Thinking Tools: Navigating A 3-Year PhD Journey
by Rahinah Ibrahim
Partridge Publishing Singapore

"This book aims to be an easy guidebook for those embarking on a PhD journey."

This self-help volume is aimed "specifically for students in developing and underdeveloped countries" who are non-native English speakers in three-year Ph.D. programs, such as the author's graduate students in Malaysia. However, the book will likely be a godsend for Ph.D. candidates of any culture who are struggling with the technicalities of doctoral study. Two decades ago, Professor Ibrahim's supervisory committee at Stanford University did not approve her doctoral research question after three years of hard work. When she successfully completed her Ph.D. and returned to her teaching position, she reviewed what she had done to rectify her mistakes. She developed a methodology to devise the EAGLE Table (an acronym for "Excellence Accelerator for Grounded Learning Environment), an ingenious and innovative research design framework that has been tested on many sets of students, documented, and peer-reviewed.

The author presents her information logically and systematically in five parts containing thirteen chapters meticulously divided with numbered subtitles for easy reference. The narrative is precise though non-academic and easy for novice candidates to understand and systematically implement the described steps. Ibrahim helpfully explores doctoral challenges, misconceptions about research, how to develop and write a meaningful research problem statement, research question constructs, sub-research questions, and more while showing how a personal EAGLE table can be a useful tool. A welcome addition is the inclusion of examples of tables by Ph.D. and master's students to underscore the difference in the two research levels. Doctoral students will undoubtedly appreciate Ibrahim's thorough explanations and time-proven methods as they define their Ph.D. objectives, refine their thesis proposals, and write their thesis abstracts.

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