Top tips for the start of your doctorate or research project


As we're coming close to the end of inductions, and the related Focus on theme, Vitae's Twitter account has launched #startingPhD to encourage our Twitter community to share their best tips for the beginning of the research journey. In case you've missed it, here's a sample of the top shared tips:

  • 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 

Are you research staff or well into your PhD degree? Share your best tips with colleagues at the beginning of their doctoral journey. 

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