied to any manuscript preparation:

Six things to do before writing your manuscript  (Part 1)

11 steps to structuring a science paper editors will take seriously  (Part 2)

Readings for the Novice Researcher:


All students doing research in the Byrd Visualization Lab are required to read the following articles. This list of required readings, on approaches to doing research will grow over time.

  • Ellis, T. J., & Levy, Y. (2008). Framework of problem-based research: A guide for novice researchers on the development of a research-worthy problem. Informing Science, 11.

  • Levy, Y., & Ellis, T. J. (2006). A systems approach to conduct an effective literature review in support of information systems research. Informing Science, 9.

  • Kurkowski, P. (2007). 7 things you should know about data visualization. EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

  • Educause Learning Initiative. (2010). 7 things you should know about data visualization II.

  • Fekete, J. D., Van Wijk, J. J., Stasko, J. T., & North, C. (2008). The value of information visualization. In Information visualization (pp. 1-18). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.


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