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TOPIC: Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time

Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 2 years 4 months ago #9

Are you a current Phd student or considering doing a Phd? You might have known studying a Phd is a challenging task and takes a lot of commitment. In fact, many research students struggle to complete their thesis on time. Having done a Phd in Australia myself, below are my top 5 tips to help you stay on track with your study and obtain your doctorate degree on time.

1. Start writing early. This is particularly applicable with Humanities research students, but it is good advice for any PhD. One of the biggest errors that PhD students can make is in thinking that the research stage comes first, and that the ‘writing’ stage of a PhD only begins when all the research is finished. If you want to finish a PhD on time, start writing in the first months. Keep a record of all you read. Experiment with writing down skeleton arguments or summaries of what you want each chapter to say.

Much of what you write in the early stages of a PhD will not make it into the final draft, or heavily edited (it would be worrying if this was not the case), but this process of getting things down on the page early is a crucial one. And never throw anything you have written away: you never know when you might need it. Keep a file on your computer with all of those typed up lecture notes, notes from books you have read, and so on, and browse it once a month to get fresh ideas for your thesis.

2. Write your introduction and literature review last. It maybe tempting to ‘begin at the beginning’ and write your introduction in the first year, chapter 1 in the second year, and so on. However, leaving the introduction and literature review to the very end ensures that when you come to write them, they are focused through the lens of the specific aims and concerns of your overall thesis argument.

3. Keep a schedule. Plan when you want to perfect your research proposal, when you will finish your pilot study (if you are doing one), when you want to have a first draft of a chapter, and when you want to have a rough draft of the whole thesis, and so on. Do not be overly strict with yourself if you miss a deadline by a couple of weeks (or even a month or so): these things happen to almost every doctoral student. But keeping a schedule will ensure that you are on track at each stage of the thesis writing process.

4. Leave yourself plenty of time for editing. Checking references, formatting the thesis, proofreading and implementing a style guide are not quick jobs. These aspects of thesis writing are not the most fascinating, it must be said, but they are very important. And, they can take hours at best, and days if you are going to be realistic. So do not leave these to the last minute. Make sure to block out at least two weeks before submission for proofreading and copy-editing the thesis to ensure that your arguments are presented flawlessly. Getting a friend or a student to give your thesis a quick proofread is a great idea.

5. Show work to your supervisor, or supervisors, regularly. That way, you will not waste time following dead ends or working on unprofitable areas of research: a big part of your adviser’s job is to check your work and steer you away from doing that.

In summary, in order to finish a PhD on time, you will need to start writing early, leave the introduction to the end, keep a schedule, and leave yourself plenty of time for editing.
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Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 2 months ago #2

Thanks Ryan

I am also interested in discovering any quick guides to writing grammar at PhD level for graduate students.

Stuff like

media.wix.com/ugd/654734_cff92b13f5094b8190e5db7349a948b4.pdf

www.youtube.com/my_videos?o=U

If anyone knows of such resources, can you let me know?

Cheers

Annie
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Top 12 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 2 months ago #4

Wow it is no wonder that this is the most popular forum - I am struggling to finish on time too and find some tips on this forum helpful.

I found this document attached to be the best I have seen, and sadly I discovered it 3 years into my research. I wish my supervisors took more care and warned me about these pitfalls that delay us PhD students from finishing on time.



media.wix.com/ugd/654734_5e3171633071442e82b1925595f1b372.pdf

This postdoc guy also has a YouTube version

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cS9Hlh5R6k

Hope this helps ... please share any YouTube links back
cheers
Annie
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Top 12 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 2 months ago #1

Thanks Annie for looking me up and inviting me to this forum.

I am flattered.

Jay

:woohoo:
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Top 12 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 2 months ago #3

Thanks Annie.

This one at that website is my favorite. I am now feeling like my PHD
has a long way to go, but these tips are pretty inspiring.

media.wix.com/ugd/654734_0abcab0a2c8642bf927760ccca0755ef.pdf

www.collegeprofessor.ca/phd-writing-project.html

Anyone know of similar sites around that have quick intros like this. I cannot stomach those tedious one hour YouTubes out there.

Ryan :lol:
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Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 5 months ago #7

How to setup a good schedule and following through? Is there any shortcut to success?

What about the defense and VIVA? we plan the schedule or supervisor decide when is OK for us to do this and that?
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Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 5 months ago #5

Hi jennifercheong,

It's been a couple weeks, have you had any developments in your defense and viva questions? Hope everything is going well!
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Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 1 year 5 months ago #6

Hi jennifercheong,

Those are great questions. While there are no good ways to "shortcut" your way to success, there are definitely ways to make your journey easier, especially with time management, like what you're asking about. I'd suggest taking a look at our Tools page here: www.phdstudent.com/phdtools. You'll find different timelines to help you organize wherever you are in the grad school process. Hopefully this will help you get on the right track.

Best of luck, and let us know how it goes!

Rene Paulson
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Top 5 Tips to Finish a PhD on Time 2 years 3 months ago #8

pepper_jane wrote:
In summary, in order to finish a PhD on time, you will need to start writing early, leave the introduction to the end, keep a schedule, and leave yourself plenty of time for editing.
Salam.
Dear Jane, your article is helpful.
What's interesting is that you recommend that we follow a non-linear procedure, leaving the introduction and RRL to the end.
Writing early through the researching or experimenting step is also a good tip.
Thanks a lot.
Sincerely;
Mohammad from Iran.
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