PhD Studies

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You have already created a working bibliography and this helped you get your research proposal accepted so the last thing you should do is discard it. However, you will need to build upon it now so that you not only revisit the evidence you gathered in support of ideas but also expand upon what you have already researched. Remember that you had to compile a brief reading list for your PhD. thesis proposal and just as you would not dream of leaving the chapter summaries as they are in your thesis proposal, you should not even consider that the bibliography compiled then is adequate now. It will complement and feed your future reading but is no longer enough to supply sufficient evidentiary support for the length of work you are now embarked upon.

You should re-examine the original bibliography but this time thinking of it much more as a seed rather than a fully grown plant. Use the books as source material, remembering to note down, in the correct referencing style, every book from which you gain ideas. This time, of course, you will be adding to existing notes but because you are focussing on one chapter at a time, your reading will need to be more clearly defined and much more specific.

Ideally, each chapter should have a ‘working title’ and this will direct your reading. Look again at the bibliographies of the texts which you used to extend your bibliography for your thesis proposal.

Next, find that list of questions that you applied to your initial research and use it again now to ask the questions to newly added texts. This will help you to extend your research further and also keep you on track so that you don’t veer too far from the idea you are researching.

As well as the texts you have, you need to look again at the newest ideas on your topic. It might well be some time between the preparation of your thesis proposal and its acceptance, especially if you were asked to make changes, so you need to look again at the research that has been done in the area to ensure, once again, that you have not been pre-empted.

Try to make your accumulation of textual evidence precise, now, applicable to the chapter on which you are currently working. This will facilitate a specific connective with the central theme, which you have already established, as well as making your research specific to the chapter on which you are working, establishing a connective.

Remember that research is not complete until your thesis is!

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