Dissertation writing is a tough issue. Many of our readers asked us about “finding the right advisor” for their theses. Some doctoral programs even require you to have a thesis advisor before they accept you as a doctoral student. Having a prospective advisor’s consent to guide you through the thesis writing process is not a bad thing though – it requires you to have a plan right from the beginning.
As every case is individual, there is no general advice that works for everyone, but the checklist below might get you started:
1. Find your field
As long as you don’t clarify this one, there’s no need to proceed any further. Sorry to be a bit harsh, but doing your homework in advance can save you a lot of time and disappointment later. Ask the right questions first. What exactly is your research about?
2. Identify the experts of your field
Every field has at least 10 top experts worldwide. Find them all. Your chosen experts can be located anywhere. You are most likely to communicate with them via e-mail and you may never meet them in person.
3. Contact them for advice
Ask each one of them one focused question only, for example in connection to writing a paper on a specific topic. (“Foot in the door”)
4. Keep in touch
Get back to them on a “healthily regular” basis (not too often, not too rarely). As soon as the personal connection is established and there is a ground for cooperation, ask them for more support. If you come up with reasonable issues which they also find interesting, they will respond, even if they are very busy. If you come up with boring “amateur” issues, they are not likely to respond, even if they are not busy.
5. Respect their time
Top experts are occupied by their own activities, hence their time is scarce and valuable. They will not be willing to share their time with you unless your “value proposition” seems to be worth their time.
Good luck hunting! ?
Share your personal experience in the comments!