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Saving Yourself from PhD Stress

Saving Yourself from PhD Stress

PhD StressAre you feeling physically or mental exhausted with your daily academic work, or experiencing high levels of stress? You can relax as this is a part and parcel of any PhD course and cannot be avoided. This is not to suggest that PhD stress is not real and damaging to your personal well-being, but to make you aware that you are not the only one experiencing it.

At the same time, you must not ignore the warning signs of stress and try to keep working through it, as this will only worsen the situation.

So, are you experiencing any of the following stress signs?

  • Physical or mental exhaustion on a daily basis
  • Inability to focus on the immediate task
  • A general lack of motivation and drive
  • Constant fear and sense of helplessness
  • Constant tension or fear of the course workload
  • General feeling of not belonging to the high standards of a PhD program.

If you are experiencing most (or still worst, all) of these signs, it is probably a good time to relax and reduce your stress levels, by following the tips below:

Slow down
Remember that your PhD pursuit is a marathon race, and not a sprint. Slow down or take a complete break for a few days. Make a list of things to do and focus on the immediate things that have the highest priority. Breaking down a larger task into multiple subtasks can help you relax and reduce your stress.

Prepare yourself for things to go wrong.
Despite meticulous planning, things can go wrong at any stage of your PhD course. Do not blame this on yourself, as it has and will happen to the best of students. Engaging with the problem in hand and focussing always on the solution will ensure the success of your research project.

Managing the fear factor
Fear factor can be a major cause of stress. Fear can be at different levels. Are you fearing not being able to complete your PhD, or not being able to devote your time and focus on your PhD course? Understanding the level of your fear can help you in overcoming the same.

Live healthy
Doing a PhD course does not mean that you have to make drastic changes to a healthy lifestyle. Do not deprive yourself of your normal sleep, and stick to a healthy diet and plenty of water. You can also seek stress-related help from your family or close friends.

Writing a HYPOTHESIS of the Research

Writing a HYPOTHESIS of the Research

Being a PhD thesis writer, creating a hypothesis for your research study could be a bit tricky part. The hypothesis of the research can also be considered as a statement of predicting the results of the study.

Thus, when you frame a hypothesis always bear in mind that the statement should be

  • Objective
  • Testable
  • Linked with the variables of the study

Here, you should also remember that when you frame a hypothesis there are two statements which are framed simultaneously, in terms of Null hypothesis (symbolized as H0) and Alternate hypothesis (symbolized as H1).

In general terms, the Null hypothesis is a statement which is supposed to be ACCEPTED by the researcher and which is deemed to be the cause of the research. Whereas, the alternate hypothesis is the antithesis of the Null hypothesis (i.e. supposed to be REJECTED)!

For an instance, your study focuses on the subject of employee retention in an organization. In this study you are focusing on various factors which are responsible for retaining the employees in an organization. Thus, when you try to frame the hypothesis statement, you need to concretely define the variables of the study first.

By variables we mean that the variables have various categories such as: dependent variables; independent variables and control variables. The independent variable is the one which influences the dependent variable. The control variables are the ones which determine the conditions in which the dependent and independent variables interact with each other.

Continuing with the example mentioned above, here the independent variables would be the factors which influence the employee retention. Let’s say in your study, you chose these variables as:

  • Source of recruitment
  • Skills and job profile match and
  • Experience of the employee

Note of caution: Now understand that the variable Source of recruitment is also broadly defined. There could be numerous ways of recruiting the employee. Hence, you need to focus on this part as well because the influence of each source of recruitment in retention of employee may vary.

Sources of recruitment could be

  • campus placement;
  • online job portal;
  • recruitment agencies, and
  • advertisement in newspapers


Figure: Framework of Variables of the Research

Note of caution: Categorisi ng the broad variables into specific variables is crucial as the impact of distinct sources of recruitment could vary on the employee retention. If these sources would not be categorized then the research seems generalized and would loose on providing specific insights to the academicians and industry people.

After identifying and categorising the variables you can easily define the hypothesis statement which can be tested as well. The hypothesis statement would follow as:

Ha0: Sources of recruitment impact the retention of employee in an organisation

Ha1: Sources of recruitment does not impact the retention of employee in an organisation

The sub-hypothesis of the main hypothesis are:

Hb0: Employees chosen through campus placement tend to stay for long duration in an organisation

Hb1: Employees chosen through campus placement do not stay for long durations in an organisation

Hc0: Employees chosen through online portals tend to stay for long duration in an organisation

Hc1: Employees chosen through online portals do not stay for long duration in an organisation

Similarly you can frame the hypothesis for the other two variables in the similar manner…

Framing a hypothesis for your dissertation would become a cakewalk if you would follow these steps. Just like the other chapters and sections of your dissertation, the hypothesis statement acts as pillars for drawing conclusion.

Note of caution: If you would make incorrect assumptions (i.e. the predicting statement) then the aims, objectives and all your efforts being invested would go in vain.

Follow these steps to form an appropriate hypothesis for your dear dissertation.

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