Writing Up and Moving On:
With most of your research completed, the writing up phase is about turning your research into a thesis that will meet the criteria for the award of a PhD. How much writing remains to be done at this stage will depend on your discipline and individual project, but it is important that you focus to ensure you finish on time. Discuss and agree a writing schedule with agreed deadlines with your supervisor.
Arts, Humanities and some Social Sciences disciplines are more likely to work with on-going drafts, editing as the project progresses.
Life, Medical, Physical Sciences and some Social Sciences tend to focus on writing up the experimental design and findings/conclusions once all the data has been analysed.
As you develop as an independent researcher you should also be thinking about publishing your research or you may want to get involved in other aspects of publication such as peer reviewing, citation analysis, editing or even setting up a new journal. Check out the information about Granite, a postgraduate interdisciplinary research journal, on the PGRS webpages and discuss a publication strategy with your supervisor(s). Remember, you don’t need to publish to achieve a PhD, but it can be valuable for your future career.
Impact and Engagement
If you haven’t already, you should be thinking about sharing your research with a wider audience, engaging with stakeholders and end-users through engagement events or writing about your research in popular media. Think also about your networks, inside and outside of academia and how you are involved with them and how you can widen them.
Preparing your Thesis
Your thesis should form a coherent document with a consistent argument/series of arguments running throughout it, demonstrating new knowledge or originality in the application of knowledge (Refer to the Code of Practice for Research Degrees).
Make sure you are aware of the practical information (e.g. format, word limits) and the process for submitting you thesis. You can find this information in the PGR School Handbook.
Alongside developing your thesis, you also need to give serious thought to life after your PhD and what you can do now to help achieve your future career goals. You should look for opportunities to build evidence of the skills you have, e.g. taking part in public engagement events or the 3 Minute Thesis completion to refine communication skills; organise and or chair a symposium or conference session, gain teaching experience; apply for small grants to build your funding portfolio.
You should also engage with the Careers Service to develop your CV for both academic and alt-academic roles.
Preparing for your Viva
You can find out more about what’s involved in getting ready for your viva in the PGR handbook. Make sure you arrange a mock viva with your supervisor(s), this will help you get used to explaining the research in your thesis what you did, why you did it and what your findings were.
Suggested Courses and Activities
Explore the Researcher Development Programme on the PGR School website and use the workshop themes and reflective questions to help to review where you are in your journey and to make a development plan to ensure you continue to progress.
Year 3: Finish Up, Move On (online)
Getting Started with your Thesis
Introduction to Citation Analysis
What is Open Access?
Navigating Peer Review
Constructing Arguments in Scientific Writing
Attracting your Own Research Funding
Career Planning: Translating your Skills for Different Audiences
Interviewing for your First Job after the PhD
How to Market your PhD
CV, Cover Letters and Interview Skills
Public Engagement with Research
Presenting your Data Visually
Principles in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education