Reflections on the process of getting a Doctorate
In August 2015 before I started my doctorate officially, I wrote a blog post summarizing my take-aways from
Having at last found out when my Degree Congregation will be after nearly 2 years of COVID19 delay, it seemed like the right time to look back and share some advice from the book that I found particularly useful.
Read other people’s theses in your area of interest. They’re all publicly available at www.theses.com
Construct a list of research practices that characterize a good professional researcher in your discipline, test them out and practice them. This is a useful site for information www.npc.org.uk
Find out what milestones there are at your institution and what needs to be submitted for them (Annual Reviews or equivalent). Have a look at some to get an idea of style, content and standard.
Sketch out the possible chapters in your thesis early on. Typically these are; Introduction, Literature, Method, Results, Discussion and Conclusions.
Save consecutive drafts of Chapters rather than overwriting. This means you won’t have to re-write anything you regretted deleting. Write Chapters in separate documents first, then right at the end, put them all together in a long Word document.
Make a rough weekly writing plan and review it regularly to find a routine that works for you.
It’s usually the literature chapter that’s easiest to write first, then the methods chapter.
(TOP ADVICE THIS ONE) Write to your allotted time, rather than when you reach a natural break in your work. This is because you are more likely to feel a sense of urgency in returning to the work left in its unfinished state and it will be easier to pick up.
Book in a good number ( 2 - 3) of supervision meetings in advance with your Supervisor/s and know what you want to have done before the meeting (dates/times can always be changed if necessary). Knowing when you are meeting your Supervisor/s means you have interim deadlines. Always submit some new or revised writing a week ahead of your booked supervision sessions. Meet every 2 – 3 months.
Set up Google alerts so you remain up to date with the latest publications in your area.
Decide how long you want to take to write your thesis, and make a plan to maximize your chances of success. Here's mine:
Everybody’s different - but this is what worked for me. I passed my Viva after 4 years (part-time) 😊.