PhD Reading Tips That Can Actually Help Your Research

By | April 9, 2019

PhD reading tips for all Ph.D. doctoral scholars for getting success with your research.

  • Love your Ph.D. books and reading itself.
  • Choose a right and relevant book that suits.
  • Follow skim and scan techniques.
  • Underline important points while reading.
  • Note taking while reading a Ph.D. book is a good habit.
  • Reflect on the article after reading a while.
  • Read calmly and loudly at particular intervals.
  • Increase reading speeds as time pass by.
  • Read different books on the same topic.

Love what you are reading. This is a very important rule while reading any book. If you do not love and like about your research area of interest how can one read it effectively? Try to use skimming and scanning techniques for the first 10 minutes just to see what is exactly taking place with the book that you are reading. So here is my list of 25 amazing tips on Ph.D. reading.

  • Choose the right book relevant to your PhD Reading

The initial challenges faced by an aspiring Ph.D. candidate is getting their application accepted, and it significantly pertains the nature of the proposal that relies on the topic chosen by the scholar.

It is essential that the scholar ensures that they choose a research topic that is relevant to a complex societal problem in need of effective solutions.

It requires extensive research on the same using advanced researching techniques whereby the researcher must ensure that they make use of resources that have relevant and credible information.

While choosing the book(s) for research, the scholar should ensure that the right materials are selected written by reputable authors.

Therefore among the things that the researcher must consider is the book’s relevance to the research topic, the credibility of the author and the extensiveness of the book’s research. These PhD reading tips will benefit you a lot if you do it regularly.

It should cover a wide range of interdisciplinary fields that are directly linked to the research topic. Also, the source(s) must be published in reputable journals.

  • Never start PhD Reading from the first page (try the skim scan technique)

Another factor I want to bring about PhD reading tips is that many scholars are tempted to read the whole book while researching which may not be ideal given that one is required to conduct detailed research. As a result, the scholar is advised to make use of the skim scan technique.

The technique is helpful because it enables the scholar to cover a wide range of sources in search of relevant information. Not only is it possible to go through many sources, but also it saves a lot of time.

It is notable that many candidates are faced with a time limitation, and some of them are forced to request an extension of the PhD. program.

The skim scan technique enables the researcher to identify research sources that have the most relevant information and also those that are rich in content on the topic.

Therefore, the technique is important in saving the scholar significant time and also enabling them to identify sources that have the best content regarding the research topic.

  • Hold Pen or pencil an underline while doing PhD reading

After the scholar has identified a good book for reading, the scholar as advised is recommended to use the skim scan technique. The technique enables the candidate to locate good information easily and quickly.

Once the content has been identified, it is recommended that the candidate underlines the content using a pencil or a pen. Some may be tempted to put too much trust in their mental capacity and assume that they will be able to recall all of the information.

However, this is contrary to how the brain works because it is 100% certainty that the scholar will not remember almost 50% of the information.

The reason for underlining content is to enable the scholar to revisit the data and remind themselves of the important points that should be included in the dissertation.

We recommend the scholar always to ensure that they have a pen or pencil for underlining strong points that support the main ideas as well as supporting ideas.

  • Do not read while dreaming something (it is research, not newspaper)

Other PhD reading tips include like that of research which seems like an easy task that one can complete without much hassle but that kind of attitude may tempt the researcher to think the dissertation process is a walk in the park.

On the contrary, research is an intensive process that requires a lot of concentration and hard work. The candidate is required to invest long hours in research by exhibiting a high level of commitment to the work.

Writing a dissertation comes out as challenging since scholars have to balance education with other aspects of personal life. Other factors such as personal commitments and work may make it difficult for the researcher to concentrate on their paper fully. It results in the scholar writing a paper that does not meet the requirement which is dangerous. Lack of commitment compromises the quality of the paper and may result in the candidate failing.

  • Note taking is part of PhD Reading

PhD reading tips on note making. The recommended use of a pen or pencil is not only important for underlining content found in books but also useful in taking notes.

It is inappropriate to underline content in different books and think that is enough. The noted points that touch on the research topic should be written on a separate piece of paper preferably a book.

Note-taking is an equally important process since it facilitates reading because one cannot write something without reading the content.

Although the process may not be as direct as one may desire, reading content and summarizing in the form of notes enable the scholar to remember the content compared to another that does not take notes.

We highly recommend the PhD. candidate to develop a habit of taking notes every time they are reading. It is vital because it ensures that essential information is recorded at the researcher’s mind and also written separately where it can be accessed easily and quickly.

  • Always follow a reflective style of PhD Reading

There are various modes of reading adopted by readers, but the most recommended one for PhD. candidates are reflective reading.

Essentially, this type of reading is the best because it has many advantages to the researcher. One of the merits is that it enables the reader to understand better the content intended for the audience by the author.

A reflective reader asks themselves questions such as what they have learned and how they can relate the information to real-life situations.

The content can be related to personal experiences or experienced by people that the reader knows such as friends, colleagues or family members.

Another important aspect is that reflective reading enables the reader to arrange content in their minds chronologically.

It enables the reader to identify the problem(s), note the causes as well as the solutions. It ensures that the scholar can connect the events or theories to the causes and solutions and also determine whether the recommended solutions are sufficient.

It is through reflective reading that the candidate can come up with innovative and creative solutions to complex problems.

  • Choose the time to read and finish in time your PhD Reading

In another article, discussed that a timetable is essential to the researcher because it enables them to allocate available time effectively.

One of the resources that have been identified as insufficient for a Ph.D. candidate is time. It is important for the scholar to plan their time properly since it enables timely completion of the research paper.

By using a schedule, a researcher can categorize the dissertation process in stages or plans that must be realistic and achievable.

When we consider proper allocation of time to the reading process, it means that the researcher should set aside reading hours so that they do not conflict with other activities.

It is essential because it allows the scholar to concentrate on their dissertation and therefore puts them in a position whereby they can write a good paper that can be published in a reputable journal and also meet the university’s expectation.

  • Increase your PhD Reading speed in the long run( not possible all of a sudden)

Reading can be a challenge to scholars given that they are required to balance the activity with other commitments. Some candidates find it difficult to cover a lot of content within a specified amount of time and some end up demoralized.

Others on the hand can read many books within the same time-frame and therefore find it easy to write research papers. It should be noted that reading is not the only process that counts but also understanding the content.

Therefore, reading speed also involves the degree of understanding of the content, and it varies among different scholars.

However, the scholar must know that reading speed like any other activity increases with frequency and practice. Scholars should not be discouraged when they feel that their reading speed is snail-like and instead they should continue reading to improving their reading process.

The speed that a scholar develops depended on how committed and dedicated they are, and it enhances with time.

  • Observe Vocabulary and Sentence Construction While PhD Reading (Helpful for your thesis)

Different fields have specific terminologies that must be accounted for in the thesis. Regardless of the field, it is necessary that the scholar notes how the sentences are constructed and also make a point of observing the vocabulary used.

It not only assists the candidate to understand the weight of the content but is also a useful tool in writing the thesis.

The scholar should ensure that terminologies that are linked to the topic or field of study must be included in the research paper.

It is vital in the writing process because it enables the student to show that they have a proper understanding of their topic as well as the field.

  • Read loudly sometimes for a change in PhD Reading style

There are many venues that the scholar may choose for the reading process, and while some may not facilitate loud reading, it is a technique that can prove beneficial.

It is tempting to perceive that loud reading may be slower than reading silently but it has advantages. Most of the time when one is reading loudly, they may find that repeating sentences is more encountered.

However, it leads to better comprehension of the content and therefore ensures that the scholar is not reading to cover more content but understands the author’s message.

Loud reading enables the scholar to enhance their reading and listening skills and increase their vocabulary. A loud reader has a better command of intonation and also benefits the body through practice.

A loud reader exhibits more focus on whatever they are reading, and therefore they are good at concentrating on their thesis.

  • Cultivate interest (You cannot do PhD Reading without interest)

Deciding between pursuing a doctorate requires taking the time to consider whether one will be able to complete the process successfully and should therefore not be rushed.

The first thing that a candidate should consider is the topic and the field that they intend to write their research paper.

One of the basic elements in cultivating interest in the topic so that the scholar does not consider the dissertation process as a burden.

Interest in the topic enables the scholar to consider research as an opportunity to expand their knowledge on the field that they have majored in while as an undergraduate or a Masters student.

Interest cultivates a positive attitude, and therefore the scholar finds the reading process enjoyable, unlike the one that has little or no interest in the topic.

The latter lacks the incentive to read and therefore considering reading as difficult and even time-wasting.

  • Appreciate yourself with a reward after PhD Reading

The fruits of a Ph.D. title is not easy to come by and may take years before the scholar feels that their efforts are rewarded. It is notable that a research paper requires a lot of input regarding time and physical resources.

There may occur many instances when the scholar may feel that they are not getting returns, but such an attitude must be avoided at all cost. After hours of reading, it is inevitable that the scholar may feel exhausted.

At times, one cannot avoid the feeling that they have comprehended or sometimes not understood the desired amount of content. Either way, it is essential for the candidate to reward themselves after hours of reading to relax their mind.

There are many ways of rewarding oneself such as making personal time to do what you love such as taking a field trip, going out or even shopping for those who enjoy the activity.

For others, they may choose to hang out with friends, but the point is that the scholar should identify an activity that they like and go for it.

  • Do some eye exercises regularly (stress eye cannot read)

Reading large volumes of content from different sources can be laborious, and times one becomes physically and mentally tired.

One of the side effects of long hours of reading is that the eyes may become strained and therefore make it impossible to read. Therefore, it is essential for the reader to relax their eyes by exercising them on a regular basis.

There are many ways of exercising the eyes such as trying to focus one’s view on distant objects. It counters the effect of focusing on nearby objects such as books while reading.

The candidate may also opt for other techniques such as the long swing, exploring the periphery and sunning and skying among others.

  • Tell others to read it for you and listen (not more than 10 minutes)

The most important Ph.D. reading tips are becoming apart from reading for themselves, the scholar may find it useful to use assistance from other people such as friends and family members. Another excellent reading tip is requesting someone else to read out loud as the candidates listen.

This is a good technique that enables the scholar to concentrate on the content more as they direct their energy on listening and actively trying to understand the author’s intended message to the reader.

However, this technique is not encouraged for a long duration, and we recommend a maximum of ten minutes. Part of the reason is that one can get distracted easily and therefore easily lose concentration.

  • Explain and discuss what you have read with a friend

An effective way of retaining what one has read is through discussing what has been learned and it achievable by explaining and discussing the same with a friend. When one reads any given content, the information retained by the mind after the process can never be 100%.

The situation is worsened as time elapses and therefore it is easy to forget more than half of the content since the human brain stores such information temporarily.

To prevent loss of data, discussing and explaining what has been learned with someone else enables the data to be stored permanently and information retention can be enhanced by revisiting the content later as the scholar deems necessary.

  • Write difficult words on the page itself (Many benefits) while PhD Reading

As mentioned earlier, every field of study has specific terminologies that must be included in the thesis. Care should be taken to ensure that such terminologies and difficult words are noted.

The best way to do this is to write them on the page where they are located. This not only enables the scholar to remember to use them in the dissertation but also ensures that they understand the terms as they have been used the original author in context.

Writing on the individual page makes it easier to locate the words while writing the research paper.

  • Check whether you have Dyslexia& Attention Deficit

These are conditions that affect many people including scholars who may find it difficult to concentrate on their reading. Such conditions may pose a threat to a doctorate student especially because they are required to deal with large volumes of data.

People suffering from the condition find it difficult to concentrate on what they are reading and are easily distracted. They are neurological conditions that we recommend the scholar to find out if they suffer from the same and if so, proper treatment should be administered as soon as the condition(s) are detected.

It is worth noting that the scholar is required to defend their thesis and therefore such conditions are obstacles that should be eliminated.

  • Keep Oxford Dictionary beside you while PhD Reading

Reading for a research paper means checking out books and journals written by other scholars and therefore it is certain that one will find new lexers.

To facilitate a comfortable reading process, we recommend that the scholar must have an Oxford Dictionary at all times while reading. A dictionary is essential because it enables the reader to look up the meaning of new terms so that they can understand how they have been used in the text.

Otherwise, it is useless to read large volumes of content and not understand what is discussed in the same.

  • PhD Reading on a mobile screen and TV screen (not always book reading)

Unlike traditional reading that was only on paper, technological advancements have revolutionized the reading process, and the modern society can find data and read on electronic equipment such as mobile devices, Television, PCs, and laptops.

We recommend the scholar to enhance their reading experience through using such devices. It is not necessary that reliable sources are only found on paper since there are eBooks in reputable databases where such books can be accessed.

Furthermore, all universities have library databases that the scholar can identify with the help of the supervisor. Using such devices improves the learning process and makes it more enjoyable thus aiding the candidate to develop a positive attitude towards reading.

Besides, it is easier to find the desired content on electronic devices since they have search engines search as Bing and Google.

  • Sometimes walk while PhD Reading

The traditional way of reading is while seated but it does not mean that one cannot read while doing other activities such as walking or even exercising.

Depending on the scholar’s cognitive ability, it is advisable to develop a habit of reading while walking. This process is more effective when using mobile devices since it is possible to access content on the go.

One of the benefits of reading while walking is that it is possible to tend to the dissertation whenever the scholar feels. For instance, the candidate may remember something that they feel they did not understand fully or may develop a new idea.

It is easier and efficient to research on the contentious issue(s) on a mobile device anytime, anywhere and even read about the same while walking.

  • Choose always one place or position to PhD Reading

When setting up a schedule for reading, we recommend that the scholar choose one location when they are not reading while walking.

Not only is reading physical, but it is also an intensive mental process that requires the mind to be completely relaxed. A relaxed mind is capable of learning new concepts and also retaining information compared to one that is not settled.

The dissertation process takes a lot of time, and as we recommended in another article, the candidate should be ready to adapt to a routine that must be strictly followed.

Choosing one location or position enables the body to program itself so that when the scholar is at the location, the body knows that it is time for reading and therefore one can be psychologically prepared.

  • Try to do PhD Reading twice always with a certain gap (for thorough understanding)

It is not easy for one to understand everything that has been read at the first time and therefore it is vital that the scholar develops a habit of reading twice the same content at different occasions which should be separated at a given interval.

This practice is important because it enables the scholar to comprehend the reading material better and improve their cognitive ability.

By reading the same content at least twice, the scholar can thoroughly understand the information, and therefore they are in a position to write a good research paper and also defend the dissertation when they are required to do an oral presentation.

Besides, revisiting the same material improves retention of content, and therefore the researcher can relate material read previously with new material that they encounter as the thesis progresses.

  • PhD Reading in your mind while on the bed ready for sleeping

Before the scholar goes to sleep every day after reading, it is recommended that they should develop a habit of measuring what they have learned during the day before sleeping. Fortunately, this is part of reflective reading and facilitates reflective learning.

The basic idea is that the candidate tries to remember what they have learned by asking themselves questions and answering. The practice is beneficial in that it enhances data retention since it is a form of revising what has been read.

Furthermore, candidates that practice this activity can identify the areas that may not have been properly understood thus they can note them down and revisit the same later.

  • Connect with the information to your old one during PhD Reading

As stated earlier in the article, reflective reading comes with advantages such as connecting what has been read in a book. It is essential for a researcher to possess this quality since it is a requirement that the thesis must be coherent, precise and chronological.

One of the reasons why one is recommended to take notes is to enable them to identify the main and supporting ideas.

Therefore, it is easy to connect information collected from different sources and present one paper that addresses the research topic. It is also essential that the scholar connects what they learned previously to the new findings.

  • Ask always questions like “how” “when” and “why.” during PhD Reading

It should be noted that reflective reading involves the reader attempting to engage actively with the author by asking themselves questions such as “why,” “how” and “when.” Such questions stimulate the researcher’s mind, and therefore they become curious and want to find out more about what they are reading.

Also, when the reader asks themselves such questions, they become more creative and innovative thus making the reading process active.

Reflective reading makes the scholar interested in their research topic and therefore develop a positive attitude towards reading for the Ph.D.

  • Extra Strong PhD Reading tips

Reading your PhD books involves a lot of struggle. It must really enhance the possibilities of making your life to the extent that you will have to get knowledge out of that. If your aim is not knowledge, then you will not be in a position to read effectively. Once you do with this type of understanding that you must get knowledge after reading, then your way of reading will change slowly.

This reading is completely based upon your background reflection and thought. When we see some philosophers and writers, they are very particular about reading in different angles correlating with some codes. The reading must be fairly advanced and you cannot just read and go on. You must really make sure that your reading is based upon some other thing happening in the background

What is this background? This background while reading is some traditional knowledge that is reflected while reading the present book or a novel. So your reading while doing Ph.D. is something linked with traditional knowledge. In order to understand the text, you must first understand the tradition of that book. How the knowledge developed throughout the generations. This is what I want you all to know and apply while reading.

Sometimes there are chances that you really do not know such traditional knowledge. Do not read any book if you do not have some background about that particular topic. First, try to read from the scratch understanding the basic lessons of tradition about that particular topic. This way you can perform well in a variety of reflections and various dimensions of the knowledge.

Once you have these various dimensions of understanding something, then you will get success in your Ph.D. This course is all about decoding certain text and trying to interpret in your own style. So You must interpret very logically about how much you can grasp through certain text. So while reading it is not the line in the book that you are reading but you are reading all the tradition from the past.

This past is very important to decode the text that you read. Now what happens is that you will be in a position to write your thesis or dissertation effectively. You can win the impression from the text to proceed to learn and interpret thing in order. This is the whole thought process behind reading the text.

So when you start reading your Ph.D. books, you must consider this traditional knowledge that I have been speaking throughout this article. You must read with full of traditional knowledge.

The second dimension that I want to remind you that when you read, do it full-time reading and not any part-time. What is full time reading? This is the reading that you do for almost 5 hours continuously without any break not more than 15 minutes in an hour. This is what I mean by full time reading.

But unfortunately for Ph.D. students, full-time reading is very far knowledge. Many students just study for some time and continue the reading whenever they are free. In this way, you will never get any type of benefit or growth. You will never get any ideas with such way of reading. And one more factor about Ph.D. reading tips is about Part-time reading of books.

What is Part time reading? The part-time reading of a novel or a book is just this that you read once in a while. Now how can you just do this during your Ph.D. is a tough question to ask yourself. You cannot really read that way because it does not give you any way to reflect and understand and decode the text. You cannot be in a position to interpret in your own style.

So while reading I advice to all the PhD students, PhD candidates, Ph.D. applicant, PhD aspirant and all who are pursuing now your Ph.D. studies to know that reading is something outside the text and mind. Your first knowledge first passes your mind and goes outside and connect with the tradition and comes back. Here starts your interpretation of the text in your own way.

This interpretation of the text will lead to the discovery of newer things. This we call “research.”

Reading through concentration is the third dimension that I want to speak today. This means when you read there are high possibilities that you will stray away from the point of view. You will be in a tough situation to get real knowledge. Only your words pass through your mouth and your mind does not really grasp on your reading.

So while reading, your concentration plays its own high strength of role to give you a fuller understanding of what you are reading. That is why I tell you not to just read with your mouth but rather read with your heart. Reading with your heart is the final and best step rather just reading with your lips.

How to read with your heart? For this, you need to do some meditation techniques on how to hold your mind on one thing for a longer period of time. Once you practice holding your mind on only one thing for at least 10 minutes, then you can get this.

Practice once in a day taking any object and doing some practice. Just concentrate. This exercise will give you reading abilities. You can read a text for up to 45 minutes comfortably. You will never struggle with a lack of concentration. You will read and understand with your mind all the text. So think well and concentrate well while you read any bool during your Ph.D.

Reading your Ph.D. books involves one more dimension as a fourth one. This is the dimension that will ask you whether are you reading the right book or not. Whether are you reading the book that is related to your subject. If you do not choose the right book, then whatever you read will not give much fruit to you. If will not give you much knowledge in your subject area.

Ultimately you need to become an expert in your subject. But how can it become possible when you read the wrong book which is not related to your area of research. So my suggestion is first to select the right book with which you can read interestingly. Interest and love for the book are very important. If you do not have a love for the book that you are going to read, how can you read it happily and with concentration?

You have to note this point seriously in your heart on how you will read a book without love for it. If you are not able to love the book that you read, then My advice to all the Ph.D. students is not to go for reading at all. Just leave it.

Another dimension on my way to Ph.D. reading tips is that never read a book when you are utterly disappointed or disgusted with some incident in your personal life. Give some time to your mind to be normal. Only then start reading. While reading a book, if you have some quarrels with your friends, you cannot concentrate. You cannot put your mind at work for reflection.

The last dimension that I want to speak is that using your pen while reading. Try to use your pen or pencil to underline the important aspect that strikes you. This is the best method you can follow. When you finish reading all the book, you will have to make another attempt to read again shortly. This time you will not read the full text but rather you will just read only those lines that you have underlined. These Ph.D. reading tips are from my own experience.

You will only read the main points that you had marked while reading some days ago. These main points will give you all the gist of the book. You can send all the knowledge to the long-term memory. You can store information in your memory perfectly. There is not a chance of forgetting what you have marked with your pen while reading.

So practice all these efforts to gain some reading abilities within you. These reading tips will be helpful not only to your Ph.D. but for all other goals of reading throughout your life. These tips will give you some understanding on how to start reading effectively without much confusion of how to read.

It is all lies within your heart. If you say yes to an effective reading and reflective reading and slow reading(initially), you can come up with smart reading skills that will give success in many assignments and research papers and thesis submissions.

These Ph.D. reading tips will also help you to finish your Ph.D. confidently and successfully.