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The different phases of a PhD student

The different phases of a PhD student

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The different phases of a PhD student

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  1. The different phases of a PhD student • Nervous and scared • You think you know nothing about your field • Ecstatic and a ”bully” • You think you know everything there is in your field • Humble and depressed • You have realised just how big your field is and thus how little of it you really know

  2. Make sure you know • Problem/research questions • State what problem you want to solve, and give a small example • Challenges: why and how • Why related work does not solve this problem, and thus fails the example • Approach • Novelty, Scientific • Why do you believe it will solve the problem? • Expected contributions • What do you expect to learn? • Validation • Show how your solution solves the problem, and illustrate it solving the example

  3. Write, write, …, and write • Write about absolutely everything you do: about the problems you faced, the failed solutions you tried, the decisions made on the way until a right/good one was found • You should write for three main reasons: • To structure your thoughts • To remember the justification for your decisions (so that you will always be able to tell why other alternatives did not work) • To very quickly write your thesis (because you have already mostly written it! )

  4. Practical issues … • Literature review • Ongoing effort • Enumerating is not enough … • Classify • Explain the difference • At the beginning of the paper/thesis to set the stage • Or at the end for in-depth comparison • Annotate and summarize the papers you read • Keep the references in a database

  5. And to not forget to… • Create a network of contacts in your field (seniors and other PhD students) • Take every opportunity you get to discuss your research – the only ”risk” is broadening your views • ... And, no matter what you do, have fun. Make sure you have a life beyond your PhD studentship 