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Pjlu 4 star member
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 at 8:10pm
Friday, 4 August 2017 at 12:45pm
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Thread: What would you do with an extra year before grad school?

posted
14-Aug-17, 23:14
edited about 11 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 5 days ago
I'd work and save money, read widely in my field (as once on the PhD your reading becomes highly selective and for some time it narrows to fit your specific topic), and enjoy weekends or down time while you can. Not that you can't enjoy some time away from your thesis when in the thick of it-you can-but it is always present in your mind once you've started.

Some terrific ideas from other posters on this thread as well, best wishes.

Thread: Action research defn.

posted
10-Aug-17, 21:28
edited about 21 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
It can be both Linzedin.

Action Research refers to a specific type of project based research method, whereby you posit a theory or hypothesis, set up a response that uses this theory or method to inform a specific project in a specific context and you then carry out the project and measure the results. You may use or follow this process more than once while you are using an action research method. (Rather like a practical form of grounded theory in some ways although with grounded theory you are generating theory whereas with action research you begin with a theory or proposition and measure results in a sort of iterative spiral). This is a really simple explanation from the top of my head. You would find a more definitive and accurate definition in Creswell, J. (2005 for second edition but he most likely has some later editions by now). He writes about Educational Research Methods.

In the world of education, where I think action research is often found, sometimes it refers more to a style or way of doing things as well. By this I mean, teachers and schools often carry out action research projects without necessarily reporting formally on these or using them for a formal research degree such as a Masters or doctorate of some kind. So the principal of a school might say 'oh we are carrying out an action research project with the juniors, using this new reading instruction method to see whether it improves our literacy assessment results in Year 9 students with literacy problems'. The school would be measuring the results from using the new method by examining its Year 9 literacy assessment data after a trial period, but no formal reports would be made perhaps beyond the school newsletter or principal's report to the school board and discussion in staff and team meetings.

Thread: Dealing with Stress/Depression/Anxiety

posted
09-Aug-17, 09:07
edited about 2 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
Hi Kahn, I think initially you need to see a doctor (general practitioner) and explain the symptoms you have described on your post and ensure that you are well physically.

Your doctor (GP) will be able to assess your symptoms and make recommendations from there. They may also recommend counselling to help alleviate anxiety and some other supports. This would be the first recommendation I would make if a student or parent raised this concern at my workplace. (I am an Assistant Principal with a major role in student welfare at a large secondary College and this is what we are recommended to do as part of our role.)

I do think there would be other steps you might take as well to help and I am sure other posters will provide much support. However what you describe in your post concerns me, and my initial thoughts and recommendation would be to start with a medical appointment and check up, rule out any physical concerns and see what the doctor recommends.

Your university may have a free health clinic or medical centre on campus that you could call into perhaps, that does not require appointments or payment. Please take the time to take care of yourself. If you do have supportive family near by or who you can contact, I am sure they would want to know that you are feeling this way.

Thread: No motivation, always procrastinating - is there any hope?

posted
08-Aug-17, 22:05
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
Hi Coarvi, I think Helebon's suggestion for coaching is a positive way forward, and/or you could try your university's counselling support services, particularly to help with breaking the negative cycle of repetitive thoughts you are describing.

The content of the thoughts you have provided are similar to thoughts that many of us go through in the extended process of the PhD. Coaching sessions or accessing a counsellor to support you through this part of the PhD are both viable ways of moving forward, as these types of thoughts often gather a life of their own while we are immersed in them.

Would it help to join some university committees or postgraduate societies? This might assist in managing the feelings of isolation and need for community? Even a meeting once a week or fortnight with others might make a small positive difference that could help overall.

The other thing I would add is that it isn't that uncommon to find when you are quite a way through the PhD that you don't really want either an academic position at the end or to keep working in your particular field. However, there may still be value in completing the PhD, even if you decide that afterwards your goals have changed.

Thread: PhD Courses that start in January and/or Less than 3 years program

posted
07-Aug-17, 22:55
edited about 2 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
Agree completely with Tree of Life. The other thing to consider is that the final elements of a PhD, which occur after you have written your study can take some time. Eg, even if you believe all is well and you have done all you can or need to do, before submission you have to be signed off and this process can take some time. In my case it will easily be a month all up for this to occur. Then on top of that once you have submitted you have an average of 6-8 weeks before your examiners will complete their reports (this time is quite quick, sometimes they can take longer). You may have a viva or defence presentation to make either before (in my university it is a presentation prior to submission) in UK universities, I think you have a viva or defence afterwards.

Once the examiners have compiled their reports, you then have to do corrections. Not many people have their thesis or dissertation returned without corrections (even minor ones). You are given from between 1 to 6 months to complete corrections (depending on how extensive they are). Once you have made these corrections to the satisfaction of your panel, chair or examiners (it depends on the type of corrections as to who approves them), then your university will confer the award and slot you in to the nearest grad ceremony to confer your degree. So this process also takes some time.

The reality is even if you wrote a thesis in just over two years (which would be a real push but possibly doable if you were not using much new data but were doing a type of review of existing materials), the rest of the process would take you to at least 2.75 to 3 years anyway and, in many cases as Tree as indicated, closer to 3.5 to 4 years all up.

Thread: Final year support thread

posted
07-Aug-17, 11:04
edited about 20 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
Quote From PhD2017:
Hi Beasley and Pjlu, thank you for replying. I have written over half of my dissertation now and seeing as it is by articles, the rest (results and discussion) shouldn't take too long..I hope. I'm starting to feel like I will make it by the end of the month and my supervisor said that he will only need a day or two to make corrections. My supervisor is wonderful, I think I'd be a mess if it wasn't for his support. I'm still not sleeping well and still experience chest pain almost daily from unconsciously holding my breath and anxiety. It feels like I've been swimming deep under water for the past almost year and am only now about to reach the surface. I am an anxious person in general, and I'm very competitive, so I bring a lot of the stress on myself. Beasley, I think it is quite normal, I have read a lot about anxiety among grad students, the pressure to publish and apply for grants etc affects us now too, no longer just those in full-time positions, with limited post doc positions and a thesis to write at the end of it all, is it any wonder there are higher rates of mental health struggles among grads. Pjlu, I downloaded the app CBT-i Coach and it has helped a lot actually - especially the muscle relaxation exercises, and tea has always been a good friend of mine. Hope you are both doing well and best of luck with your submission!


That's great news PHD2017. Gee wish my supervisors only took a day or so! Mine take between 2-3 weeks and I am waiting for the final comments from my second supervisor for the last few chapters in the next couple of days. Once she has passed these over, I'll only take a day or so as the changes are final edits and not to do with theory, content or argument, thankfully. I'm hoping to post I've submitted any day now. Nice though that all is improving and you can see the way through.

Thread: Not interested supervisor, advice

posted
07-Aug-17, 10:37
edited about 20 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 1 week ago
I don't know Barb, I would think that you need to include her name as a secondary author...did you have supervision meetings at all during this time and is the article on materials/content/data that comprise part of your PhD? What rule does your university have on publications and authors? Generally, the rule here (Australia) is that you do include your supervisors as secondary authors even if their contribution was just basic supervision of your overall project. Personally , I think I understand where you are coming from and why you don't want to include her but my thoughts would be that, even so, you would include her as a secondary author as you were under supervision at the time of the study and data collection.

Thread: Leaving - telling supervisor

posted
05-Aug-17, 00:33
edited about 12 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, I think on these occasions, being direct (but not rude of course) would be the way to go. Many people appreciate being told things directly and sooner rather than later where possible. Good luck with your new plans :)

Thread: Why did you leave/are considering leaving academia?

posted
04-Aug-17, 23:51
edited about 10 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Quote From pm133:
Academia is in an appalling state and needs urgently dragged into the 21st century. I am so angry about this I am tempted to start lobbying politicians about it to publicise what goes on.



This is really thought provoking. Isn't it interesting how when mentioned on the radio or on TV academia and research are sort of spoken about with a sense or awe and as though they have some sort of purity or morality about them? Sort of like "the church" once was. It would be really good if the realities and fallabilities were exposed.


I wonder... as people lose (or have lost) their faith in primary institutions (Church & State) and the ideals and values these institutions once represented or upheld, for many people there needs to be some form of replacement- some rock to rely on. I'm not sure about how people feel about universities per se (in Australia a few of our biggest and brightest are currently being challenged by a number of recent scandals). However, 'research' and 'science' are still promoted or thought of as stable sources to rely on. I would think hard sciences and technology would be considered by many as still reliable. 'Medicine' would be another such rock, neuroscience, physics perhaps and engineering and the sciences behind space exploration and environmental science.

There is an ideal behind 'research' and 'scholarship' and that is the pursuit of 'truth' or 'truths' that explain who we are, how our world operates, and how we can extend and enhance knowledge through research and scholarship to benefit all (people, creatures, systems and environments). I would like to think-I hope- that most of us, more of us have these same values and ideals behind our work. I guess that is why it cuts so deeply when we learn about plagiarism, falsified results, and finally understand that luck and playing the political games can sometimes (not always) be behind success in academia-more so than merit on occasions.

Thread: Why did you leave/are considering leaving academia?

posted
04-Aug-17, 23:49
edited about 2 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Error

Thread: Masters dissertation query

posted
04-Aug-17, 12:45
edited about 3 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
The only caveat I would add to this though BonsaiClouds is that some supervisors will take a particular focus when they read your work, despite what you ask for from them. You can have any number of conversations with them about what you would like them to support you with and you will still get what you get.

My second supervisor, for example, can't help herself-her focus will always fall straight away on any proof mistake or typo or formatting and presentation issue. She has a mind like an editor. She is an absolute guru on APA 5 (but hadn't updated into 6 last time we discussed things). So, for example, she is finishing reading 'the beast' (my pet name for the thesis), and I know, I just know, all the feedback will be on presentation. And I suspect there will be some APA 5 versus APA 6 issues (I'm using 6 and I am not going back to 5 so we may have to agree to disagree on that one).

Not every supervisor is like this and you are right, you need to ask, and if you don't ask, chances are you won't get. Good questions btw. Cheers, I'm now going back into a netflix binge, while I wait ...and wait...and wait...it's got to be sometime soon now surely. Hope things are going well for you Helebon.

Thread: Under pressure! Need some encouragement

posted
03-Aug-17, 21:43
edited about 3 minutes later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi dotdottung, I'm worried when you say that you have been working from 10-10 everyday non-stop for months, and am not surprised you are exhausted. I think Tudor's point about your workload is very important. Do you ensure that you give yourself regular breaks each day also and regular opportunities to rest or do something that you really enjoy or find relaxing. Without this it can be hard to get a sense of perspective, both about your work and your pathway.

If you think you are ready to submit your proposal now, perhaps you need to let your supervisor know this and also know that you are exhausted. Supervisors are usually very busy people with multiple responsibilities so they don't always observe their impact on us. An example: my primary supervisor is a very sympathetic and understanding person by nature, even so, she only really knew about the times I was struggling when I told her about it. Once she did understand, she did not step in with solutions but she did listen and support the actions I took to help myself manage some of the really challenging aspects.

Do you think it would be helpful to acknowledge you have finished your proposal and have a conversation with your supervisor about this, so you can come to an agreement about submitting it very soon? Then, perhaps you could take a few days off before resuming your program.

Thread: Masters dissertation query

posted
01-Aug-17, 11:57
edited about 24 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi Helebon, my thoughts would be to send it to the supervisor 3 weeks before due date, as their request and try to work on minor things in the meantime as you have indicated in your second post. Revising and checking references, polishing up stuff that needs to be fixed. This last part of the process tends to be a part where your control is limited. You can't control how long it will take your supervisor, you can't control how they will read it and what they will focus on.

It can be frustrating having to wait around but sometimes it is just what happens. I'm currently doing just this as my second supervisor reads and checks my thesis prior to sign off. It is a little later than I would like it to be but not much can be done and I know she won't sign off on anything until she has gone through it and indicated any last minutes changes she wants me to make before submission. Good luck with it all :)

Thread: The Dreaded Theoretical Framework

posted
31-Jul-17, 11:21
edited about 24 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi there, my thoughts are that your theoretical lens is just that, a lens through which you view or interpret your findings. Your findings will be influenced or shaped by your theoretical perspective but ultimately the findings are what are important, and your theory is a methodological tool or process that leads your to your findings which form your final thesis.

Along the way you will need to address the theory more than once- substantially in your lit review in its own section, then from time to time in a form of integrated manner as you explain and interpret the findings and then again in a lesser way at the end when you discuss and conclude.

(I'm basing this on my own epistemological battles and experiences, but this is my understanding of the process, so it might be helpful-or not.)

Thread: Should I stay or should I leave my PhD?

posted
27-Jul-17, 22:14
edited about 50 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi Joe, good advice from Tru there. I can't offer any specific tips for biochemistry. What I would like to say though is if you take the specifics out of your post-biochemistry, simulations and computer coding and focus on other aspects-paper rejected, feeling miserable and lost, year 3, don't like your topic anymore-your post reads as if you are in a classic stage of the journey that many of us go through. (It feels like a very personal and isolating experience when going through it however).

Many of us experience these phenomena while doing a PhD and paper rejection is unfortunately common for both PhD students and experienced academics alike. Can you just dust it off and try some other journals? Or perhaps you can worry about publishing once you are close to or just about finishing. When you get close to the end, sometimes all you have energy for is to finish. Plenty of time to look at publishing at the end stages when you are just waiting on supervisors to sign you off or for examiner's reports.

Do you think that maybe following Tru's suggestion,to finalise experiments and write up so you are now working towards the end goal, would work for you? Can you make sure you are also doing some things in life you enjoy as well so life doesn't seem as if the only thing that matters is the PhD. See friends, go to movies or the pub sometimes, or play a sport or computer games or similar, so there are little things to look forward to?

PS: Very much understand how miserable you might be feeling, but you have come so far now and are so close to the finish, can you keep going?
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