Road to Success: A Guide for Doctoral Students and Junior Faculty Members in the Behavioral and Social Sciences

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Life in academia is like life in no other profession. The intellectual freedom in conducting research coupled with the ability to positively impact the lives of students through teaching makes it exciting and noble. The road to success in making a difference through knowledge creation (research), knowledge dissemination (teaching) and activities related to both (service) is riddled with many challenges. While PhD programs are designed to teach students the nitty gritty details of conducting research, few focus on the broad issues of how to build a successful research program, how to build an effective teaching portfolio and how to do deal with the many other challenges encountered. Navigating the broader challenges of academia is often accomplished by trial-and-error or ad-hoc mentoring one may receive. Road to Success: A Guide for Doctoral Students and Junior Faculty Members in the Behavioral and Social Sciences by Viswanath Venkatesh provides advice and tools, seeks to help researchers achieve success by navigating through these very challenges.

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Available formats: Paperback (ISBN:978-1-949373-73-8) PDF (ISBN: 978-1-949373-74-5) Available from

The book comprises 20 chapters that are organized into five major sections:

  1. Research
  2. Managing the PhD program
  3. Life after the PhD
  4. Teaching and service
  5. Broader advice

In addition to the author, both junior and senior scholars have provided contributions to share their own experiences and observations of others who have been successful.

The most important components of the book are the various tools (e.g., how-to advice, checklists) that are provided to help junior researchers head up the road to success and to arm senior researchers to guide junior researchers along the way. The various tools target the following six areas:

  1. Building and sustaining a research program
  2. Writing a paper
  3. Responding to reviews
  4. Planning and monitoring through various stages of the PhD program
  5. Becoming an effective teacher
  6. Achieving work-life balance

About the author: Viswanath Venkatesh is Verizon Chair of Information Technology at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Please visit for more information.

Accessibility note: Virginia Tech Publishing is committed to making its publications accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The screen reader-friendly PDF utilizes header structures and includes alternative text which allows for machine-readability.

graduate student success, dissertation writing, dissertation process
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