Hi everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts recently, but last week I was in the UK to officially graduate and get my PhD degree! After going through two ceremonies in the US for my Bachelors and Masters degrees, I found it so interesting to participate in a UK ceremony. If you’re studying abroad in the UK or just fascinated by all things British (I’m guilty of both!), here are some observations I made throughout the day of my graduation.
Have you created a Gantt Chart to organize your PhD project into different phases and estimate how long each phase might take? This is suggested by many PhD supervisors to not only help PhD students break down each milestone into more manageable tasks, but it also helps PhD supervisors monitor a student’s progress. I admit, I think this is helpful at the beginning of the PhD journey as it forced me to think about the major milestones of my project and what each phase entailed. It also provided a guideline as to when I might reasonably finish my PhD. But as with all good plans, sometimes unexpected things happen and schedules have to be readjusted! Here’s how I was able to make progress on my PhD and finish early, without following my Gantt Chart.
After a few weeks focusing on traveling in Europe, it’s back to being a PhD student this week!
One of the first and probably last milestones you’ll work on in your PhD is the literature review. I say first milestone because within the first six months of starting a PhD, supervisors most likely will ask new students to submit a literature review for their research topics, which will help them gain an overview of the types of related research that has been conducted and what research is missing or needs to be done.
I also say last milestone because before submitting a thesis, the literature review should be updated to include any new research that has been conducted. After all, you want your References section to have lots of recent publications to show that you know the current state of your research topic!
Based on my own experience and my colleagues’, the literature review is probably the most overlooked section once the main study and analysis has been conducted. Therefore, I offer you some advice when writing your literature review, either as a new PhD student or a PhD student getting ready to submit your thesis.