What did you achieve in Year 1 of your PhD?


Just wondered what major milestones people here got to in the first years of their PhDs? I know everyone's different, but the reason I'm asking is that my supervisor seems to get more and more anxious every time I see him, and he's just told me it's 'nearly time to worry'.

I'm eight months into mine. I'm currently working on my lit review and methodology chapters, have piloted my study materials and am in the middle of trying to recruit people for my study (the source of supervisor's anxiety). I had my first-year review a few weeks back, with positive feedback and was told I was on course.

By contrast, my supervisor is telling me that study results are 'a must by the end of first year'. I don't wish to disregard his expertise, but I feel as if he's seeing my PhD as a sprint rather than a marathon. I have heard that universities are getting more and more inclined to see PhDs as 'three years and not a minute more' and I wonder if this is where he's coming from. Thing is, I would very much like to complete before my funding runs out as well, but I'm not exactly in agreement with him that I need to be panicking yet.


I think he is maybe panicking a little. I'm assuming you are doing interviews or similar? It is difficult to benchmark what should be done when but would you be able to test out your methods soon?

By the end of my first year I had developed my literature review and methodology and had piloted my methods with some participants. So really you are just about at the same stage.

Could you maybe demonstrate that you have firm participants signed up? Or at least a good plan for who/when/what? I think eight months is early to be panicking about progress to be honest.


I've done lots of reading, lots and lots and lots of reading, changed my mind and direction a few times to make sure my gap in the literature was a sound one nad then methods I want to use address the problem Re-wrote a proposal, did some piloting. I've not wrote anything like literature review or methodology chapter or started to get results! I've not even been through ethics yet. If you are on course with the timescale you gave in your proposal then I think you are ok.


Thanks both. CR1980 - yes, I am going to be collecting data from groups of people and running some workshops with them. I am at the stage where I can run the first study as soon as I have participants signed up - I think what is panicking my supervisor is that participation has not happened as easily or instantly as he would like (it's a very specific group of people I need as my participants, and there is a bit of relationship-building needed to gain access to these people via services they use).

I do think, from having watched my supervisor deal with his own research, that his style is to panic when things aren't straightforward, and to relax when they seem to be sorting themselves out again. This is very different from my own reaction, which is to keep an eye on deadlines but not to panic. I think I'm going to have to find a way of always having some 'progress' to show him, to keep him from expressing anxiety every time we talk!


Agree with Wowzers - lots and lots of reading, practicing and refining protocols, research questions etc. I did manage to generate some preliminary data at about 14 months in, but have been analyzing/interpreting/writing up this data ever since and I am now 18 months in. I have now planned my next study that will soon start and I hope to have this finished by the end of year 2. Other than that I have presented my initial work to my sponsors and in my department at the university. Hope this helps!