Doctoral School


Writing a thesis is similar to any large project. If you devote a few hours to planning your time and resources and identifying some of the potential problems, you’ll find the task much easier. Admittedly, not all of life’s events can be predicted. With a strong plan, however, you’re much less likely to be completely destabilised by illness or work problems.

The ThinkWell website, run by Hugh Kearns, includes some useful worksheets to get you planning your PhD. This approach helps you break up your work into more manageable chunks.

PhD Toolkit - ThinkWell

The Researcher Development Programme includes a couple of workshops providing more guidance. Becoming an effective researcher covers all the skills you’ll need beyond your academic discipline, while Planning, Structuring & Writing Your Thesis addresses the practicalities of producing formal writing.

Your Research Plan/Outline

During your first year you’ll be expected to write a research plan. The length and format depends on your School, but the aim is the same – to get you thinking about your research in more detail and plan what you’ll be doing over the next 3-6 years.  

This might seem like a chore – after all, you wrote a proposal when you applied – but it’s a very useful exercise for clarifying your ideas and considering what you can realistically achieve in the time available. You should allocate time for field work or research trips, also making allowances for processing and analysing the data you’ll amass. You won’t be held to this plan, and it’ll almost certainly change over time.

Doctoral School