feeling down


Hello all,

I am feeling terribly down because my work is progressing at such a slow pace! I feel like I may need a whole decade to do this research! :(

I know this is a sign that my research is too broad, but I don't know what to do!


I too get tempted to flirt with tangential topics linked to my research, however I plan to leave the "broad" stuff for my lit review as I am setting the scene for my research. Where your actual research is concerned, stick to the case study/studies you have chosen to explore leaving any correlations to other topics for your discussion and conclusion. It just takes a bit of discipline, and for sure have clearly defined deadlines as you go, because you can easily cannibalize other important sections of your PhD (time-wise) if you get carried away.


Hi 29200

I'm sorry you feel down- I felt down as well during my first year as I struggled to narrow down my topic. I don't know what's your field, but here's what I'd do:

1. If you feel your topic is too broad now, consider performing a case study. In social sciences, for example, if you're briefly looking at topic X, try to examine X in the context of a country Y, or a specific time period across a panel of countries.
2. In the nat sciences I'm sure there'd be ways of taking an existing theoretical framework and applying to another situation.

Otherwise, try to read on a related topic that can be narrowed down more and for which you can actually find data (I cannot emphasise that latter point more emphatically). As for speed, set yourself deadlines and don't break them!! Wish I knew more about your topic I could've been more specific


From a Humanities perspective, looking back, I would spend a good month just narrowing information down as much as possible into a set of bullet points which fill nothing longer than an A4 page. Out of this, eventually, you'll find where the main problem you wish to address is, and you'll have an inkling about your own position/answer to it. That's the point at which you'll truly start researching anything and you will constantly have to resist the temptation to slip back into trying to address everything you noticed and put down on that page.