Where Grad Students Should Go to Get Ideas

Most graduate students are convinced that the way you get ideas is to read journal articles. But in my experience journals really aren’t a very good source of original ideas. You can get lots of things from journal articles – technique, insight, even truth. But most of the time you will only get someone else’s ideas. True, they may leave a few loose ends lying around that you can pick up on, but the reason they are loose is probably that the author thought about them a while and couldn’t figure out what to do with them or decided they were too tedious to bother with – which means that it is likely that you will find yourself in the same situation. My suggestion is rather different: I think that you should look for your ideas outside the academic journals – in newspapers, in magazines, in conversations, and in TV and radio programs.

—Hal Varian


Related post: Invisible Literature.

3 responses to “Where Grad Students Should Go to Get Ideas

  1. And herein lies the Matt Thomas brilliance


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