The 5P Rule for Doctoral Scholars

Guest Post by Dr Anandan Pillai

The long doctoral research journey for a scholar is usually a blend of excitement, inquisitiveness, and challenges. However, one who emerges through this would eventually become a successful researcher and be ready to tackle any future research problems in an industry profile or as an academician. Basis my own FPM journey and what I have noticed from my colleagues I am sharing what I call the 5 Ps of a successful doctoral research journey. These principles or rules can be helpful to all research scholars.

  1. Progressive research topic. Often management research is touted to lack the progressive nature or as path breaking as other traditional disciplines like science or technology are known for. In case of management research, it might still be possible to attempt a progressive research topic on a topic that you foresee to grow substantially in next five to ten years. Irrespective of whether you are from HR or Finance or Marketing, IT or Strategic Management, envisage the future and choose your research topic that would help you build a strong career as and when you accomplish the doctoral degree. Also, choosing a progressive research topic boosts the probability of publishing in a good quality journal.
  2. Process. Dwell and understand the complete research process during your course work. This will help you visualize the roadblocks you might face during the research process. So, while you move towards choosing a research topic, always make it a habit to see through the topic across various stages of process – be it literature review, data collection, data analysis and will the topic be accepted by the larger community whether academia or industry. Usually candidates make a mistake of dwelling deep into literature review, but miss to foresee how the data collection or analysis would span in future. Hence, it is essential to go deep and also come out of it regularly to see how next steps would result.
  3. Publication. A research that is not published is not respected. So, keep an eye on probable journals where you would want to target and build in the rigor in your research process to ensure you end up publishing there. Focus on the ABDC list which is widely accepted in academia. If you plan to build your career in academia soon after the doctoral program, publications will be very crucial to seek a place in a reputed institution.
  4. Punctuality. You have to be extremely careful of timelines. A good research does not mean you take endless time and default on timelines. It will also lead to frustration at your end. So, set intermediate milestones and try to achieve them without fail. Though the institution would drive you with strict schedule for various stages, it will also help to build in self-discipline by creating own milestones. Always plan your time for conference presentations (a good networking opportunity with fellow researchers), publication, industry interactions to get real life practical inputs etc.
  5. Purity. In the process of being more progressive, punctual and publication oriented don’t sacrifice the purity of research. Please maintain utmost level of ethical approach in your data collection and data analysis. It’s okay to say that your hypothesis wasn’t supported or the respondents think in 180 degree manner compared to what you thought initially, but don’t play around with data or try to force fit the data to meet your hypothesis. This will not only harm the sanctity of research, but also will eventually lead to a sub-standard work.

Let’s research efficiently and effectively.