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olivia 3 star member
Saturday, 8 December 2007 at 8:33pm
Friday, 4 May 2012 at 1:05pm
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Thread: Another job offer - somewhere over the rainbow!

posted
20-Dec-11, 23:54
edited about 17 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Congrats on the job! And on taking the big decision to move to Oz! A very good English friend of mine just started an academic post in Australia and by all accounts is enjoying it--albeit with a few adjustments that come with moving to a new country ( says the selection of cheese is poor!). I upped sticks and went to England for my PhD and stayed with subsequent academic employment, so I fully sympathise with the pangs of moving to a new country. Having been to Australia to visit a few times ( and having been an exchange student there in high school) I would give the place a big thumbs up. People are very friendly, the weather is nice, lots of things to see and do, etc. It can take awhile to make friends in a new place, but it does happen. Of course moving to a new country on your own half way around the world is scary. On the other hand its easy to stay connected to"home" through the internet, email, Skype, whatever. Think of it as a giant adventure--one that will have of course its ups and downs as you settle in not only to a new country, but a new career, and the very weird environment of academia.

Thread: First second third

posted
01-Dec-11, 16:04
edited about 18 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
American writing uses first, second, third...
I think British English ( do not hang me for that term, not sure what else to call it) makes more use of Firstly, secondly, thirdly than American English.
So it might depend on your audience.
Whilst is also very British English, and when used in American English tends to sound pompous in the way it does NOT when used in British English.

Thread: Academia and personality type

posted
01-Dec-11, 15:59
edited about 6 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Quote From FrogPrincess:

======= Date Modified 01 Dec 2011 12:01:47 =======
I got ENFP. Though i am a perfectionist so that does surprise me a bit. And i'm a scientist. I guess that means i'm a little bit odd! Though on that test i got very Extravert (not really a surprise) but only moderately for the others.

Hmz. Any other ENFPs out there in academia?

(@ Sneaks... i think you just described me. Though i'm not sure i'd call myself a show off... doesn't mean others wouldn't though :-p I know my outgoing, chattiness irritates some of my colleagues. But meh. And I tend to enjoy the teaching/presenting element of the work more than the research. So i guess that kinda fits!)



I am very very ENFP! I tend to think we are a rarity in academia, though there is so much about academia that we love ( like teaching and presenting).

Other interesting personality tests ( I am a personality test junkie!) are Enneagrams, where I type as an Enneagram Seven--which under stress becomes like an Ennegram One ( perfectionist and rigid...) so that might explain the occasional perfectionist tendencies in ENFP. Enneagram Sevens correlate with ENFP. There is also Socionics, where I type as an IEE...and often IEEs are closely correlated with ENFP. Its all very interesting!

Thread: Grounded theory...help!

posted
25-Sep-11, 16:27
edited about 18 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
There is not much more to add to the good advice and suggestions from Ady!

My own view of the linguistic morass of methodology/method and grounded theory is as follows:

Constructivism is a paradigm. A paradigm has three ( or more) components, but the main ones to consider are epistimology, ontology and methodology. I think when you are struggling with determining the difference between method/methodology, you are intellectually intuitively aware that there is something more than "interviews" (for instance) that make up what you are doing. It would seem to me you are grasping for the language and content of "paradigm" to explain more fully and more satisfactorily what you are doing.

Your "method" is interviews, but the way in which you are analysing them is part of your paradigm of constructivism. Within the paradigm of constructivism, you are using constructivist grounded theory as a method, and as part of that, your data gathering is via interviews. I see interviews as a method of data gathering, not as a method. The method is what you do with the data. Interviews might be used for constructivist GT, for quantitative work in a postivism frame, etc. Interviews are simply a means of getting data. It is what you do with the data, ie, how you analyse it that is your methdology.

Grounded theory analysis is done in a series of coding stages, from open ( initial coding) to arriving at your theory ( derived from your data, thus "grounded" in the data). Theoretical sampling lets you know when you have accounted sufficiently in your theory for possible variations or other alternative scenarios. It helps you assess whether you need to do further development of the theory or testing of the data, or whether you have reached the end point of your analysis. Constant comparative method is simply one step within grounded theory ( though there is much debate over whether it is used in all grounded theory--off the top of my head Charmaz does not use this, but Glasser-Strauss-Corbin do in varying degrees. Whether or not you use it as part of your grounded theory analysis is up to you but you should perhaps be prepared to explain and justify your use/non use of it within your GT analysis).

As Ady suggested, read Kathy Charmaz. She explains the use of constructivist GT, as well as the other "schools" of GT.

I can only add, be sure you understand the phases of coding and theory testing before you embark on your testing of data, keep a careful paper trail or track of your testing of data and code development, and as Charmaz says, have fun! Enjoy the research! Hope that this helps.

Thread: epistemology help...again

posted
16-Sep-11, 16:35
edited about 26 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research has some helpful definitions and explanations ( am reading it from online Google Books as my own copy remains loaned out to a colleague who is just about to submit their thesis!!)
This book describes at pg. 13 that a paradigm is the "net" that contains methodology, epistimology and ontology for the overall research paradigm. Epistiomology is the view on how knowledge is constructed. For instance, in positivism, the view is that knowledge is "out there" as a universal and unvarying "truth" that is discovered through hypothesis testing that has sufficient reliability and validity. Constructivists see knowledge as created through mutual interactions.

Ontology --how the world is constructed--what is reality. The online Handbook references Creswell at pg 103 for describing epistimology as the relationship between researcher/research. ie, how the researcher is finding/constructing knowledge--is it through hypothesis testing, through interpretive qualitative evaluation, etc.


Not sure if that is much help-- I find it useful to return to the oracle of the Lincoln and Guba charts anytime something like describing paradigms comes up!

Thread: Post-viva panic attacks, I don't understand what's going on :(

posted
05-Sep-11, 14:28
edited about 5 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I think that feeling crap after its all over is usual and common. That is for lots of different reasons, as many of the posters have pointed out.... I myself used to joke that I had PTSD after the whole process, but underneath the joke was the realisation that there was a lot of post PhD stress. I could not go near the hard bound copy of the thesis for months, without feeling anxious and sweaty and sick. So I buried it out of view on a shelf and to this day, almost two years on, I can barely stand to go near it. Certainly I do not use it for anything, and my research interests have moved well past what was in the thesis, albeit related.

On another level, finishing the PhD is a sort of loss. I think there is a period of grieving and mourning when it is done, because you are saying goodbye to a major and intense period of life and the work you put into something. People do not expect to grieve the ending of the PhD, they expect to celebrate it, but with the joy comes a feeling of loss.

Change in itself is stressful, so simply moving on to a new phase of life brings its own stressors.

Given the overwhelming and contradictory emotions of elation, post PhD stress, and grief that finishing the PhD brings, I think its no wonder people are emotionally all over the place when it ends. Worse is that no one talks about this, and so people are not aware of just how common a reaction this is.

Thread: The Quitting dilemma, plus a few other questions

posted
18-Aug-11, 11:07
edited about 26 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I used a professional CV writer. I would highly recommend it--if you get the right one! This woman took about two hours to sit down with me to go over and discuss every single aspect of my CV--I brought in a draft, and we went over every past job and its responsibilities, other professional achievements, educational achievements, etc, the sort of job market ( at the time) I was targetting, etc. Brilliant stuff! She then sent me an electronic draft and we met yet again to finalise the contents.
Good luck with the rest of your decisions....its a hard place to be in but perhaps as you still have some income stream with the PhD it would not hurt to stick with it until the better option comes along?

Thread: finding your 'meta-voice/perspective'

posted
16-Aug-11, 23:44
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
A friend of mine finishing their PhD had a similiar problem from the opposite end of this spectrum--got pulled up for making too definitive of statements...! The wonderful world of academia! I agree that changing to active voice strengthens the confidence and clarity of the writing. Could you not even go a step further to say "X is an important variable because..." or "The research of Blogs is effective in demonstrating how X as a variable has contributed to the ..." something along those lines?

Thread: Moving away for PhD

posted
28-Jul-11, 16:03
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I moved from the US to UK to do my PhD. I moved to a uni that did not have a large or active PG population. The first few months were hard, but slowly over time I began to feel more at home both at the uni and outside of it, and began to get to know people. I got to know people that were members of staff, and people outside the uni, and other PG students...just slowly over time, saying hello, having coffee, attending events, etc. Having moved again to a new city to start a job, the same process repeats....it just takes time to get to know people but now feel as if I have made some solid friendships and am happy. I have also learned to be content with my own company, so for those times I am on my own, I am happy with that as well. My best piece of advise is to not worry about it--you will naturally make friends over time just as part of being at the uni and doing studies!

Thread: Cuts in funding for Postgraduate Courses and Research

posted
28-Jul-11, 10:54
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
:-s:-s

I get a bit cranky when I see these sorts of cuts made at the same time that there is political palaver that the English system should move closer to that of the United States. Well. No one is denied access to post graduate degrees in the US due to lack of funds and moreover, you can take those funds and go to reputable universities nearly anywhere in the world to do your postgrad studies.

Is the English system planning to build that into its structure? If so, they are keeping an eerie silence on it.

The American system is far more than some private universities in and amongst the state ones. Yet to read about the system in the press, or the various political statements about the benefits of the private university system leave out huge and vital chunks of information about what the US system is all about.

If there is a move to a US system--then--it should be reported accurately. Simply having private institutions is NOTHING like the US system and its a huge misrepresentation to say so.

One of the cornerstones in the US system is ACCESS. There is no capped places mandated by the government and enforced by steep fines. Each university determines the number of students it can manage. But more importantly, the student loan system is there if you need it, for both undergraduate and postgraduate.

The loan system differs in that--the loans fall due within a certain period after graduation, and you are bound to repay regardless of your financial status ( eg no standard of earning a certain threshold before you pay). At the same time, there are options if you are unable to pay, but the repayment requirements are a bit more robust than the English system. If you borrow, expect to pay. Yet with that comes an immense opportunity--postgrad education is not inaccessible due to cost and funds. Yes, you can borrow the amounts you need. And yes, you can use student loans to go to overseas universities and get your degree there, undergrad or postgrad.

Thread: discourse analysis

posted
25-Jul-11, 14:40
edited about 13 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Discourse analysis is a method of ( usually) textual analysis, looking for the patterns in which information is presented, and using those to "decode" ( for lack of a better word coming to mind :$) the way in which information has been presented, and how arguments or discussions have been structured. In a general way, perhaps something akin to grounded theory coding--in that it looks past the face value of the written word to see what lies beneath.

There are different kinds of discourse analysis. There is political discourse analysis, rhetorical discourse analysis, and I think a branch even of historical discourse analysis, etc. You might want to find what branch your examiner has worked with. You might anticipate methodological questions from someone like this, so you may need to be prepared to distinguish between his methods and your chosen methods ( eg how did you analyse the content of your interviews? Have you provided a paper trail that shows the path of analysis?) and defend your methods as appropriate for your overall research aims.

Hope that helps!

Thread: UK VS US PhD?

posted
25-Jul-11, 14:35
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
The US PhD has a taught component that most British PhDs do not. The traditional British PhD is "by research" with very little to no required time spent in being taught in a classroom. You just carry on with your chosen research project. In the US the first few years are generally in the classroom, and you must pass the classroom taught elements by a certain mark to progress. The idea of a pure research degree is basically unheard of in the US--but that is not to diminish its value in the market at all.

Thread: Idiots guide to methodology needed

posted
25-Jul-11, 13:26
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I have found the best ( and easy to understand!) guide to be the charts in the Sage Handbook on Qualitative Research--the charts outline the different paradigms, and their ontology, epistemology and methodologies...easy to read! I have loaned out my copy of this so cannot refer to the exact pages, but someone else might have it and be able to post.

Thread: Sleeping so much!!

posted
25-Jul-11, 11:59
edited about 29 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Listen to your body ( and your brain!)! It knows how much sleep it needs. I find anytime I have done "heavy" mental work that I am very tired and need ridiculous seeming amounts of sleep. I normally sleep 8-9 hours a night, but sometimes ( once a week or so!) it seems like I need ten or twelve to just feel mentally rested again. I always marvel that mental as opposed to physical work can make you so tired...but somehow it DOES!

Thread: Midnight train(study)

posted
23-Jul-11, 18:09
edited about 17 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I love to write late at night...when it has all gone dark and quiet. Somehow my best work seems to get done then, albeit it I am far from a night owl. When I was writing up my PhD, my office was in a creaky old building rumoured to be haunted, and sometimes late at night it was easy to let my imagination run riot....! ( I am unable to do any work at home--it just sits in a corner and stares at me, so I have long ago given up on the idea of being able to be productive at home and thus have kept some LOOONNNNNGG deskbound hours at the uni...)
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