‘Begin at the beginning’ – Identifying ideas for a PhD

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores the issue of identifying initial ideas prior to starting a PhD. I reveal how sometimes the most obvious of ideas, often based on personal experiences can be worthy of developing into a thesis. Drawing on my own experiences, I highlight the process through which I formulated my proposal and the activities and reflections which were helpful in developing and sharpening my ideas. These include drawing from experience, being pragmatic about the feasibility of the study, testing ideas on others and using writing as a reflective tool.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow to keep your doctorate on track: Insights from students’ and supervisors’ experiences
EditorsKeith Townsend, Mark Saunders, Rebecca Loudon, Emily Morrison
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781788975636
ISBN (Print)9781788975629
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Research proposal, PhD ideas, doctorate


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