"How to Do Great Research" Course for Ph.D. Students

View the Project on GitHub noise-lab/research-course

How to Do Great Research

We (Professors Nick Feamster and Alex Gray) created a course as a resource for advice on research and creativity methods and techniques for Ph.D. students. We originally created the material as part of a course offering at Georgia Tech (read on for the history).  

The intended audience for this site is Ph.D. students in computer science programs, but many of the concepts that we present on this site may also apply to other disciplines.


Much of this material in this course is available in article format on my Great Research blog. Links to specific topics are included below.

Philipp Winter’s Research Power Tools is also an excellent read and is available online, as well.


We have designed this material to fit into a one-term course. Here is a schedule for how a course can organize topics, readings, and the assignments below.


The material we have provided will prepare you to perform great research in computer science, regardless of the area you ultimately choose to pursue for your Ph.D. The material should:


As part of the course we created, we developed several exercises to complete to help better develop your research toolbox:

We also have developed several mini-exercises that should be practically useful for many Ph.D. students:


The course also has two projects:


The material that we have provided on this site is based on a class that was designed by Professors Nick Feamster and Alex Gray from Fall 2006 through Fall 2010 at Georgia Tech.

We have learned a lot from these course offerings.  We have distilled many of our insights and lessons from teaching this course in an ACM SIGCSE paper.  

Various aspects of this course have been used and replicated at universities around the world.  We have made the material from the course available to others for the benefit of both computer science Ph.D. students and others who might wish to teach a similar course.

You can read more about the course background here.


Creative Commons License
How to Do Great Research by Nick Feamster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.