Final Comments on Completing a Successful Ph.D. Thesis

At the outset of this guide, you were advised that the research and writing of a Ph.D. thesis would be one of the most challenging but ultimately fulfilling tasks that you will ever undertake: it would be difficult, challenging and at times overwhelming.

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Now that you have completed your thesis, you know the truth of these words.

Unless you have personally undertaken a thesis, nothing can fully prepare you for every possible eventuality in your thesis but you will, it is hoped, have gained some valuable pointers from this brief guide which will help you to succeed in your Ph.D. The main points to emphasise in conclusion to this guide are essentially those made at the beginning but now, perhaps, they will have more meaning to you than at first:

  • Originality should be the motivating factor at all times
  • Thorough research is the backbone of your thesis and you should begin to compile your bibliography the day you begin your research
  • Quoting effectively for a Ph.D. is not the same as quoting in other academic work, you need to be as original here as elsewhere in your doctorate.
  • Careful structuring of your doctorate is essential if you are to succeed
  • Correct adherence to stipulated referencing styles is essential to pass
  • Close attention to stylistic features is essential to qualify for a Ph.D.

In addition to all of this, you should try never to lose your enthusiasm for the subject during your research. Of course, you will become tired and dispirited at times and you will feel like giving up but don’t. if you do, one day you will regret not seeing your Ph.D. through to successful completion. Not just for the kudos of being called ‘doctor’ – although of course, that is a good feeling, especially at first – but because the opportunity to research a doctorate is not offered to everyone and if you are one of the privileged few to be given this extraordinary chance, do make the most of it.

Throughout this guide, what has been emphasised is the sheer hard work and tenacity which studying for a Ph.D. requires but now, as we raw to a close, it is worth commenting on just how satisfying research at this level can be. You are, as the stipulation for a doctorate says, ‘adding to the body of knowledge’ on your chosen subject and that is important, both now and in the future.

You are making an original contribution with this work which others will use in the future and whatever else happens in your life that singular and special achievement can never be taken from you. Now, there is just one thing left to say to you in this guide: ‘Good luck!’

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