The illustrated guide to a Ph.D.

Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is.

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:

A master’s degree deepens that specialty:

Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:

You push at the boundary for a few years:

Until one day, the boundary gives way:

And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:

Of course, the world looks different to you now:

So, don’t forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.


Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (強烈建議買第三版的),在我寫 proposal  的時候給我不少指引。

在這本書的第三章:Writing strategies and ethical considerations ,引用了 Maxwell (1996) 所提出的九個作研究的核心問題,我想這對初寫 proposal 的人應該很有幫助:
1. What do we need to better understand your topic?
2. What do we know little about in terms of your topic?
3. What do you propose to study?
4. What are the setting and the people that you will study?
5. What methods do you plan to use to provide data? 
6. How will you analyze the data?
7. How will you validate your findings?
8. What ethical issues will you study present?
9. What do preliminary results show about the practicability and the value of the proposed study?
一開始寫 proposal 不求多,只要花個兩到三頁的篇幅,回答上面這些問題,你就已經有一個很好的開始了。在回答這些問題與寫作的過程中,你會想得更多、更深,自然而然也就會愈寫愈多了。



  1. 是否能用一句話表達本文目的為何?
  2. 文章傳達了什麼讓人意外的資訊?結果與期望是否相互矛盾?採訪對象曾說過讓人震撼或非常有趣的事情?我們的調查是否揭露了受訪者令人意想不到的態度?
  3. 讀者對此話題所持有的假設為何?這些假設對我們所提出的主題有多少幫助?
  4. 文章結尾是否有比目前序言表達更好的內容?
  5. 讀者是否已經沒有疑惑?或者,我們是否已經確定眼前這個結論就是真正的結論?

Publish,Don’t Perish! Resources
The Postgraduate’sGuide toGetting Published
Academic Publishing forGraduate Students: a process guide
Editors’ Association of Canada: for professional editing services
SFUStudent Learning Commons: Writing ResourcesforHonours andGraduate Students
“Dissertation Success Strategies”: University ofIllinois
Statement onGraduate Student Mentoring: LouisvilleUniversity‐and‐graduate‐student‐strategies‐for‐success.html
“Time Management” by theUniversity ofGuelph Learning Commons
University of MarylandUniversity College: creating a writing plan and projectschedule‐02.shtml
“Writing and Presenting Your Thesis orDissertation” by S.Joseph Levine, Prof. Emeritus, Michigan State
TheDead Thesis Society: a Canadian grad studentsupport group
“So long, and thanksforthe PhD”: a computerscience graduate schoolsurvival guide
“Some Modest Advice forGraduate Students”: Dept. ofIntegrative Biology,Graduate StudentHandbook


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