One of the keywords in your PhD journey is planning. Your plan needs to cover all aspects relevant to your PhD journey. Below are some key questions that you should ask yourself and find the answers when planning your PhD:
1. How do I manage my supervision?
Your PhD is YOUR journey! This means that you need to take the responsibility for these aspects in managing your supervision:
- Maintain good communication with your supervisors.
- Negotiate how frequently you will need to meet with your supervisor (this will vary over time).
- Take responsibility for scheduling supervisor meetings.
- Take notes from these meetings and send your supervisor(s) emails that confirm mutual understanding of what is or is not expected after each discussion.
- Think of a few alternative solutions to issues arising, and then discuss them with your supervisor.
- DON’T rely on your supervisor(s) to solve your problems for you.
2. How do I manage my 3-4 year candidature?
Managing time is not always easy. A PhD journey is a “marathon” rather than a “sprint”. A key tip is to prioritise your tasks. One of the best ways to prioritise your tasks is by implementing, and possibly modifying, the Eisenhower method to suit your needs. To give you an idea of how this method can be implemented in real life situation, have a look at this link.
3. Where can I find relevant resources and advice?
The Library has a great range of resources that you can use to facilitate your PhD journey. Below are some examples that the Library provides:
- EndNote workshops
- Graduate Researcher Library Guide
- Advice on collating, storing and sharing research data (especially helpful in distance study situations).
4. What will I do after completing my PhD?
Don’t forget to consider what kind of career you will seek upon completing your PhD. Understanding what responsibilities and skills needed to function in this dream role or job will help you in incorporating relevant skills development into your PhD journey plan.
5. What skills do I need to develop for my PhD to be a successful journey?
Here is a researcher skills questionnaire that you will find useful. Feel free to download, fill out, and hang on to it for the duration of your PhD journey. Get back to it and reflect on it from time to time, as a reminder of the skills you need to maintain and perhaps develop to enable you to succeed in your PhD.
6. What do I need to do and when should I do them?
It is best to have a map of your PhD timeline, along with the relevant milestones, e.g. confirmation seminar, progress review, pre-submission seminar, and the thesis submission at the end of the journey.
Finally, don’t hesitate to contact learning skills advisers and subject librarians at the Library for advice. All the best with your PhD journey!