Part of the positive help that comes from exposing your text to a fairly wide range of commentators, from family or partners to supervisors, fellow students and wider seminar audiences, is that it can help counteract the development of disabling private standards of criticism.
Going out into the professional world at conferences is also generally encouraging for PhD students, since it tends to show you that standards there cover quite a broad range. Doctoral researchers normally cannot match the sweep of large-scale confirmatory research projects or the thematic ambition of major authors. But in terms of doing well-based and consistently-pursued research many PhD students can match or outclass most academics doing conference papers.
The important thing is to have a realistic image of your likely professional audience, one that encourages you to ‘see what may be thought against your thought’ in Nietzsche’s terms (from the epigraph to this chapter) without paralysing you from composing, developing and upgrading your text.
The book gives solid advice how to write a PhD. It is considered one of the best in the field. The purpose is not to read it from page 1 to 250, but to dip in and out, according to needs. This is why the book is somewhat modular in approach.
It is very important in the early stages of a PhD to understand how to build your research design and the research question. The book explains in detail every step, from research design to conclusions and defending the thesis.
The book is very useful for PhD candidates. It is pragmatic and full of good advice, although a bit too long and detailed at times. It is mostly directed to social sciences and humanities, but it applies to all fields.
The author, Patrick Dunleavy, talks from experience, sitting on various committees listening to students defending their thesis from various disciplines.
A good book for those who need it.