Understanding The Purpose Of A Doctoral Paper

So, you are thinking about committing to a 4-6 year degree, or have already committed, and the single examination is based on a very, very long document! Pretty important that you have a good idea, then, of the purpose of that document! When beginning a PhD, it is easy to have several misconceptions about the programme. For example, it is easy to think that we are writing a book, and thinking this can result in a less good doctoral thesis than we could produce if we knew what was required. What is the purpose?


The primary point of a PhD or doctorate in any subject is to teach you how to write in a professional, confident fashion. What you write, your thesis itself, while important, is equivalent to about 10% of the overall grading of your paper. A PhD is an extended essay, and the primary factor is your ability to express your ideas.


That said, you of course need something to write about. For your PhD you will be required to choose a topic, to demonstrate that it is relevant and worth study, and then you will have to devote a lot, A LOT of time researching. Learning how to research, how to select and edit, is vital to your PhD studies.

Academic Acumen

Then, after you have the research, have the thesis, and have reasonable writing skills, you need to demonstrate academic acumen, by composing a sophisticated set of arguments, which integrate your thesis statement with your research. This is pretty tricky!


Another really important aspect of PhD study is that it teaches you the ways of the discipline in which you research and study. You will need to learn how to reference, how to use sources and citations, and how to get work published in academic journals.


As with any long-term project, a PhD demonstrates that you are willing and able to commit to a goal over an extended period of time. Many people get bored, and end up not completing, and the PhD, in this sense, weeds out those who are not apt for academic life.

In the final analysis, a PhD is a vocational qualification, it is intended to teach you what it means to be an academic; so, look to your professors, and imagine how they would write your thesis!

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