How to make your doctoral thesis stand out
So you are going to tackle a doctoral thesis and you're both excited and worried at the prospect. It's not so much that you want to actually finish the task but rather that you want to finish and succeed with flying colors. There are different things you can do to make your thesis stand out. Here are a few suggestions.
- you are in charge not your supervisor
- aim for perfection but that's all
- find the ideal supervisor
- write whenever you have an idea
- enjoy the experience
It is possible for a doctoral thesis student to be overwhelmed or dominated by their supervisor. This is wrong for a number of reasons. You are the one being the one, the person who will be judged on what you have written and you should be in charge of the process. The supervisor is there to guide you, to assist and lead you. But you are in charge of the thesis.
Some students aim for perfection. They want their thesis to be unbelievably good. This is unlikely to ever happen. So by all means aim for perfection but don't allow some mythical goal to prevent you from doing whatever needs to be done.
The right supervisor is someone who knows your subject area, who is available and not so busy that they don't have time to meet with you on a regular basis, and someone who will not try to dominate your relationship. Just as you would spend a great deal of time in selecting the topic for your thesis, do the same thing and spend a great deal of time in selecting the right supervisor.
Some students divide their time into research and writing. There are some who spend months even years doing the research and then finally make the decision to start writing. If you want your thesis to stand out, don't divide the two areas. If you get an idea, start writing.
Above all make sure you enjoy the experience. The task is to take you years and if you become bogged down, despondent and allow stress to take over your life, you'll increase the sadness in your life and certainly not produce the best thesis you could do. It will not stand out. So sort out your life, give yourself the best opportunity to work as well as you can and make sure you enjoy the experience.