From my experience so far: Advice for new PhD students

Emmanuel socphd blogEmmanuel is a member of Centre for Advances in Marketing, Business and Management Research Institute at the University of Bedfordshire Business School, Luton. England. His research investigates the framework of print advertisements for consumer banking services in the UK in terms of visual communications (images) and appeals and understanding customer’s perceptions of visual communications. His research interest lies in visual consumption and communication of corporate designs.  You can follow Emmanuel via his twitter account @e_mogaji and at

  1. Develop a professional relationship with your Supervisor

They aren’t your mother, father or Uncle, they are here to shape your research future, approach them professionally, and starting from email and what you discuss, remember they will be your referee and pave the way for you few years time, treat them with respect and seek help if you think things are not working. However, be rest assured after three years, things will change, and you will become closer, discussing personal issues and shared interest.


  1. Show your commitment

Supervisors are expecting a lot from you and you must show them that you are willing and ready for this PhD journey. Meet deadlines, plan ahead for meetings with action plans – things you will like to discuss for each meeting, create it in your calendar and copy them in. At meetings, discus your ideas and what you have found.


  1. Identify the core areas of your research

Know the boundaries of your research continually define them till you reach conclusions, discuss idea with your supervisors so they can help prune the idea if it’s getting really big and may not be manageable. It saves time and unnecessary stress and prepares you well enough for the task ahead.


  1. Be mindful of competition

The university accepts more PhD students that they graduate each year, so be mindful that you are in here to compete for attention from your supervisors, time in the office space, books at the Library and other resources. Your supervisors too have their time constraints – they have other PhD students rounding up so you need to take your initiative to make use of the limited resources. Make your meetings productive, send email if need be.


  1. Start working on your professional brand

Thinking ahead where you want to be after your PhD, start creating a professional brand and social media presence as well, separating your personal life from your professional activities. Prospective collaborators, partners and employers will search for you, what will they see? If you start now, you have a better presence three years time. Create a Linked in page, highlighting your strengths, Twitter to share idea and network. Consider ResearchGate or to share your publications and a Google Scholar profile. Be ready for that challenge. Remember it takes time.


  1. Don’t Rush to attend conferences

Develop the scope of your work in your first year, identify and mark your boundaries and don’t rush to present your work at conference as you may be embarrassed about some feedback at your work and could find it discouraging. I will suggest conference at second year onward.


  1. Be Social

It’s a boring long journey, have friends, physically and virtually, Come socialise with other researchers as it could be very lonely road. Remember you are the only one who fully understands what going on with you but you can rely on support and encouragement of other around you. Do not hesitate to ask questions, find out what they are doing and enjoy yourself. You can also identify those you have related work and your can support yourself throughout the journey.


Your collaboration made #socchat a tremendous success

The launch of the @soccphd social sciences tweetchat #socchat was a tremendous success.  Thank you to all who contributed to and followed the vibrant discussions.  There were many great proposals and ideas which were shared during the hour and these will be explored over the coming weeks.  This brings me to the unveiling of a forum website which has been designed just for you. It is in its early stages of development and we will happily progress in accordance with your needs. Please bear in mind that we have limited web skills at socphd HQ and at present all our portals are curated by one full time postgraduate student so your patience is appreciated.

In addition if anyone is interested in assuming moderator responsibilities for a specific forum either in the short or long term that would be fab. For the forum to be most useful it needs to be active so please do introduce yourselves and begin to use. any problems using the forum please let us know and we will do our best to fix it.

The most important task over the next few months is to publicise and develop collaborations on twitter and the website forum. You can use the website to publicise conferences and calls for papers too. If you let us know you have done this we can help to promote. You could use socphd to let others know you are attending a conference and begin to establish a rapport beforehand or indeed afterwards.  An unused website is of no use and people will not return, thus we need you, our foundation members to help to ignite the forum by making use of it.

It is exciting to see that several researchers with an interest in dementia were able to connect via #socchat last night and will be convening their own twitter discussion on Monday. The continuation of twitter chats are important to networking but we hope the website forum will also provide an enduring trace of your interests and willingness to connect with others that may get missed in a busy twitter feed.

We are so excited to share this journey with you. It is fabulous to be part of such an innovative project. We would love feedback good or bad on the socphd project so far. Do think about being one of our guest bloggers in February to help cement the foundations of this collaborative process.


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