Now Reading
Are you planning on doing Ph.D.? Here are 15 Questions Every Student Should Ask before Doing PhD

Are you planning on doing Ph.D.? Here are 15 Questions Every Student Should Ask before Doing PhD


PhD comprises mainly of research. And research is neither easy nor made for everyone. In the same way, PhD is also neither easy nor made for everyone.

In your college or work life if you have not carried out any research then you can analyze yourself by asking these questions. These questions will determine whether you are ready to dedicate 5 years of your life for a research degree.

Good research has no such recipe. To tackle a problem students expect a step-by-step instruction guide which is usually not the way of its working system. So what actual research is involved here are some pieces of information.

 Do you think along with learning?

To think, think and think is the very first rule of research. Ditch your reluctance and brainstorm your mind at anything. This is the very first step that should try. If you come up with a problem first use your mind to think rather than asking anyone or looking for the solution in books or paper. For instance, suppose you came across a lemma while going through a paper that has proof referred to another paper.

So ask yourself. What should you do next? Should you refer to the other paper?  Not at all. By your own, first, try to solve the lemma. Even after trying to solve if you do not get it then look up to the other paper. If you do not think first and want to always look up in a book, can arise a tendency to always do this without trying on your own. But once we solve own our own we understand it better too and can remember for a long period of time.

Cultivate the habit of thinking and don’t be indolent in it

Understanding can be built up by this and lot of techniques that can be used can be developed if we use our thinking mind.

So ask yourself this question. Am I lazy to think?  Have I cultivated the habit of thinking?

If you are lazy to think and don’t find it fun then you are messing with your career and in the wrong business.

Learning with the help of an example

The way research is done, you can understand it with examples and estimating. A great source of materials is the paper and discussions with which your peer or advisors may help with. Once you take help from your advisors and see other papers you can learn to write papers on your own and make analogies.

Ask yourself what kinds of questions were asked in earlier problems when you come across new problems and use that to ask questions about the new one. In this way, you will be able to solve more and more problems and go further.

Learning naturally

This is one of the best ways a research student can learn by observing fellow peers or advisors. Once they are given hints on the difficult part they know what to do next.

Understanding contrary to knowledge

More than knowing a lot it is important to understand what you know. Having a good understanding is the most important necessity of good research.

Ask yourself lot of questions while reading a paper. The ability to comprehend means understanding.

Questions that you should ask before doing PhD

 How well do you fit into this research program?

  1. I think I’m a natural.
  2. I think I can pick it up quite easily.
  3. I think with effort I can learn the ways.
  4. I feel like being out of this place, but I can bear it for some years.
  5. I don’t know what am I doing here as I feel totally out of place with all these geeks.

Question about the research problem

When do you think about research problems?  (Tick the applicable ones)

  1. I sometimes think about research problems at odd times, like while I am eating or watching TV.
  2. I think about research problems only when I am in the institution.
  3. I think about research problems at my residence.
  4. I think about research problems as hardly as possible.
  5. I do not think at all.

The relationship of student-advisor

To yield the best result, communications with the advisors should be kept all the time, not just when you face problems. The same advice would be for soliciting feedback. Ask your advisors to give feedback often. Your progress is directly proportional to how well you communicate with your advisor.

How comfortable are you with your advisor? (Tick which is applicable)

  1. I am comfortable in letting him know what my mind thinks.
  2. Sometimes out of hesitation I don’t say anything because he might think me foolish.
  3. I just agree to whatever he says as I am scared to speak to him.
  4. I do not find any reason to talk to him.

How many ideas do I have regarding what my advisor thinks of me? (Tick which is applicable)

  1. I think I have a pretty good idea regarding it.
  2. I have a slight idea but still, I am not sure about it.
  3. I have a vague idea of what he thinks of me.
  4. I have no idea and I am not interested to know.

After post-graduation am I likely am I to find a job?

No one would like to dedicate 5 years of their life just for fun. And PhD programs cost lot too. So you might consider expecting the returns out of it. To compensate you for the time spent in it completing your PhD you may look for a job that is equally rewarding.

Is the PhD program flexible?

The subject area that you are keen on working on often determines the flexibility of PhD program. Science-oriented programs are less flexible than humanities or arts-oriented programs. Flexibility also depends from country to country, continent to continent. European institutions are more flexible than North American ones. The topic that you choose is also an integral decision. Whether you want to take on a particular topic that you can work with or you want to do the whole program.

What is the availability of research resources?

Researching a vital dissertation will be the second part of PhD program. So to support your research you must know that there is enough availability of resources. Just having well computer networks and date filled library won’t do. Things like photocopying services, support from office administration and many other things are required to complete successful research. Avoid institution that falls short of any support services. It will not only hinder your dissertation but will also make you frustrated when you will be not able to complete it on time.

Is the department versatile?

A strong tradition of following one research may be followed by some departments which may not apply to your working way. Whereas the progressive methods of teaching incorporating new research introductions or new styles of teaching may be preferred by other departments. A wide spectrum of methods and potential areas of study are normally provided by large departments. So it is up to you and which methodology your program demands will determine your choice for your approach to studying.

What are the non-academic facilities that are provided by the institution?

We must definitely consider the academic benefits but that does not mean we should neglect the non-academic benefits that the institution has to offer. Often small-town universities have fewer amenities to offer than the bigger towns. You should never neglect this aspect as you are going to spend a considerable amount of time in your study life. So it is better to take note at these facilities as you balance your leisure and study time.


So without wasting your time ask yourself these questions. It’s worth asking then to gamble with degrees that take considerable 5 years of your life. As I already said before PhD is not everybody’s cup of tea. Just because your family asked you to or because your friends are taking does not imply you have to take it. Or maybe you are thinking after completing the degree a prefix Dr. will be added in front of your name so you are keen on doing it. No, ditch these thoughts. It’s not easy as you think. It is in fact grueling and requires intellect. So be wise and take decisions that will not cost you years.

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top