The Middle Stage of the PhD life-cycle may be considered the period following successful differentiation but prior to 'write-up', usually equating to the second year of the research project for those studing full-time. By this stage, students should have successfully differentiated onto the PhD pathway and this is where the real work begins.
First year is all about preparing a well-defined and clear PhD research plan as well as a good first attempt at a literature review. The comments received from differentiation should enable the student to finalise their research plan and provide them with a clear pathway on how they should proceed. Getting to this point has been, in many ways, extremely difficult; however the middle stage will quite possibly be the most important period of a PhD. This is when the research ideas and methodologies developed during the early stages, and validated by the differentiation process, need to be put into practice; the plans made must now be carried out so that students can fulfil their research aims and objectives, and proceed to the late stage of the PhD life-cycle, a large portion of which will be dedicated to thesis write-up (though this can depend on your discipline). Maintaining motivation and momentum are essential in the middle stage, and this section is dedicated to providing students with both the academic and personal resources to accomplish this and successfully commence to the next and final stage of PhD life.