Advice / Getting started

Top tips for starting a doctorate or a new research project

Last week Vitae’s Twitter account launched #startingPhD to encourage the PhD Twitterverse to share their top tips for a successful start to the research journey.

vitaetwitter

In case you’ve missed it, here’s a sample of the tips shared:

  • Have realistic plans – everything takes twice as long as you think. Be in control of important decisions, but listen to advice of those more experienced
  • Focus on the WHY, it will help you keep going when times get tough. When setting goals, remember to step back and look at the bigger picture
  • Find passion in your research question, you will be stuck with it for a long time. Your PhD should be enjoyable
  • Investigate effective ways of reading literature to grasp main ideas and details. Take time to experiment with different tools and software for note taking, keeping references and maintaining good records
  • Make time to let off steam, socialise. Share your concerns with others. Set up group of other PhD students to meet, talk and swap writing. Conferences are important way of meeting others and broadening network outside of your HEI
  • Start writing early, even just your notes. It’s a skill you need to practice from the start. In Arts and Humanities disciplines, it is difficult to know when to stop reading. Start writing and it will become clearer
  • Managing stress, self-care and holidays are integral to surviving a PhD! Treat it like a job. Don’t forget to reward yourself for meeting goals – even small steps along the way

Feel free to add more tips in the comments below.

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