Exhaustive PhD Proposal Research

Those of you who are desperately searching for where to start in PhD proposal research, I have good news. When I was dealing with the same problem, I found a solution but I want to give you a heads up: it’s exhausting as the name suggests. Below I’m listing the steps to take.

  1. Determine the keywords for your research. They should be as specific as possible because later on the filtering becomes less painful.
  2. Go to ISI – Web of Knowledge
    1. Search the keywords in Topic
    2. Filter the results
      1. Filter by Subject Areas
      2. Filter by Journal Name
    3. Save the output as tab-delimited text file (ABSTRACTS have to be kept)
    4. Go to sub-step 1 for remaining keywords
  3. Print the titles of articles. By now you should have a couple of thousands of article titles. Now after printing these titles, read each title one by one and write down the numbers of articles which you think are related with your research.
  4. Print the abstracts of selected titles. Now you need to read the abstracts of the selected articles and determine the related ones
  5. Print the full paper of the selected abstracts. Finally you will read the full papers.

If there are way too much papers than you can handle, try to change your keywords. If you cannot change the keywords, you may still order the papers with respect to how many times they are cited so you can extract the papers that have relatively more impact.


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