Let us say you are already a doctoral candidate or seeking to become one. We are sure that there is a lot of thoughts going through your mind, and most of them very tormenting. Well, that is not a news anymore, since everyone like you experiences similar feelings as well.
Anyway, as you are about to be worried about which are the most appropriate actions to undertake for successful doctoral studies, the article will provide some proven valuable tips to support your way.
Get some work experience before doctoral studies
As you are heading to a level of studies that is specialized and related to the industrial demands, the need to hold a prior work experience is called a must. The work experience helps you being aware about what are the customers’ needs and how the industry and research based production functions. Additionally the set of skills you gain during a work experience will definitely support using research work and real-life aspects.
Take time to explore possibilities
Focus more on the job market demands of the desired study field. Do not just jump immediately from Master’s into doctoral studies. Take time to explore which are those study fields which mostly fit to your passions, with your prior education and skills you possess. Seek about a study program that eventually will assure you a position in the job market. Hence, check with the local and German job portals to see where the demands of the job market are oriented, ask the university or the supervisor about the employment statistics of the PhD graduates and do some research on the internet.
Find a thesis of your passion
When doctoral studies are mentioned, the thesis is amongst the most important aspects of it. Researching properly and finding a suitable thesis topic and content is needed. This is an especially important issue, since the entire doctoral studies engagement will be linked to the doctoral thesis. A topic that does not properly fit to your knowledge and passion can delay your graduation and the whole idea of success in your studies. Find a topic which will gain your curiosity and is of a passion. Ask your supervisor for support also.
Foster cooperation with your supervisor (mentor)
Your supervisor is the master of your doctoral studies. Lacking an effective communication you will experience a very difficult period. Hence, we consider that as another defining factor of your success is building a well effective and continuing communication with the supervisor of your thesis. Try to avoid skipping mentors advice and be on time for your commitments towards him/her.
The online article 3 Step Method Of Communicating Effectively With Your PhD Supervisor is a good start to get some tips in this regards.
Write and publish as much as you can
Writing is another factor of your success during your studies. Despite that writing your doctoral thesis is a responsibility you cannot avoid, there is a lot of other writing you can do additionally.
As much as you write, you will have the chance to enhance your research work and make publications. The good part of doctoral studies is that you now have the needed awareness to publish peer reviewed research and scientific papers in the local and international reviews. You can also open a blog where you can post your findings and research articles. This is the way how you are going to increase your reachability from the international academic, scientific and research community community. Surely, this will increase your chances to do co-research and publish co-authorial research/scientific papers or projects.
Use every idea and opportunity to write. Write reports, draft articles, research ideas, informal and formal information you get on the topic and investigate the information properly.
See some valuable sources to make your writing more effective: 12 Tips to overcome writer’s block for PhD students and Writing Tips for Ph.D Students.
Read a lot and tactically
Reading is another defining factor of your success. If you encounter yourself in a situation where you have a lack of specific information during your doctoral research you surely must touch the needed literature that is specific to the topic and get the proper answer. This is the way to go, considering you are a doctoral candidate and there is a lot of independent research and self-initiative of studying a specific issue. Furthermore, there are some strategies and tips you need to learn for making your reading faster and more effective.
The following article series will provide you a lots reading tips and strategies.
As a doctoral candidate you do not only need to do research and expand the knowledge in the specific area of studies. You need to learn to be a real professional. Your work and your findings need to be accurate, reliable and based on trustful data. The proper communication of results must be learned using the proper research methodologies and proper data analytics. You must learn how to interpret your findings and propose solutions for founded problems. Let your supervisor become your guide on this regards, and do not dissatisfy him/her with results which are not properly explored.
Expand your professional network
As in your professional future, you will need people with the experience in the same field with yours, there is a need for you to have a professional network. Try to build and keep good relationships with supervisor, team of supervisors, colleagues, work mates during your practical research in an industry, with the employer and perhaps the clients. Giving and receiving professional information is always an asset that you can transform into a great cooperation on specific future projects or jobs.
Avoid getting a full-time job
One of the hardest time you will experience in your PhD studies, it will be getting inside a full-time job. The amount of free time you will have to dedicate into your studies will automatically reduce, coupled with the tiredness you will feel after an eight working hours day. Instead, try to engage in a part time job that does not consume your best of energy and time. Such jobs are typically available in the university as a research associate, in a non-university research institution and in the industry. Do not forget, you need to devote yourself totally in this special opportunity of building a figure of a successful scientist or researcher. Hence, the research project that you work during your studies must possess the needed uniqueness and input in order to reserve you a place inside the growing scientific and research community. Do not get distracted by a job at any circumstances!
Get a teaching appointment linking to your thesis topic
In case the university offers you the opportunity to engage in teaching, then you must absolutely get the course which helps you know more about the doctoral thesis that you are working in. This way, the topic the course you decide to teach will allow you to not get distracted from the research work.
Become an active participant in non-formal activities
As doctoral studies activity will involve participation in different seminars and conferences, your active participation is a great asset to your success of your studies. Participating in such valuable activities where the first hand results are presented by eminent scientists, researchers, industrialists, is a unique opportunity for you as a young researcher, allowing you to make the questions which will enrich your thesis with valuable and exclusive information.
A great opportunity when attending such activities is to expand the professional network. Hence, it is suggested to introduce yourself to people and keep the communication with those who can enrich your thesis with more information or can offer you the opportunity to work on a specific project.
Finish punctually and properly your PhD thesis
At the end of your research work, you will be called to submit your doctoral thesis timely and at the quality and structure required. Make sure you properly considered all the comments and advices of the supervisor and the requirements set by the university department. Do not forget to keep the uniqueness and originality of the work.
See the articles Finishing your PhD thesis: 15 top tips from those in the know for more advices and How not to write a PhD thesis to see which are the common mistakes to avoid in writing a PhD thesis.