By Catherine Moore
Many of you are counting down the days till semester ends, eager to sit back and enjoy the sunshine before uni resumes in March 2013. Others will be agonising over their last assignment, resisting the intense urge to title it something obscene and congratulatory. For those graduating soon, the panic of ‘What now?’ has likely settled in as you wonder if you’re really ready to be a little fish in a big sea.
So have you ever thought of prolonging that huge dive and doing a PhD?
Professor Salman Sayyid from the Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, known for their research and initiatives in bridging the gap between these respective communities, offers some sound advice.
“I would encourage people to do PhDs in fields that they are passionate in,” he said.
“To do a PhD you have to love the thing you’re doing it on, or don’t do it because it’s three years and at the end of it you’ll bore everyone else if you don’t love it. “The second thing is you have to have a question. A PhD without a question; you won’t have an argument.”
However, Salman stresses that basing your PhD on a gap in the literature is not ideal. “The only reason there is a gap in the literature is because someone overlooked it,” he said.
“For example, I can probably say to you no one has done a PhD examining the trees in North Terrace with the trees in South Terrace. Just because there is a gap doesn’t mean it’s worth writing about.
“This is why finding a question is far more important than the gap. Questions will not always be answered finally and fully.
“So I think something that bothers you, something that doesn’t make sense to you, is a much better way of building a path to a PhD.”
Salman likens PhD research to a creative endeavour, similar to writing a novel or making a movie.
“There needs to be an inner conviction of what you want to do. If you don’t have that conviction then you need to push yourself hard enough to find that conviction,” he said.
To see what opportunities are available, contact your Program Director or Campus Central for more information.