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Thursday, December 22, 2011

10 Things Make Your be A Good Research Candidature

  1. Intelligence
    Intelligence (including academic ability, intellect, brightness and common sense) was the most common quality associated with the ideal graduate research candidate.
    "They need to be bright with a good dose of common sense for work in a research laboratory."
    "The best students are those who are bright enough and motivated enough to work independently and submit high quality prose." 
  2. Independence / Confidence
    The ability to work and think independently is one of the basic prerequisites for studying a research degree. Qualities associated with independence were confidence, initiative and the ability to take responsibility.
    "They should be able to work with minimal supervision, but that does not mean that the supervisor is not available for discussions on the research being undertaken."
    "Independence of thought is a key attribute that has to develop as the PhD progresses"
    "The student should ideally be able to work independently and develop their own questions and pursue their own lines of thought."
  3. Commitment
    Almost half of the supervisors mentioned commitment (to gain knowledge, to complete work or to do well) as the key to successful research degree completion. Other expressions illustrating commitment were perseverance, persistence, determination, dedication, tenacity, resilience and endurance.
    "The most important qualities a PhD candidate will need are perseverance and commitment, probably more so than raw intelligence."
    "All of the qualities are important for the student to get the most out of their research degree; but if they have a high level of commitment (I REALLY want to do this, and well) then the rest will usually follow".
  4. Literacy / numeracy
    Literacy, mostly described as good writing and language skills as well as the ability to express and organise ideas, is highly valued by most supervisors. Some supervisors also require their students to have essential statistical and mathematical skills.
    "I think that writing ability is very important - it wastes a lot of my time (and the student's) if we have to spend a lot of effort and time on correcting drafts."
    "Literacy is on the list simply because time pressures don't allow a student the luxury of a lack of writing skill to start with, however writing can be taught."
  5. Time management / organisational skills
    The ideal research degree student is organised, can plan their work, meets deadlines, pays attention to detail and meets regularly with supervisors. Overall they have good study and work habits.
    "A good student is one who works hard, plans their programme of work (with advice) and has the imagination to see the beauty and fascination of a research topic and then to write clearly and precisely about what he or she has discovered".
  6. Curiosity / ability to learn
    A valued quality in research degree students is intellectual curiosity and the willingness and ability to learn new things. This curiosity includes having an inquiring and open mind, as well as flexibility and adaptability.
    "A good graduate student is not necessarily the one with the top grades but the one who is willing to ask questions, to challenge what they are told but is also [able] to take advice".
    "The best students will also have real intrinsic curiosity about the world and about their project".
    "The ideal thesis student for me is someone who brings a strong sense of intellectual curiosity to their project and who is willing and able to translate that curiosity into a dedicated course of study".
  7. Enthusiasm and passion
    A successful student is enthusiastic, passionate and has a deep interest in the subject or research.
    "For me, the desire to do research and a passion for the field of inquiry are key, but they are not the only things needed."
    "Although academic background is essential it is not sufficient in the absence of dedication and enthusiasm and communication skill".
    "In my opinion the most important properties are a commitment to work hard, and when problems are encountered to be able to look at them from many angles and find logical solutions. Generally these traits will only come with a strong passion for the work they are doing".
  8. Ability to think
    The ability to think refers to the capacity to develop necessary research skills including the ability to analyze, synthesize, conceptualise, develop an argument and think critically. Ideal students can think broadly ('get the big picture'), laterally and logically.
    "An ideal student is marked by an ability to think, ask questions, and look for the answers in research, and be prepared to write and argue about them (in writing and with supervisors)".
    "The student should be able to think both at the metalevel and at the object level, in other words both about the general coarse-grained aspects of relevance and broad patterns, and at the fine-grained level of intricate details".
  9. Hard working/ diligence
    Studying a research degree requires diligence and hard work. Strong work ethics, discipline, focus, efficiency and professionalism are all necessary for successful study and research.
    "PG study is hard work and dedication. Having a life while studying is also important. The best students have a balance to their lives where they work hard but enjoy their time at university too."
    "Hard working and paying attention to supervisors' advice are highly required."
  10.  Motivation
    Good research students have strong reasons for pursuing a PhD or Master's degree; they are ambitious and highly motivated to learn new things and get a graduate degree.
    "I think one reason why so many students take too long to complete is because they are not pursuing a PhD for the right reason (or for any reason at all)"
    "Self-motivation is the essential ingredient that will help make even the more challenged students successful."
    "Although high-intelligence (good exam marks) are required prior to commencing graduate research I would rate motivation as the most important factor".
    "A candidate for a PhD must WANT to do it, and be a self-starter"


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