The Person, Not Just the Process

by | June 18, 2012

Throughout the dissertation, a great deal of attention is paid to the conceptualization, review and conduct of the research study. The emphasis is often placed on the development of the manuscript document itself. Yet, the decision to pursue a doctorate extends to something far greater. It is, after all, the highly-valued skills, knowledge, competencies and attributes of the individual, a successful researcher/future PhD, which stands as representative of our unique contribution(s) to a chosen field. It is in taking this journey that we are all distinctively challenged to develop our own intellectual abilities and take control of our own personal (not just academic) development.

In my day to day work, the importance of self-development and needs assessment is often the single most important step in determining a best course of action. Yet, it is also the step often given the least amount of attention. Certainly, one must be attentive to the task, whether that the completion of a smaller task, the dissertation, or even the degree at large. It is, however, equally important that we consider the task in relation to your current needs and growth as a scholar. Whether it found in the domain of theoretical or methodological knowledge or the skills encompassing scientifically sound research; we are all growing in our proficiency and experience as scholars.

So as you continue your journey, be mindful not only of your effort to develop a scholarly written work, but be mindful of your development as a scholar. Be patient with yourself, as your path is not pre-determined. And remember, the journey is not simply about completing a written work, but an investment in your own development.

While not all-encompassing, consider your proficiency in the following areas:

Awareness – You demonstrate an understanding of your research and field.

Leadership – You possess the skills required to lead and deliver.

Interpersonal Skills – You have a deep understanding of how one’s behavior impacts others and respond perceptively to others.

Written and Oral Communication – You are able to construct clear and coherent arguments appropriate to purpose.

Project Management – You apply effective project management through the prioritization of activities as they relate to your research goals.

Drive and Motivation – You demonstrate self-discipline, motivation and persistence.

Problem Solving – You demonstrate the ability to think critically and to develop creative, thoughtful solutions.

Data Analysis – You demonstrate the ability to critically analyze and evaluate data.