Reviews

Getting a phd

Getting a PhD: An action plan to help mange your research, your supervisor and your project, is a new publication by John Finn aimed not only to support you as the student but also a novice supervisor. Helpful advice is given from what is a PhD, the paths undertaken to be successful and the pitfalls along the way. It is quite an honest text about what is and what is not a PhD, aimed at helping you the student to be successful. Clearly discussed are the doctoral requirements for independence, contribution to knowledge, originality and suitability for publication.

The author provides guidance and tries to help students avoid mistakes on their PhD journey. His hope is that this book can help the learning experience of the research student, thereby improving the quality of their research, research output and career development. Some of the most valuable advice is around the issue of what is a PhD and evidence that the doctoral graduate is capable of conducting independent original research of a professional standard.

Key chapters highlight the PhD research degree, the relationship with our supervisor, how to manage the research project, writing the literature review and thesis, dissemination and, finally, on the PhD examination process. Throughout the text are exercises to illustrate the arguments (answers in an appendix, which, as a student, is always helpful), references to further readings and online resources.

This may not be the only text you need while completing your PhD but is definitely one

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The author provides guidance and tries to help students avoid mistakes on their PhD journey. His hope is that this book can help the learning experience of the research student, thereby improving the quality of their research, research output and career development. Some of the most valuable advice is around the issue of what is a PhD and evidence that the doctoral graduate is capable of conducting independent original research of a professional standard.

Key chapters highlight the PhD research degree, the relationship with our supervisor, how to manage the research project, writing the literature review and thesis, dissemination and, finally, on the PhD examination process. Throughout the text are exercises to illustrate the arguments (answers in an appendix, which, as a student, is always helpful), references to further readings and online resources.

This may not be the only text you need while completing your PhD but is definitely one of the ones that you will need. What this book is not is an all inclusive research text. There is a chapter on conducting a literature review, but, as with most comprehensive texts, this lacks depth, for example, in building conceptual frameworks or strategies for the actual literature search. Finn does, however, give a good overview of what is required for the literature chapter with excellent references.

The author is from Ireland, yet the underpinning advice for a PhD by research crosses universities, countries and continents. Aimed for the PhD student, this would be helpful for the Master student as well. If my supervisors are reading this, yes I have taken note of the advice in this text. At £13.99 this is a valuable book for students embarking on their PhD journey. If only I had this wisdom years ago.

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