Do & Don'ts in PhD: Some of My Experiences
Selection of Topic
- This is the most difficult and important stage as the whole PhD depends on it. This can be made easy by attending various conference/seminars,meeting experts from your specialization or area of interest.
- Then it can be narrowed down by making literature from various journals, books, magazines, newspapers. Library is the best place to to help you out
- First of all read introduction and conclusion to know whether it is an important relevant paper of your area. But do not just read introduction and conclusion if its an important paper of your area. Read each and every part specifically the methodology part , sample and data the way they have done.
- Make excel sheet where you write the name of article, journal name, author's name, year of publication, important finding, sample size, tools and technique used. This would later help to categorise the whole literature you have survey as per your convenient like chronological, methodology wise etc.
- While you make literature survey on your topic, make the list of journals from where you found your research area topic, this would later help in selection of journals for publications. The most important article in particular journal or various publications in particular journal may help you to know what are the important journals
- Review your article 10 times at least by yourself, your friends your professor before submitting to any journal.
- Read various articles from the journal you choose for publishing your paper, before writing your own so that you would get an idea regarding the style of writing and which type of article are accepted by them. This would help to fine tune your article.
Data Collection and Storage:
- The most time taking and boring part of PhD. But it should be done carefully specifically when huge amount of data is collected. say for example for each data points of 400 companies for 10 years . sometimes it may happen data is wrongly pasted in wrong row or wrong column . so be alert while collecting data
- The next point to remember is saving the data. save the data with dates so that you would know what each day yo have added or deducted to a file(word/excel). This would also not make confusion regarding the updated and latest one. Sometimes I have lost data by replacing the files. while pasting the files that is replaced new data with old one but old one was saved rather than new. So better to save date wise.
- Save your data in two to three places-laptops, pen drives, dvd , mails so that if lost in one then you get from another place. But make sure it is with date and particular names or else it may also confuse you .
The Real work and Experiments:
- Do not think someone will come and help you to do your work. Depending on others will only consume your valuable time. try to help yourself. You can approach experts, friends for clearing any doubts but if they could not give you time, just don't wait for them , try out yourself till you find the answer for your doubts. Waiting for others to help you would just make you dependent on others and forgetting your responsibility towards your own work.
- People by nature are helpful, only if you have done your homework well. Make sure while you are going to any professor for asking any doubts, you have read elating your doubts, worked out the parts you can do, so that when he will clarify your doubts you understand them .
Hourglass for your work :
- The time you need to spend is important in all activities. It is not that those who are doing research will have all work and no play, remember like jack you would be a dull boy. The important thing is the quality time you give for your work. Ensure that everyday you would give at least 8 hours per day which would be ONLY for your work and no other things. in between this time your mind should not toss anywhere except your topic and work.
- Always try to complete a particular phase of work and then look for another work. It means do not just wait for next day to complete if you have time to complete it today. pending works demotivate you to work further. Speed up your work, this will relax you during your presentations, seminars. you dont have to wake up late night at last moment. avoid the "OVERNIGHT DURING THE EXAM" strategy.
Again, for research there is no formula how to do work. It depends and varies from person to person. we may have knew how problems are faced by earlier researchers but when it comes to us, we may do same mistakes due to unavoidable circumstances. But its better to know what type of problems we can face so that we wont be shocked to face the situation.