8 important Tips/ advice for New PhD students

This blog post (Tips for New PhD students) aims to provide 8 essential tips for the PhD students. The tips include knowledge about PhD resources to organize PhD research. Even these Ph.D. tips & advice are useful to experienced researchers.

Generally, it is expected that during the award of the Ph.D., research scholars have at least 3-4 major contributions in their related interested area. The entire research study is reflected in the terms of good publications in high-impact factor journals. For achieving this, it is necessary for the research students to identify the potential research problem and find an appropriate solution for it. The success of Ph.D. students starts from the very beginning of their careers. The choice of the right supervisor, mentor, and proper training plays a very important role. It helps in gaining a lot of skills and practical knowledge that helps in future development. Following are some tips for new Ph.D. students:

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1. Choice of Research Problem

The research student should join the institute/university as per his /her area of interest. The student’s research area should match the research area of his supervisor. The student should select a broad area in which he/she wants to work. After selecting the broad area, he should select the sub-field in which he/she has decided to do research. The research scholars should do a lot of literature reviews for proposing a proper research proposal. A literature review can be done based on various available online databases. The commonly used databases for searching past research studies, published research articles, journals, and chapters are Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Science Direct, etc. With the help of these, a student will get an idea of the research problem in his/her concerned subject. Accordingly, the student can develop methodologies or choose the correct method to find the solution for that research problem. Generally, it may take 6 months to 12 months to find the research gaps and identify a potential research problem. The objectives in the research proposal can be changed from time to time. It is preferable to have 3-5 objectives in a research plan. Later, these objectives can be broadened or narrowed as per as progress of the research.

2. Choice of Supervisor

This can be an important tip for new PhD students. It is very important for the research students to choose a proper supervisor/research guide/Mentor. Sometimes, a student can choose more than one supervisor depending on the objectives. The supervisors or research guides mainly help in providing guidance, motivation, and support during the entire Ph.D. career. They invest a lot of energy and time in their research students. They help the students in finding suitable research problems. They are role models for any Ph.D. student. Research Supervisors set various goals and develop strategies for the students. A research student should always develop a good relationship with his/her mentor. Mentors will not help in guiding their research students during the Ph.D. journey but also help in seeking job opportunities after Ph.D. They have various professional contacts which will help the students for applying various post-doctoral schemes. They will ultimately improve the key findings in the research.

3. Knowledge of Research Metrics

Research students should develop good knowledge about the research metrics. There are various research metrics such as h-index, i-index, ranking and impact factor of the journals, and citations, which decide the quality of publications. A research student should always aim in publishing his/her research articles in high-impact factor journals. He/she not should never become the victim of predatory/Fake journals. The research student should develop knowledge about how to find good journals, SCI or SSCI journals. The research students should also have knowledge about different types of authors. It is highly desirable for a Ph.D. student to publish only as a First Author. However, he/she can be co-authors for other publications if they have contributed to the research findings.

4. Develop Presentation Skills (important tip for new PhD students)

It is very much important for new Ph.D. students to develop good communication, writing, and presentation skills. These skills will be helpful during the entire Ph.D. journey. The students can communicate their research work by giving presentations at different places. The students should actively participate in conferences, workshops, seminars, and departmental review meetings. This will help in improving their presentation skills and body language. Conferences and seminars provide the opportunity for research scholars to interact with Professors and Scientists.

5. Collaborate with others (another important tip for new Ph.D. students)

Research students should collaborate with other people wherever possible. It helps in generating new ideas. It helps in the improvement of research quality. Interaction among people with the same research area helps in more understanding of the topic. It increases the moral and social support of the researchers. The main aim of collaborating with other researchers is that it will ultimately increase the research output.

6. Use of Social Media

Nowadays, altimetric or alternative metrics are proving promising ways of improving research quality. Social media such as Twitter plays an important role in the exchange of ideas. Social media helps in quick access to recent publications. Through this, one can easily gain knowledge about ongoing projects in their related fields. It also helps in promoting new publications of journals. It helps in increasing citations of the published articles. It also helps in easily finding national and international conferences.

7. Involve in Summer Training/Internships

It is highly advisable for new students to join any industry or research institute for gaining work experience. It helps in the identification of the research problems more quickly. If a student starts a Ph.D. directly without any practical knowledge, it will take more years for him/her to finish a Ph.D. On the other hand, if a student has gained practical skills by attending workshops or as an intern, it will take fewer years to identify a potential research problem and provide a solution to it. He/She may directly design an appropriate experiment and use the right methodology.

8. Seek Funding

If possible, a research student should seek travel funding or small grants for attending national or international conferences. Universities/Colleges are nowadays providing financial support for deserving students. The students must be in contact with their senior research students and enquire about the entire procedure. If the student seeks small funds or travel grants during his Ph.D., it will prove his/her technical capability. This will ultimately help in securing future post-doctoral funding.

Thanks for visiting PhDTalks. We hope that the provided tips for new Ph.D. Students will help them in their careers.

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