Is it only me or...?


Hello everyone,

I am thinking of applying for a PhD in 2013 in the area of Psychology/Psychoanalysis. However, I am really struggling to find a research question that is interesting enough to be answered and worth of a PhD study. Moreover, when I find an interesting question, after doing some bibliographical research, I find that someone has already studied the theme or even wrote a long book about it (even if it is a books out of print written in the 1930´s).

I believe this has to do with my own personality because it would be much more easier if someone gave me a research question that I could find interesting enough to develop in a PhD. Otherwise, I feel paralysed by the infinite horizon of possible themes and questions and I will end up doing nothing. Perhaps I am not intelligent enough to do a PhD but I know that once I am able to overcome the struggle with the initial theme/question that I will do fine.

How easy it is for one to come with an interesting and worth of doing a PhD and get accepted by an University? Do you believe there are still some unanswered questions? I am just being too demanding on myself? Can anyone share their experiences?
Thank you so much for your thoughts.


Perhaps you could look for a project-based studentship instead? I completed one of those myself in psychology. Basically my supervisor came up with a research question and I worked on it as the basis of my PhD. It is not for everyone though - I found I wasn't too motivated by the topic in the end as it wasn't something I felt really passionate about, and hence it was very tricky to sit down and write my thesis. Have a look at one of the sites advertising for PhDs and see if there is something there you fancy having a go at.

Avatar for lemonjuice

The easiest way is to find recent journal articles relevant to what you want to study and check their limitations and future areas for research in the discussions. If you get 3 or 4 that were published in 2012 or even 2013 you could start to build up a picture of what is missing in the literature. That's what I did, was easy :)