Am I Ready to Embark on my Thesis/Dissertation Research? This checklist will help evaluate your status of preparation for embarking on your thesis research. 1. I know the difference between a thesis and a project. A project tries to solve a single “instance” of problem, a thesis proposes a solution to a “class” of problems using some theory or model. 2. I know the difference between an MS/MPhil and a PhD. 3. I have gone through various self-help blogs like this one on research, thesis guidelines and help material available on other websites such as this, and the material available at my university’s office of graduate research. 4. I am aware of the thesis/dissertation objectives. 5. I have read the article What is a Thesis Statement and its Role in PhD-MS Research. I understand the significance of this detailed post and have written a summary of what I have understood from this article. 6. I have read the article What is a Problem Statement and its role in MS-PhD Research.

7. I have seen topics of thesis done at other universities and have a list of topics in my selected area. I understand the requirements for coming up with topics of thesis? I have read How to Select an MPhil/PhD Research Topic. 8. I know How to Read a Research Paper. I have surveyed at least 40-50 research papers of recognized journals in my research courses and am thoroughly familiar with their research objectives and methodology. 9. I know what is meant by thesis statement, problem statement, approach and state of art. I can identify these in a couple of hours of study of a research paper. I have extracted these items from the papers that I have surveyed. 10. I have made a clear time commitment and I spend reasonable time and effort on my thesis/dissertation research. A full-time research student should be able to finish an MPhil Thesis in six to nine months time, and a PhD dissertation research in about 2 years excluding the course work. I know that 6 credit hours of research enrollment means at least 18 hours of self-study time per week.

I am committed to spending at least 135 clock hours of time for every 3 credit hour enrollment. During the last year of my PhD research I would be allocating double this time per week. 11. I know Why PhD is Difficult to Complete and Why there are so many ABDs. As described in this post, I have factored the potential sources of emotional distress from areas related to my academic research as well as areas unrelated to my research (children, spouse, family, job, health, etc). 12. I have scheduled my thesis/dissertation research schedule in a way that it is not conflicting with a major project or engagement elsewhere. 13. I know the relationship between Progress and Mood/Psychology of a PhD Student. I know how the motivation decreases exponentially when I am not doing my work. I also know how depression increases exponentially when I am not making progress. 14. I write down the summary of any thing I do related to my research, whether it is the website that I have gone to, the paper that I have read, or book chapter that I have consulted.

I know the meaning of “I have not read if I have not written”. 15. I am regular in meeting with the adviser. 16. I have seen a few copies of successful thesis/dissertation documents of some good US universities and thesis proposals. 18. I am following the schedule that I submitted along with the thesis/dissertation enrollment form. 19. I am aware of the technical writing rules and make a conscious effort to write clear, correct and concise English. 20. I have made a schedule and a time line by focusing on the following dates (i) When would I present my proposal/synopsis? When would I defend my thesis? Research is about organizing and planning your progress and plan of work. If you want to complete your deliverables as soon as possible you need to prepare a research folder and keep it with you whenever you visit your supervisor for research advising. 1. A section where you keep all the references, interesting articles, topics of recent conferences, call for papers, and web addresses related to your area of interest. 3. Summary of reviewed papers.

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