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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: Teaching Fellowship

posted
17-Jul-11, 16:08
edited about 1 second later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Yes, its very possible. I did teaching and I also did conferences and some publications and finished the PhD on time. I think in this market any teaching experience you can have is valuable.

Not only is it possible, but I would say its necessary if you want to be competitive in an academic job market upon the completion of our PhD.

Granted you might not be able to do this all if you approach all of the work (teaching, PhD work, writing for publication) as a Monday-Friday 9-5 job. On the other hand, to be market competitive, you need to have as much going for you on your CV as possible within the 3 years or so that you do the PhD. And depending on your field, you may really NEED to show both teaching experience and some publications to even merit attention by employers...in addition to the PhD.

Thread: Overworking/overdoing it?

posted
12-Jul-11, 11:44
edited about 13 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I totally do not get the mindset that the PhD is a 9-5 job. This is just a product of my own cultural and work background...but I do have to say that saying something is a 9-5 job when it is a PhD sort of puts my teeth on edge. This is why...

In my own work background, a professional is paid a salary to deliver a product. ( ie their job). This product is not tied to a clock. The professional works until the product is delivered as needed, and without regard to the clock. The only "hourly" paid people were those not in professional positions and without professional responsibilities--typically in an office the person hired to answer the phone. So I cannot help but equate a "clock" mentality to an unprofessional mentality....I realise the work ethics and experiences of others are different than this, I do after all come from the land that eschews even its paltry two week holiday...

I do find baffling the mindset in the UK regarding a "need" for lots of holidays. I just come from a different experience and perspective.


But I do think that there is something naive and unrealistic in thinking a PhD and the research process conforms to a clock. Research and writing works in ebbs and flows. Some days are more productive than others. It is of course necessary and healthy to not be subsumed by a PhD, but at times implicit in the whole conversation about whether a PhD can be done "9-5" is some sort of judgment that people who do not approach it this way a) have no life; b) cannot manage their time; c) have priorities out of whack.

Of course people have outside demands on their time, be it family, friends, etc...but I have yet to see anyone who took a 9-5 approach to the PhD in fact complete it...

I did the first part of my PhD while doing a fulltime professional job that could take 40-60 hours of worktime a week--the PhD fit in and around that. Needs must. It got done. No one would say it was ideal. But the work I did was of high quality. Looking back it is hard to see how I managed that schedule...but I did.

No one approach is right or wrong. What matters is the result, not how you get there.

Thread: Love your life and your PhD- a plea

posted
10-Jul-11, 12:44
edited about 22 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php

As usual, PhD comics gets it right about the whole PhD experience, and somehow this seemed very fitting to this thread!

Thread: When do I get to rest?

posted
28-Jun-11, 16:31
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
In the past, there have been some good threads about finding motivational techniques to get through the final stages of work...Was it Lara that had an incredible thread and some different techniques? I think that you need to find ways to reward yourself through the day as you go--a 10 minute internet surf, a snack, a coffee, etc, to keep yourself going through the day if you achieve certain milestones ( eg wrote 500 words, read an article, etc). Stop worrying about what your supervisors think about your work habits At the end of the day what they think about your work habits has no bearing on its outcome--its the thoughts of your examiners in the viva as to the quality of your work.

Google the "Flowers Paradigm" and see if that does not help as a writing technique.


In my own view a PhD ( nor any professional job) can be done according to the 9-5 clock. You may have to put in 10 hour days or weekends or whatever to get done. The end is in sight. You probably will not be surprised to learn that the highest percentage of PhD "quits" are in the latter stages of the degree--for various reasons, it IS ( in my opinion) the hardest time of all!

Thread: The moaning thread

posted
26-Jun-11, 15:43
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
At times I thoroughly hated my PhD. Especially at the end, I loathed it. I was glad to see it go. (Perhaps this is how parents feel about their teenagers leaving home?! :P) I loathed having shared living accomodation. It was hard for me to believe adults still believed in the Rubbish Fairy that would show up and take out their rubbish for them, rather than them doing it themselves. Yet for all that most of the time, flatmates respected each other's property--there was no stealing until one person moved in and began swiping food, having friends over who swiped her food...but one day the person's family caught her with a boy in her room and packed her out and home as this was against her culture....

I wonder how much relevance academic research has for anyone outside of academia ( at least science is making some kind of relevant contribution to the world but I have to wonder at the vaue of my own research--aside from some "value" it has to advance an academic career, is it worth anything to anyone? And yet this research is given more importance in academia than the real work of universities which is teaching....*shakes head* *sighs*)

Thread: Stress

posted
24-Jun-11, 17:26
edited about 26 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Some fantastic advise on here about what to do to get yourself through to the final hurdle...take breaks. Reward yourself. Get support from friends and family. Be sure to step away from your work to get enough rest, exercise and good quality food.

My experience became worse the closer I was to submitting.....
My printer caught on fire and it took all night to print ONE copy of the thesis for soft binding
The commercial copier I paid a fortune to copy for the rest of the soft binding messed up the copies, and then yelled at me and charged me again to fix this ( by this point I had purely lost the will to fight, I simply wanted the thing out of my life...)
The weird and repeating Roman numbered footnote that appeared with no warning or explanation in the middle of a chapter...I was not using Roman numerals, and this repeated itself like 137 times...
etc.

I remember wanting to roll up in the fetal position under my desk numerous times during the day during this debacle.

Thread: Stress

posted
23-Jun-11, 13:07
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I found the final month or two of the PhD to be the absolute worst. I think that this is a common experience. All kinds of things can feed into why these become so awful....but I think it is all just part of the whole PhD journey...

Thread: How many words for qualitative findings?

posted
23-Jun-11, 11:48
edited about 12 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 23 Jun 2011 11:53:11 =======
======= Date Modified 23 Jun 2011 11:49:06 =======
Even if you are not using grounded theory, the Charmaz book on Constructivist Grounded Theory has some wonderful chapters on how to effectivly present qualitative data ( ie interview data). Her presentation guidelines would be helpful for any qualitative data, not just grounded theory work, and I would strongly recommend her to anyone looking to write up qualitative results.

(I like Charmaz's overall approach to research where she emphasises the joy in discovery, the creative process that is part of ANY research...she gives ways to think about things that make them positive and interesting, not frustrating and soul destroying...sorry, just an aside there).

PS--I agree with the post about NVivo...
I personally ran as far as I could from using computer programs to code data when I did my PhD. I hated the program, to start with, found it clunky and difficult to use, that it interfered with my own thought processes, and made it very difficult to do analysis...
I stuck to pen and paper and was happier with the results. All NVivo was to me was a jumped up coloured marker made complicated. I know some people like it and can use it, its horse for courses... I was a little horrified with the academic mindset that somehow technical gizmos made for better analysis and had to defend my non use of this program...
For that matter, I am happier composing drafts in hard copy and in editing in hard copy...perhaps just an age thing!



Thread: GT info help required - Olivia??

posted
21-Jun-11, 12:31
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Hi Ady, glad I was able to help. GT has different "churches" it seems, and people can get quite attached to one or the other sides...even Glaser and Strauss fell out over how to do it in the end! If I recall, Glaser did not like the way in which Strauss-Corbin took things, and then enter the constructivists like Charmaz!!! I do not know if you cover, or have considered covering, the development of the different strands of GT--I did this in my methodology chapter, justifying my own use of the constructivist method, but showing an understanding of the methodology as a whole as well. Along the PhD journey I encountered people who got very wound up over my non use of Strauss-Corbin and using constructivist GT...shrug...I would say, unless they were willing to discredit the entire constructivist GT, then there was very little to respond to as I had chosen the constructivist strand for reasons XYZ...

Some of them indeed would have liked to have discredited the entire constructivist strand, and I would just say, well, that is beyond my own thesis, and the constructivist strand is certainly academically accepted, so....shrug...

More of agreeing to disagree...

And thanks for the virtual gifts--they are lovely :)

Thread: GT info help required - Olivia??

posted
21-Jun-11, 12:13
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I recall a somewhat similiar showdown with my own supervisor over my grounded theory methods--and I just said, in essence, "Back off. I am doing the methods with close attention to the ways in which they should be done, and if you interfere, you are messing with the process. Moreover, this is MY work and not yours. Go away."

I think its valid for a supervisor to ensure your processes adhere to grounded theory work--but certainly NOT for them to interfere in the content of your coding. You have not strayed outside the acceptable ways to perform grounded theory work--you are sticking to the very "classic" Strauss-Corbin methods.

If you are of the mindset that grounded theory is not simply any old inductive research or review of interview data but rather is a methodology that follows a set of phases of coding--then stick to your position over the work. Politely and firmly tell your supervisor that perhaps you and he/she will have to simply agree to disagree, because your work relies ( per Strass-Corbin or whomever you are using for the GT) on the presence of this category--that you respect his/her opinion, but that you also feel that they are interfering in your data analysis and mucking up the process by so doing....

Thread: GT info help required - Olivia??

posted
21-Jun-11, 12:06
edited about 3 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Hi Ady
I will do my best to try to give an answer. There are different strands of grounded theory out there- and it sounds like you are using the Strauss-Corbin methodology. Their books stress the importance of the central or core category ( they seem to refer to these interchangeably). I much prefer the second edition of Strauss-Corbin to the third edition for describing the use of a central/core category in producing a theory from your research. They explain ( pg 146, 2nd edition) that "A central category has analytical power. What gives it that power is its ability to pull the other categories together to form an explanatory whole."

Roy Suddaby has an excellent article on "What Grounded Theory is Not" ( 2006) in The Academy of Management journal. He argues that it is very important for grounded theory research to adhere to the methodology of grounded theory ( the phases of coding and abstraction to arrive at your own grounded theory). Otherwise, research that claims to be grounded theory is in fact, NOT. It might be inductive and theory generating, but it is not "grounded theory". Therefore, to be doing grounded theory, you need to adhere to the methods of grounded theory research.

And if you are following Strauss-Corbin, you need a core or central category. You simply cannot go on with the "selective coding" phase of your work without this as they say, "The first step in integration is deciding on a central category" ( 2nd edition, pg. 146). Without this central or core category, how do you then proceed with selective coding?

In other words, at some point in YOUR inductive work, YOU have derived a central or core category that is a fundamental piece of your eventual grounded theory. Cite Strauss-Corbin 2nd and 3rd editions---you NEED this category to emerge in your selective coding phase. That should be end of--you are adhering to the methods of grounded theory work, and no one who has even the remotest familiarity with grounded theory should even question the presence of your central/core category.

Your supervisor, to me, is interfering in your inductive work. It is YOUR inductive work, not hers. Maybe she would have arrived at different categories or conclusions--so be it. Inductive work is not the same as deductive work--and grounded theory was developed to get AWAY from the heavy positivism infused methods of the day.

Grounded theory is my opinion is tainted if you have someone trying to impose a category ( or lack of) from the outside. This is not a process that arrived out of your data study--it is a supervisor trying to exercise control over your inductive research. That spoils and corrupts the methodology.

I think that you may simply need to stand back and hold your ground ( no pun intended) with your supervisor.

(contining in second post as I appear to be getting long winded! :$

Thread: Developing Thick Research Skin?

posted
29-May-11, 14:10
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 29 May 2011 14:16:44 =======
OK at the risk of running on a bit....:$

A few years after the bathroom attack woman event, I was attending ( but not presenting) at another conference. The bathroom attack woman and her colleagues were presenting at a panel. I nearly turned on my heel and left the room, because that whole event came flooding back and I remembered how awful she made me feel. But I stayed. I listened to the presentation....which was just as ill informed as the basis of her bathroom attack.

I asked a question, how did their position square with the comments that had been put out by [name of large international organisation] on the topic a few months prior? Blank stares and mumbling--(their position was completely opposite to the large international organisation comments...:p) and they finally had to admit they were not aware of these comments ( major gaffe, anyone researching in the area would have/should have been aware...)

A little later on, I asked another question--what was their reaction to very important human rights court decision on this topic...again, they did not know and it was a major gaffe, anyone keeping up with the research in the past 12 months could not have NOT known of this case--it was everywhere...)

OK, perhaps a bit inappropriate on my part....and normally I would not do that..but I remembered the trauma of the bathroom attack....I tried to be professional in my tone and my questions...

heheheh--perhaps academics should heed the advise of Mr T and his Rules for Fools on public speaking!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eisa5AZ20W0

Thread: Developing Thick Research Skin?

posted
29-May-11, 14:00
edited about 5 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I don't think the nonsense of inappropriate, ill-informed, rude and irrelevant responses to your work ever goes away. That is why I say the best thing you can do for yourself over time is to learn to sort out the chaff from the wheat. Take on board those things that have some value--and disregard the others.

Just this past week, I had to sort out these sorts of comments, being told the theoretical basis for my research was "strange" ( never mind that its mainstream, used apparently without being deeply problematic for academics in Oxbridge, etc....) and it sort of went down hill from there--turns out the person was trying to make comments having not even read the whole of the paper...! so I just politely guided them to the unread sections, saying, you might want these on board perhaps to think about as well....and tried not to giggle at them, because it was all so absurd. The tables turned rather nicely, and the person had to retreat, perhaps feeling a bit foolish. It never goes away--the silly comments that is.

I find it helps to not get angry. At any level. In my life before the PHD, the place I worked sent us on a customer service course, as we dealt from time to time with the public. We learned a very simple formula to handle upset people, that worked every time. It also works very well for dealing with these silly comments....

The formula is LAST--Listen, Ask, Solve, Thank. You listen to what the person has to say, ask what you can do for them ( OK this part may have little relevance for academia, but you could at least ask a clarifying question or something to tie thier comment into something sensible), Solve, ( again for academia, this might just be something like, Oh, yes, I must look into this further, how fascinating.) and Thank, ( Thank you for that comment, that gives me some new things to think about--or something along those lines).

It takes the stinger out of their words and attitude, and normally the person is caught so flat footed by a non hostile or defensive response that they just give up being hateful. Its never not worked! Either in the workplace or in a conference setting.

I had a comment from someone, "Well, there are obvious limitations to your theoretical base."

Me: ( cue big smile) "Well, of course there are. All theoretical bases will have limitations. I think its important to remember that, and I think its great you brought that up!"

Person fumed, mumbled and said no more.

8-)

Thread: Developing Thick Research Skin?

posted
27-May-11, 09:50
edited about 25 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 27 May 2011 11:20:15 =======
One thing to remember about comments from academics and others--they may not have the slightest idea of what they are talking about!!! They can be wrong too--but sometimes if they have a large ego I think they lose the sense of fallibility that makes a person a careful and thoughtful researcher instead of thinking they know it all without mistake. We are human, we all make mistakes from time to time.

I think I have told the story of the bathroom attack conference--where a panel member attacked me verbally in the loo during the conference, picking me up for some point of law--I was sure I had not got it wrong but without anything in my hands in the bathroom, there was no way to shut down the onslaught. I felt sick at my stomach and on the edge of tears the rest of the conference. My first exciting conference was ruined due to a woman with an out of control ego. And come to find out--she was WRONG! Very wrong! Very wrong indeed! It is not the first time I have seen academics get it wrong. But it was the first time someone got in my face in such an aggressive manner ( right or wrong) at a conference. Needless to say, any respect I had for this person as an academic went down the loo...( an appropriate setting then for her attack!) not because she was wrong, but because she was so unprofessional. And wrong to boot.

So just because someone offers a criticism ( constructive or not) does not make them right and you wrong. At best, give them a polite benefit of the doubt, with something like, "I do see your point and that is a very interesting one, although I am not sure how that would be compatible with my epistimology" works well to shut up people who are being out of line. They a: probably do not know what your epistomology is and b: probably aren't entirely comfortable with the word and its meaning and so it tends to shut them down....

PS--Someone suggested to me using the line, delivered with a friendly smile, "I always find the feedback process fascinating!" when dealing with an out of line commentator.

The commentator will be left wondering if you mean what you said... or if your comment is delivering some below the surface message....



8-)

Thread: Developing Thick Research Skin?

posted
25-May-11, 08:44
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
All good advice on here! Remember--you are not your work. So when a comment is aimed at your work, remember it is not about YOU. Try to get some mental distance between yourself and your work. As people have posted on here, this just takes a lot of practice and experience to do.

Take what other people say with a pinch ( or an entire shaker) of salt. Their comments may be rubbish, so do not take them to heart. They may be trying to shine a light on themselves ( limelighters--a conference nightmare--those whose "question" becomes a presentation unto itself!) or badly informed, or threatened ( academic self confidence can be shaky and the feeling of being threatened by someone new might motivate mean comments) by your knowledge and confidence.

There are thankfully some good and constructive academics who can offer helpful insight. Remember opinions are just that, and you should carefully think over any feedback to see if it is relevant and helpful or better off discarded.

If someone is being terribly rude in a conference or other setting, just give a polite smile, and say, "Those are very interesting points, but I think we should just agree to disagree for now, and perhaps move onto another question."
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