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Useful books to read before starting PhD?

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There are numerous books out there about academic writing, surviving the PhD process, etc.  I’ve read through the Amazon reviews of a number of them, but I thought I would ask here if anyone has found any particular books useful?  I’m not talking about discipline-specific books, but more general guides, such as How to Write a Lot by Paul Silva.

I’m in the Health Sciences if that makes a difference (non-wet lab work) and both my future advisor and myself think I’ll be doing mixed methods research.

Thanks!

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I really like this book: https://www.amazon.ca/Marketing-Scientists-Shine-Tough-Times/dp/1597269948

It has been recommended to me (not me personally, but like our class) by several professors and I saw it on my advisor's shelf too. The author has an interesting history: he's a NASA astrophysicist who decided to also go professional with his country music. He learned all the marketing from his music business and picks out what might apply to academia to put into this book. You don't have to be a fan of country music or an astrophysicist to get useful stuff out of the book though---it's pretty general to all of scientific research.

If you do pick up this book, I'd have to say that the sections on giving effective and compelling presentations are the most useful. The sections on different archetypes is interesting but I'd caution against categorizing yourself or others into one of the many archetypes listed. I feel that some of them were just made up to fit the story better. Nevertheless, each of the archetypes presented does show a few important aspects of how you present yourself (i.e. "your brand") to your department, your community, the public, etc. and there are many things to keep in mind!

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Getting It PublishedHow to Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a DayThe Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, How Professors Think...

For methods, SAGE publications are my go-to standard. Cresswell has some good volumes. I also like Mixed Methods Research: A Guide to the Field by Clark and Ivankova.

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Good thread! A friend of mine who is ABD sent me The Professor is In as a congratulations present when I chose a school. She was required to read it as part of a job hunting class they have to take, and she said she wished she had read it sooner. I'm also reading Getting What You Came For, which is a bit dated in terms of technology but has a lot of very clear information about how a PhD is structured and how you can set yourself up for success.

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>http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4313037.aspx

How to publish high-quality research

 

I had to read this book at the start of my Master's. Really helped me actually with writing. I still sometimes go back to it if I'm stuck in a certain section (especially intro). I know some people liked it because it also gives tips on how to formulate research questions and the like.

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Thanks for all the recommendations so far!  I will need to check and see which ones I can borrow from the library (municipal or university) and which I want to purchase to have on hand.

I have my basic research proposal formulated (I needed to do so in order to apply for scholarships such as OGS) but it definitely needs to be refined (and will be over the summer, as my advisor wants me to apply for CIHR funding this fall).  And I still have one paper from my master’s that I should really edit in order to submit it to journals.

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You can also ask your advisor for recommendations on books when you start. I know that a few profs stock these books and are happy to lend them to their students!

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I'm also here to boost The Professor is In! I've been doing some pre-advising advising with my department head, and she gave me some outline examples from the blog. I've been recommended the book multiple times, and I'm about to start reading it. 

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