Over the past two months I have been putting together my second year PhD assessment. This is an internal requirement for my PhD. The assessment involves submitting a ‘paper’ with my PhD results in the style of a journal appropriate to my research subject.
I grumbled a lot about doing this. I didn’t really see the point of being forced to create conclusions for results that weren’t quite finished yet. I also heard a lot of reports from others that they completed their assessment and received no feedback, and therefore thought that the whole process was a waste of time.
I found, in practice, that doing the assessment was actually very useful. It is useful to spot holes in the research that I have carried out. It was also a welcome opportunity to pull diagrams and figures together properly and think about different aspects of my research work, bringing them together as one. I was also pleasantly surprised to receive feedback about my report from my advisor this week. It is very reassuring to know that an ‘outsider’ has taken a look at the work and deemed it to be on track and of a good quality.
So my advice, although it may be hard work, time consuming and a bit of a pain.. make sure you take part in any of the assessments available to you. If there aren’t any available, suggest one. Or if you find there are flaws in the one you have been asked to do, suggest how it can be made better. It’s not productive to sit grumbling to yourself at your desk and worrying if the work you are doing is any good.