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Showing posts from October, 2012

Getting a PhD: Critical research reading

Welcome to the world of Research, where you must read so much in limited time, and where a thorough review of literature is what differentiates the freshers from the experienced. I appreciate the way Gordon Rugg and Marian Petre put it in their engaging book, The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research:

Initially, a new student/fresher: understands his/her research areareads to discover what is known in this area and gathers this informationis concerned about organizing literature sources
Then the slightly less-new student: understands his/her research topicis able to organise information betteris concerned about identifying the research problem
And as more time goes on, the student: understands his/her research questiongathers information that is relevant to his/her research questionis concerned about identifying what has been said about the research problem
And then close to completion, Mr/Ms Researcher: understands his/her research evidenceaims to discover new information and is capable of critica…

Getting a PhD: Starting strong

First week over...

Since I'm still very new at this, I am basing this first post on advice from supervisors, successful PhD holders, a book, as well as my fly-on-the-wall observations of PhD students (based on a six-month internship I did at the University):

You have to be mentally prepared.

1. Brilliance is not everything. You need to have a determined attitude as you will experience highs and lows in the process- your findings will occasionally disappoint you, and you'll feel stagnant at other points. In fact, the one question I've learned not to ask PhD students is "how is your work going?" But determination and personal interest in the project seems to be enough to keep them going.

2. A PhD involves a lot of independent thinking and working. Detailed work plans and progress reports are your friends.

3. Develop clearly stated research questions to help you produce an original contribution to research- the quickest way to reach your research's conclusion is…

Getting a PhD...

I'm starting my PhD today, and I thought it would be a good idea to document some of my relevant personal experiences as an international student embarking on the UK PhD process in order to shed more light on the process, expectations, work required (and to keep myself focused, truth be told).

I hope you benefit from it as much as I will...