The 4Ps of Doctoral Study: Planning

One of the secrets of accelerating your progress toward your ultimate goal of earning a doctoral degree is to practice the 4 Ps.


I am not referring to Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, the 4 Ps of Marketing.


Rather, I am referring to an equally important list of Ps related to doctoral study—Planning, Persistence, Patience, and Participation.


In this article, I will discuss the first P—Planning. In, subsequent blog articles, I will discuss the other three Ps.


To complete your doctoral work expeditiously, you must have a good plan. Not a detailed plan, as it is impossible to predict when you will encounter obstacles on the road to your doctorate, but a broad plan. The plan must include an overarching vision of what you want to achieve, major milestones (with very tentative dates for their completion), and a rationale for how each major element of your program will contribute to your development as a scholar (in general) and to your doctoral study (in particular).


It is important that your overarching vision incorporate your goals, such as your desire to do high quality work, learn a lot, and complete your program expeditiously. This vision will serve as both a target and a magnet, if you make it compelling. Use it to motivate yourself when you feel you are not making the progress you desire. Use it keep yourself focused on the result you want so that you can keep distractions (such as life’s stresses and strains) from getting in your way. Above all, use it to inspire yourself to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it.


Move toward your vision. If something gets in your way, refocus on your vision, revise your plan as necessary to enable you to achieve your vision, and keep moving toward the vision.


In summary, be vision oriented, not event driven, and you will greatly enhance your chances of achieving your goal.

To learn more about the secrets to doctoral study success, read Student to Scholar and Dissertation Research.