Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Importance of Good Literature Searches and Reading to Solving Tough Technical Problems in Microfab

You cannot buy knowledge of the prior art, when undertaking difficult projects involving innovation or process problem solving.

You have to learn learn by reading patents, articles and dissertations as much as practical, where possible.

I have seen efforts of commercial works, large and small - diluted significantly by not adequately reading the literature when it was very much warranted. Yet, if you go about reading the literature in the wrong way, you will get early fatigue and not read enough articles.

By this I mean reading initially for too much detail / depth of the article.

Critical is that one has to read for techniques and methods and observation of phenomena, not as one might read line by line if you were a theorist. When a particular article is found that is especially relevant or useful, then dive in and read in much greater depth and slower speed until you feel you have gleaned all that you might benefit from.

Scanning literature quickly is an art, and must be done to begin to develop a sense as to the truth of what is being said, or its practicality or relevance, faster than one would take the time to read a publication line by line, tediously checking all the mathematics, and every sentence or phrase.

Once you read enough articles on a particular subject, you have hopefully gained perspective and the ability to apply some limited judgement of the relative merits of different methods and strategies in innovation, in the domain you wish to persue device development in.

Nothing beats good preparation.

( note - originally 1st posted in mid 2005)


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