The Pursuit of a PhD Resembles an Apprenticeship Model, So I’ll Share Some Thoughts Along the Way

I’ve started a journey to pursue a PhD in the area of behavioral finance. I am finding that the process of learning some of the ropes for a PhD resembles that many experience in consulting. Namely, a big component of the process is learning through apprenticeship. When pursuing a PhD, one has to synthesize a lot of tacit knowledge from many sources in order to develop facility and expertise. There’s a lot of explicit knowledge documented as well. Yet one trouble is how to sort through both tacit and explicit knowledge to find the relevant, quality stuff.

So I wanted to share some gems that I’ve found along the way on the journey to a PhD.

One thing that has been very helpful for me has been to take a research methods course (mine was oriented toward behavioral science). While research methods courses vary by underlying discipline, I found it helpful to learn in more detail about not only the scientific method but also philosophies, key technical approaches, and special topics.

And one gem of a book that I found for research design (with a slant toward behavioral science) is Research Design by John Creswell. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 4th Edition (9781452226101): John W. Creswell: Books. The book is a fairly quick read, and I found it very helpful as a reference for thinking about qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. I used the book quite a bit as I was formulating my thoughts on my first research proposal as part of the application to the PhD program. I imagine it would also be helpful for developing research proposals in commercial environments.

Another key book that was covered (as excerpts) during my research methods class was Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis by Robert Rosenthal and Ralph Rosnow. Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis: Robert Rosenthal: 9780071009461: Books

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