What is the research process of a PhD? - PhD Guides

What is the research process of a PhD?

A doctor of philosophy, also known as a PhD, is a higher level of education that is recognised worldwide. A PhD candidate may use the title ‘Doctor’ before his or her name after the successful completion of the course

After deciding on a research topic, a person with a postgraduate degree can apply for a PhD in his or her desired field. Because a PhD is entirely a research degree, you must choose a research topic before applying for a PhD programme.

Regardless of your qualification, you can choose any topic for your PhD thesis. The only requirement is that the research topic chosen corresponds to your experience.

A full-time PhD takes three years to complete, whereas a part-time PhD takes four to five years. The period can be extended for a few years based on your research and thesis completion.

Let’s take a quick look at the three-year PhD study modules:

PhD first year

The first year of a PhD is usually spent developing a basic understanding of the research topic you have chosen. You will be assigned a supervisor, with whom you will communicate throughout your research.

The supervisor assists you in thoroughly understanding the topic. You should introduce yourself to him or her and discuss your research to get more information and make a plan of action.

In the first year, you will typically be required to conduct a literature review, survey, and evaluate existing scholarship under the supervision of your supervisor.

The literature review allows you to gain a thorough understanding of the research topic and make logical leaps. If you applied for Mphill, you will be upgraded by the end of the first year.

In the upgrade exam, you must submit your literature review, and research findings, and have a discussion on all of the material with a member of your department. If everything goes well and you can persuade everyone, you will be able to continue your research for next year.

PhD second year

The second year is critical because you have developed a basic understanding of your research and must now go more in-depth and begin core research.

You must conduct surveys, experiments, and archival research on your subject and concentrate on obtaining results. You should also begin working on your thesis in your second year.

Based on your findings, you can begin drafting chapters that will serve as the foundation for your dissertation. As the time of PhD passes, you gain more knowledge and develop as a scholar.

Meanwhile, you keep in touch with the supervisor to discuss the research. He or she will periodically check in on your progress and provide feedback and ideas to conduct research in the right direction.

Besides this, your second year of doctoral studies is an excellent time to gain real-world experience by presenting your work at various academic conferences, gaining teaching experience, or publishing your work in an academic journal.

PhD third year

This is the final year of your PhD programme, and it is also the most stressful because you must begin writing up your thesis into a dissertation.

To be a PhD scholar, you must collect all of your research from your PhD and organise it into a well-structured thesis.

It may be a difficult process because many students are still working on their research and locating sources that can strongly support their findings. Some students even take additional years to finish their dissertation.

Your supervisor plays a crucial role in this situation. They will read your thesis, make valuable suggestions, and notify you when it is ready for submission.

After submitting your thesis, you must give a viva voce, which is an oral exam. In this exam, you must convince the panel of your research results. This is the final stage of the PhD programme. If you pass this, you are done with your PhD.


This is what a PhD programme looks like. During the years of your PhD, you must conduct extensive research. To finish your thesis on time, you must plan ahead of time and work accordingly. Because research is the foundation of a PhD, you should choose your topic carefully. Before deciding on a topic, consult with experts and professors from nearby universities and choose as per the discussion.

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