Intelligent young people with aspirations embark on the doctorate degree course as a means of personal promotion. However, there is a risk of underestimating the difficulty and effort involved in "making a good thesis" or, more properly speaking, gaining the doctor degree satisfactorily.
The objective of this informative article is to inform future doctoral students of the lessons learned from someone who has finished the process, offering some useful tips that do not always come in the books.
KNOW WHAT A DOCTORAL THESIS IS NOT
A doctoral thesis is not an extensive work, nor a great essay, nor the written expression of how much one has learned in his professional field. It is not something that can be done meritoriously, dedicating some free time. Gifted people assume that they can successfully complete a doctoral thesis because "they are good at writing." But writing a doctoral thesis is not producing convincing text but is the culmination of a rigorous as well as the original research process.
The scientific production, of which the doctoral thesis is the first exponent of the student, is slow and laborious because each information that will be transcribed in each paragraph of the document must contain useful and perfectly contrasted information that has its origin in primary or secondary sources.
It may be surprising that in a doctoral thesis, the author's knowledge or experience is largely irrelevant if it is not substantiated by evidence from third-party researchers. Opinions, value judgments, phrases and colloquial language are totally eliminated from the scientific language. Only final conclusions supported by a solid research base are valid. The need to write all the work based on evidence is perhaps the most important aspect of the thesis, which is, in turn, the culmination of the scientific research process. It is a great cure for humility and something that transforms the doctorate forever because from that moment you will always think with a scientific mentality.
Doing a doctorate does not consist of "writing a thesis", but rather in undertaking an original research process that culminates in an explanatory document in which the scientific findings and conclusions of the author are poured. The budding student tends to establish a strong parallelism between the doctorate and the final document. Becoming a doctor is much more than writing a thesis and involves a profound personal transformation.
Achieving the degree of doctor consists of successfully completing an original scientific research process. The reader who is calibrating doctoral studies should be clear about what they are going to investigate, what they want to discover and why it is important. Before making the final decision, it is advisable to read books and manuals on how to complete a doctoral thesis program. It is much better to know what one is going to face from the beginning than to discover it when the project is in danger of failing. In the years to come, the doctoral student will read hundreds of books and perhaps these first ones are the most useful for knowing the terrain, and which also contain many useful tips.
FORMULATING A RESEARCH PROBLEM
When the decision has been made to want to be a doctor, the student will apply his talent in searching for an area of research that allows discovering something new. It is what is called the research problem. It will help the doctoral student to pose it as a social deficiency that his scientific effort will contribute to fill.
Engaging in a subject that you like but that generates a useless knowledge is a waste of time and talent. On the contrary, if what is discovered has an advantage, or complements other investigations, the doctoral student will make a genuine contribution to scientific knowledge that improves society.
The doctoral student is not expected to "discover the cure to cancer", but his work is attractive for future research, as a result of his originality. In all areas of knowledge, there are interesting areas for scientific research. In some universities, the thesis directors themselves will guide the doctoral student on possible topics or research lines already open. Whether the proposal comes from the student or is indicated by the thesis supervisors, the doctoral student must ensure that his or her research will discover something new (even if the discovery is the refutation of the hypothesis itself). For this you will have to make preliminary inquiries, always thinking about the future choice of objectives, hypothesis formulation and research design.
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