Are you thinking about applying to a PhD program? Are you already a doctoral student? PhD is a huge investment of time and money. So make sure you spend 15 minutes of your time reading this blog devoted to PhD program success and survival tips. I'm confident that these tips can save up to 10 years of your life, up to $1,000,000 of your money, and, most importantly, your physical and emotional health.

Friday, April 24, 2009

On research

Academic research is hard, boring, and useless.


  1. Agreed. I'll add to that: PhD students are impervious to the fact that they their ideas often being usurped by dried out professors who need fresh ideas to stimulate their own work. It's almost vampiric: new blood, new life.

  2. I had my idea/paper stolen. And this is true, indeed: senior faculty members tend to "supervise" research instead of actually doing it

  3. Research students infinitely benefit a department and particularly the individual advisors overseeing the students' project. How? Well, look at it like this: it's actually quite rare to have an idea that breaks through a field. Now imagine if you're an academic who is weighed under with teaching responsibilities. That doesn't actually give them much time to do any research of their own. The research student is a veritable light in the department, all pumped up with energy and excitement that has long since left the academics who have been working in the field for so long. The new students bring optimism and consequently fresh thinking to the table. PhD students don't realise this, but they play a huge part in stimulating their advisor's work. For evidence of this, just look at what your advisor has been working on since you've been his/her student. In most cases, you will be able to see how you have influenced their work. So departments need new students walking through their door every year, just as much as the students think they need to be there.

  4. Alexander, your situation is very common (re: someone stealing your paper). This is part of the underbelly of academia, and people don't realise that this goes on. It actually happens all the time. Academics become stuck in a particular view of things when they have been in the institution for so long, and they need new insight, a new outlook. Who provides that? New students. Many academics actually talk of having to supervise postgrads as a chore, a burden. But it actually helps them to see things from new angles and change their rigid thinking on things.

  5. In this era of web 2.0, we easily get nice & updated information for research purposes... I'd definitely appreciate the work of the said blog owner... Thanks!

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    1. Anonymous, James: I understand that it feels awful to be in a situation where you think your ideas are being stolen. Can I ask you what are you receiving in return? If you play the game and make it through the phd process is there an equal benefit to you from them for using the ideas that you bring to the table? I think the academics are not indecent people, generally, and it seems to me that there are some rules in society. One such 'rule' may be to give and take in a relationship. So if you feel as though you are being taken from, then what are you getting out of it? And is it worth it to you for whatever that is? I realize that your posts were, like, three years ago so the thread may not come back to life... if not, then these are just some ideas in text... take them if you like but put some money in the pot for it please. Thank you.

  6. This article is a timeless masterpiece. I keep returning to it. Your blog provides both confirmation for those who wonder why the heck they signed up for a PhD, and comic relief for those of us who are in it for the long haul. THANK YOU.

  7. Do you guys have any stock tips?