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‘You can’t really know what a PhD is like as long as you don’t do one!’

by on February 21, 2013

One day my supervisor told me: You cant really know what a PhD is like as long as you dont do one!.

I guess she was right !!! I had many misconceptions of what a PhD is before undertaking one.

Here again below, I made a comparative list between what I thought of the PhD process before starting, and what I think of it now (including negative but also positive sides).

The list is still not exhaustive, and any of you who would like to complete it, feel free!

I suppose it could be useful for someone who is just about to start his or her PhD…

Before my PhD Now
•I will definitely be done in 3 years time •I will never  be done in 3 years time…but nobody I know completed in 3 years anyway
•My research will change the world •My research will never change the world, and one of my main objective is to please my examiners… but my academic voice will be more credible once I am a doctor
•I will easily find a research question and a methodological approach as long as I am passionate about my research topic •The more I read the literature, the more I think of potential approaches I could use, and research questions I could develop …but I will reach a threshold where I will be knowledgeable enough to identify the research gaps, and narrow down my research
•The PhD research process will always be interesting and exciting



•I will be interacting constantly with my research community

• My research process is many moments of doubts, boredom, despair…but data collection is a great and exciting moment, discovering new literature can also be very exciting

• The PhD is a quite lonely process (for social sciences), and I am the only one who can do it (as it is illegal to pay someone else to do it for you:))…but I own a research project that will make valuable contribution to my research field




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