Home Page

Section 1 Foundations of Doctoral Study / Chapter 2 Time and Tools

By Dr. Ronald Berman


1. Introduction


Time can be a friend or an enemy for the doctoral learner.


As discussed in Chapter 1, pursuing a doctorate is different from completing a master’s degree. Simply put, a master's program of study requires students to learn to read someone else’s book, while in a doctoral program of study learners acquire the skill to conduct research and write their own books.


An original dissertation manuscript cannot be completed in a single sitting or in a single version. This level of scholarly writing requires personal reflection to consider different perspectives, integrate different theories, review conflicting empirical research, and, ultimately, synthesize what has been read in order to add to the body of knowledge within the discipline.


Complex cognitive activities require substantially more time than what was required in previous academic programs. Time is needed to seek guidance from faculty and other learners, discuss research designs, and determine the validity of existing sources. By allocating and using time wisely, doctoral learners may progress more rapidly in their program of study. Successful faculty and recent graduates have discovered a variety of shortcuts, that, when applied consistently, will help learners to succeed.