Getting a PhD: An Action Plan to Help Manage Your Research, Your Supervisor and Your Project

Getting a PhD: An Action Plan to Help Manage Your Research, Your Supervisor and Your Project

Getting a PhD: An Action Plan to Help Manage Your Research, Your Supervisor and Your Project

Getting a PhD: An Action Plan to Help Manage Your Research, Your Supervisor and Your Project

Synopsis

This highly practical book provides a workable action plan to help students get a PhD. Illustrated throughout with examples from a wide range of academic disciplines the book includes exercises and points for reflection as well as info on research.

Excerpt

In many cases, the only difference between a new PhD student and a final year undergraduate student is a three-month summer break. Yet, compared to undergraduate students, PhD students face very different challenges and responsibilities, different skills requirements and higher standards of performance. No one is born knowing these things - so where do research students find such information?

Many institutions and supervisors provide excellent induction, support and training for research students; sadly, many do not. Even then, most training efforts tend to focus on research methods. Therefore, in many cases, it seems that students find their information (and misinformation) about strategically important issues in their doctoral project via what may be described as a form of social osmosis that derives from other research students, supervisors, research staff, and a variety of fragmented sources!

Experience is a valuable teacher, and an important view of the doctoral research project is that it is an opportunity to learn the craft of research, which relies strongly on learning by doing, and sometimes involves learning from mistakes. I agree with this view; some mistakes offer a very rewarding learning experience and are an important element of research training and practice. Nevertheless, other mistakes offer a minor learning experience and, too often, research students receive hard lessons from needless mistakes that could easily be avoided. For the sake of a lack of a little relevant information, these needless mistakes are repeated anew by successive cohorts of research students. In addition to being intensely frustrating, this is also a costly learning process in terms of finance, time and research quality.

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