The beginning of the PhD journey: The PhD Application

A successful PhD application is the beginning of the PhD journey and a work well begun is always half done. Here are some tips with which you can boost up your chances of getting your PhD application accepted:

  1. Have your research about the course, university, subject and other related factors before applying. You must have a criteria over which you evaluate universities, programmes and supervisors so that you are in a position to choose the one that suits your needs in the best way.
  2. If you have a prospective supervisor in mind, brilliant! Make informal contact with him, preferably in person so that you are able to seek his feedback over your proposal, at least briefly before you submit it with the application.
  3. The application process varies and is different from university to university. Make sure that you have read it thoroughly so that you have all necessary documents in place before submitting to the university
  4. Filling of the application form is a meticulous task so it must be done very carefully. Make sure you read it thoroughly and someone else proofreads it for you too. Carelessness can lead to typographical, spelling or grammatical errors that can actually create a bad impression on the screener or anybody else who reviews the application form
  5. Wherever in the form, you find the scope and the opportunity, emphasise on your qualities that would actually help you to shine out as a successful and independent researcher. In this attempt, be honest and do not exaggerate else it may completely bring down the good impression that you were trying to create.
  6. If there is a need to select references, make sure you select them carefully as after all this report could actually make all the difference. The referees you include should be chosen carefully and should be aware about your plan so that upon cross checking they aren’t taken by surprise. Also ensure they have a copy of your CV so they know your skill and strength area well, in case enquired.
  7. Most of the time in your PhD application, the critically important thing that should be devoted maximum time is the research proposal. Treat it as important as the PhD itself with all formatting and content in place.
  8. Do not forget to proofread your document thoroughly, yourself as well as from someone so that even the smallest of errors can get done with.
  9. Adhere to the deadline!!

Is it good to get your research paper done?

A lot of scholars are unsure about the right time to buy research paper online and whether it is prudent enough to do so or no. Here are few reasons and situations that will guide you through whether you should be spending money over buying research papers online or no. Always remember that there is no substitute to hard work and your own writing and there may be certain circumstances when you don’t have a choice but to get your research paper done paid. There are few situations here when it is okay to get it done from outside.

Are you pressed on time? :  this is one of the many reasons because of which we see scholars purchasing papers when they have a harsh deadline above their head and they have no time to live up to it. You must list down all your constraints before you actually go ahead with your purchase options. You must know all possibilities if there are for you to complete your work on your own, either by taking some help from someone or doing it all by yourself. If you feel there is no feasibility for you to go ahead with these options, it is ok to go ahead and hire a professional to do it for you.

Are your grades stake: this is another important factor to consider if your research paper is going to have an impact on your grades and you feel relatively incompetent in your capacity to live up the expectations of getting a good grade. Remember that if your grades are of grave importance and writing the paper is very daunting for you, it is a good idea to go ahead with customized service for your research paper. Time crunch issue may further be important here.

Does it fall in your budget: you must know the prices in the market for the kind of work you are going to do? They must suit your pocket. Most of the writing services charge on hour or word count basis so calculate how much it would cost you and what are the alternative payment options to suit your monthly budget.

 If you feel that your grades are important for you and you are hard pressed on time while you individually lack the ability to produce the quality expected, you must consider the option of getting your research paper paid.  It will say you a lot of stress!

Get your fundamentals of plagiarism clear

Writers and researchers around the world take opinion and ideas about their writing from existing literature and taking that as a base only helps to create a new research. So it is not new or uncommon to incorporate existing knowledge into your literature.  In fact it is imperative but still you need to be very cautious of plagiarism. So if I can include existing material in my study then what exactly do we mean by plagiarism?

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines “plagiarizing” as:

To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source;

or

To commit literary theft; present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

 So, in simple terminology, plagiarism is that content you include in your study that does not have appropriate credits. Which further means that it is ok to repeat ideas, quotations, information, arguments in your research from other sources  but at the same time the original author needs to be given the credit for the same and if the new researcher who is using the idea refrains from doing so , he is committing the crime of plagiarism.

Plagiarism isn’t as easy to identify and locate as it exists in forms more than one.  The most extreme kind of plagiarism is using someone else’s document in complete duplication and can actually have very extreme consequences for the researcher if caught doing so. It can lead to getting fired from your job or even get sued for infringement of copyright.

The most commonly found type of plagiarism is commonly seen on the internet where people copy others ideas and change the wordings but maintain the essence of the content without actually extending the due credit to the original writer.

Another commonly found type of plagiarism is out if sheer carelessness from the side if the author where  he isn’t particular about adding citations at the proper places, not with the intention to cheat or duplicate the work but just being careless or lazy to out up the citations or references. This common error can easily be averted by being meticulous and careful every time something is written down from a source to include it in the references.

 These were the most commonly found types of plagiarism, another type though can be included too herewith. Sometimes the writer builds an entire document taking content from various sources and citing them appropriately but does not incorporate any original thoughts or ideas into it. Then again the research loses it basic nature and cannot be categorised as original research.

Escalate your PhD progress rate

How is it possible to have the same rate of progress in your PhD, throughout your tenure? It is bound to vary. Some days/weeks/months would be those months in which you would be able to see the progress that would make you feel elated and proud and then suddenly there would be that sluggish span when you feel that things aren’t doing that good for you. The work that should have finished in weeks would be taking months to wind up. It is indeed frustrating to feel stuck with no progress as it leads to a feeling that is a challenge to cope up with.  So, what is the way to hang in there or better ensure that you are able to maintain your rate of progress at your desired level?

 It is actually possible to get a lot of work done by ensuring that you have regular short terms targets. Suiting to your convenience, they could be daily, weekly or monthly.  But just mentally setting targets may not be enough. Make sure that when you set targets for yourself you have jotted them down somewhere and if possible also informed someone close to you about it. When you know that  you have another person who is in loop of what is your rate of progress like, there is  a brighter chance  that you would not give up on it and ensure that you don’t just live up to  your own expectations but also the ones you have set for you in other’s eyes.

 It is normal to feel the writer’s block in between, it is normal and natural for all writers to face that challenge. One major cause of this can be when you have set high standards for yourself. Remember that higher or unrealistic targets are a major cause of writers block or a feeling of a paralysed researcher. Try to go down to a more narrow and broken down challenge and you would see things getting untangled and solutions erupting for problems from even the simplest of efforts.

Still, if ever you have a problem that leaves you with no solution at all and you feel that you are in cobweb that is difficult to break. Go slow but steady, try to go as simple as only working one hour in a day, gradually you would see that your brain sorts out things by itself and you are getting back into the flow. Remember that if you could have that pace of work once, you can have it again too. All that is required is to be just equally clear about your goal not just one day but all days!!

A checklist before you actually start writing your thesis

Completion of master’s thesis gives you a great sense of accomplishment. It indeed is because you are contributing a unique addition in the existing body of academic knowledge.  But it doesn’t come easy. The sense of pride and accomplishment would only come after you have overcome many an odds in the journey. Taking up doctoral study as they say it is “Easier said than done”

 Out of all the challenges that your doctoral journey puts you through, getting kick-start is one of the biggest ones. So that you begin well and are able to proceed in a planned manner, we bring for your here an exhaustive technical checklist of the things that you need to do and should have prepared and planned in advance.

  1. Topic
  2. Supervisor
  3. Literature on your research area
  4. Methodology to be followed
  5. Funding(if required)
  6. Before you start your research, you need to know what you want to research about. Rather it is better and advisable to have a precise topic in your mind that you are passionate about and you feel will be worthy of quality research. When you chose your topic, be sure that it is something you are familiar with. It is not   as easy to have a topic ready ad it may require some amount of narrowing and trimming. Your chosen topic will help you to create your thesis statement and you need to do it after a lot of thought process.
  7. From among the members of your department, you must have a chosen supervisor who is willing to become your advisor and professional guide. Ensure that he or she has specialised knowledge  and is also well versed in the area of research
  8. Before actually proceeding with doctoral research you must be store house of knowledge in your area of research. It involves a lot of reading. It will let you know the gap in the existing research and in what ways is your research different from what has already been done.
  9. Your research has to be specific and at the same time valid and acceptable in the academic community. You would need your advisors help here and that is acceptable so do not shy away from doing so.
  10. Sometimes the research process involves lot of expenditure, especially when it involves equipment and material. If finances are your concern, you need to find a willing benefactor and prepare your foundation in such a way that your research sounds worthy of getting financed.

You Got to Race against Time to Finish Your PhD Faster!!

All the PhD students are worrisome about the time it would take to complete their research, dissertation and whether they would be able to complete successfully and move on. Most of the scholars take little more than the stipulated time they thought they would take. That is quite reasonable. But at the same time, there are many others, who struggle for several months or sometimes even years, so that finally they can finish but that takes a lot of time. Then there are also many of them who give up/quit along the way because of the frustration that builds up from the delay.

Today we would discuss some ways and techniques to avoid the pitfalls that are associated with an unduly extended PhD programme. Particularly the implications on research. What is surprising and good to know is that the hindrances associated with a PhD programme can be easily anticipated and avoided. You just need to be vigilant and aware of how best you can identify the causes that unnecessarily linger on your programme and find ways and means to avoid them. The key is to find out the steps to maintain good progress in your work that is not just at a reasonable pace but also consistent. If you are one of those scholars who already falls in the category of laggards and has fallen off the rails, all is not lost. Even if you are late, you can get on track and visualise for timely completion of the programme. Because you can only do it, once you surely make up your mind that you can do it. Whatever be your expertise of the course, whether you are a scholar in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, the approach towards better and more focussed time management is required and imperative for the course.

Finishing your PhD on time is not just important for you as a scholar but also it is a responsibility that you share with your supervisor. Hence, it is necessary that you work together. It won’t be surprising that sometimes a conflict may arise between you both and put you both’s interests at odds. I don’t know, how justified it is, but many doctoral students see their supervisors as crucial obstacles in the timely completion of their programme. Whether it is true or not, the onus of timely completion lies on you as end of the day, it is your PhD and your own responsibility.

As a PhD Scholar, How to Create a Writing Group

Writing groups are a great way to boost up your writing and are recommended strongly for all PhD scholars. If you are associated with a writing group, not only does your writing pick up a consistent pace, but you also find a medium to clear confusions, improvise your content and learn new techniques and methodology for becoming a better writer.

Ensure you meet at regular times: Once you have created or committed yourself to a writing group and decided upon your meeting time and place, it is a promise that you must keep to maintain the seriousness and effectiveness of the group. Procrastinating or not meeting regularly brings down the core objective of the group in the first place.

Have a common contact point: the common contact point, need not necessarily have to be physical. it can be a virtual contact point such as email, Facebook page or any other option available within the campus.

During meetings, keep short and focused writing sessions: the meetings planned shouldn’t be all about writing, they should have something more to them to keep the members involved and interested. Short writing sprints followed by some discussion and a tea and coffee session is a great idea to spend time constructively.

Write, anything as long as you write: during your writing time that you decide, make sure that you write, whatever it is. Don’t be judgemental about yours or other peoples’ writing skills. Then only would it be a worthy and productive initiative.

Don’t expect the same dedication from everyone: it is ok if everyone doesn’t show the same level of commitment as you do. Look for those people in the group from whom you could rather learn in terms of regularity and commitment and if no one matches our standards, still feel happy to have the silence to focus and write up.

Open up the group to people beyond the PhD scholars: know that the group can be a useful and productive option for not just PhD scholars but also for early career academicians, professional staff and other needy writers. Take it as a perfect opportunity to build up your links with people belonging to different genres of the academic arena. This networking can help you in a great way to establish links and contacts that may help you not just in your PhD but rather throughout your career that you intend to take up after your doctoral study.

Become Your Emotion Manager for Success in Your PhD

Emotions are critical when it comes to success, may it be anywhere in your life. For scholars who are enrolled in PhD, it is a long and daunting journey and there is a lot of different kinds and levels of emotions that you would face during the journey. What means and methods you adopt to deal with these emotions is as important as you deal with the academic side of the journey. Stress is imperative and you would have eustress and distress, you have to know how to convert eustress to distress and here are some tricks for PhD students to know how to use their emotions in a constructive way, rather than let them overpower them:

Learn to stay happy: Yes, as we grow up, we forget that staying happy is out inherent trait and we need to learn to work around ways to stay happy. Do acknowledge good times, small or big. This would help you to realise that life does keep giving reasons to stay happy and it is up to us to ignore them or accept them.

Stay balanced between being rational and emotional: Do not dwell over mistakes you have made. Try to have a rational perspective and do the right time rather than actually sulking over it. Apologise when you feel you have made a blunder. Whether it is with your supervisor, peer or anyone else in the university and take corrective measures as and where necessary. This is a better perspective than actually sulking over a problem.

Acknowledge your stress or depression: it is easier to close your eyes to depression or an emotional outburst. Accepting a low phase is the first and the biggest step towards getting over it. The PhD journey is cyclic like many others and there are low and high phases. Not all times are bad times. Know that reassure yourself that any downfall isn’t the end of the world.

Have a life outside your PhD: yes it is ok to have friends, family, kids, home, cooking, hobbies and other things as important in your life other than your PhD. Having diverse interests gives variety of food to the body and the mind. It really helps you to stay sane in the never ending challenges that you PhD would throw at you and you would have other things to talk about other than your PhD, to yourself as well as to others.

Stay as honest as possible: this is perhaps the most important to key to emotional balance. Difficult but stay honest to not just others but yourself too, as much as possible

Try these tips and be honest, be decent, try to keep your perspective, and acknowledge the highs, lows, blahs and whoo-hoos and see yourself soaring with success!!

Are Teaching Skills Imperative for Doctoral Candidates?

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards!!

I often wonder about the employability options that are available to doctoral students and what are the key skill set that is required to be developed in them for a successful career.  There have been varied discussions about teaching as a career option and I have witnessed views with very diverse traits. However, a majority of research scholars are of the opinion that teaching skills are necessary, particularly for developing a successful academic career.

Do you think everyone gets teaching duties and responsibilities during their doctoral course? I don’t think that can be generalised as I myself did not get any opportunity to get involved in teaching during my PhD though I think I would have loved to interact with students on a classroom level. To add to it, it is a very nice way to transfer the knowledge that the scholar picks up during the course. Though, I think a lot of issues are important and play a role when we talk of teaching for research scholars. Teaching does come in the way of their work when there is a lot of time required for teaching and marking in a stipulated time. Often PhD scholars are found complaining that they are not paid enough according to the enormous workload they are given.

The problem is that many scholars realise that skill and knowledge is required to teach and just having a thorough knowledge of the subject is not enough. It is also important to catch the pulse of the learners. There is a dearth of means and ways by which training is given to the scholars to teach. I feel there is a need to impart, in the first place, the right kind of training to the PhD scholars. This would not just be helpful for the scholars but also for the undergraduates who often have to suffer because of the unskilled scholars as their teachers.

 What is your opinion for teaching assignments given to PhD scholars? What do you think are the main challenges? Do you have any advice to give to those doctoral candidates who have just started to teach?

Choose Your Dissertation Topic Wisely

One of the most important choices that you would be making while doing your PhD is selecting a topic since it would determine the first piece of research that you would be carrying out.  Would you select a topic based on what you hold a passion for or would you go with the topic that your guide has selected for you? If you are confused, here is how to choose a topic for your dissertation.

Push the Envelope

You may have realized by now that new research on a particular topic should push the envelope. Make sure your topic is concise and yet specific. It should not be a repetition of what has already been researched on. It should be something that your readers should be interested in reading. It should immediately grab the attention of those who are about to read your dissertation. It should be ground-breaking research that would not have been done by anyone else before.

Interesting Theory

The theory that you propound through your research should not only be interesting, but it should also not have been done by anyone else before. Make sure your dissertation topic addresses a certain problem area and is something that can be answered by just about any research method you choose. Ideally, you should choose a topic that can be transformed into a journal, book or any other publication. However, you should also make sure that you are really interested in it.

Simplicity in Complexity

You may have gone through the works of those who have already done their  master’s dissertations and now, it is time for you to write your own research proposal. You have to ask yourself whether this work or title has been taken by someone else already or not. Moreover, your research topic should be such that it is looking to address the area that no one else has addressed before. After you have done your part by pushing the envelope, you should consider new theories and methods in order to begin your research work. This is how you should select a topic for your dissertation.