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olivia 3 star member
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Thread: Changed Relationship with Supervisor?

posted
22-May-11, 11:08
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
It is impossible to really know what is going on with someone when trying to read between the lines. Consequently, I have long ago decided that I am not even going to try. If someone has a problem that needs to be aired with me--they can do that. If it is not important enough for them to bring up in a straightforward and unambigious manner, it is not important. Nor is it my job to try to read their signals if they are hoping I will bring up what is bothering them. Likewise, if I have an issue, its my responsibility to take it to the person, and put it on the table in a productive, solution oriented manner--and if its not worth doing that, then I should just let whatever it is go.

If I were in your situation, I would just brush it off and assume that the supervisor has some issue, and it has nothing to do with me. If it did, the supervisor needs to air it. If not, forget about it and just get on with your work. Take the advantages of a formal relationship and do not worry about the rest. I would far rather have a formal working relationship than a fuzzy boundaried--are we friends are we not--kind of thing with a supervisor. Your work will benefit from the formality of the relationship--and you will not need to worry about the personal part of it.

It is true that your supervisor features more strongly in your life than you do in theirs. Your supervisor is likely unaware that he/she is distressing you. I remember being the management level person in a small law office of about 8 people. One day when I had a lot of boring work to do, I shut my office door to get on with it. Little did I realise this was causing severe stress to the people in the office. Each one of them was sure I had shut my door for a negative reason associated with them and them alone. A few of them were sure it meant I was writing up paperwork to fire them! o0 all this because I was new and usually left the door open....imagine my surprise when I emerged with the boring work done to find the office in a right state...Its possible the same thing is happening in your exchange with your supervisor --he is responding to things that have nothing to do with you or his view on your work and you are translating it into something it is not.

My rule--unless someone comes to tell me there is a problem, there isn't one. If they do come and tell me, I appreciate the chance to find out and find solutions. I strive to never take work situations/study situations at a personal level. Work is work, play is play!

Thread: Disappointed with faculty

posted
19-May-11, 10:43
edited about 11 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
The posts here would pretty much sum up the highs and lows of my own experiences with academia. I also had thought it would be some bastion of intellectualism being gently and vigourously nutured in an ivory tower---forget about that notion! Politics are far more rampant than anything it seems, but I am not convinced that is a new development....That said, politics are within any kind of employment/working situation....and I have also had the benefit of having caring, supportive and genuinely bright colleages and having met some incredibly kind and accomplished academics. Often it is a matter of having to find each other and then build supportive networks--forming what you wish was already there---but it can be done. I tend to stick to those people who are positive and helpful as ones I interact with closely, and keep others at a polite arm's length.

Thread: How do you record details of your reading?

posted
16-May-11, 17:26
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I have giant ( and migrating) piles roughly split into subject matter and importance. I make notes in the margins as I read, and then move onto handwritten notes in a notebook, making sure to note what is a quote or paraphrase, and from where, and what is my own comment about what I read. I tend to write my articles/papers/or at the time PhD chapters in topical chunks--so that I would focus on a certain topic or theme within the overall topic and write on that. Bit by bit I would piece things together, making sure to keep the relevant piece of literature nearby to double check quotations and citations. The end result is a drifting iceberg of paper...:( but...this seems to be the best for me, as I prefer to do a lot of initial drafting and thinking with pen and paper and not my computer.

Thread: Accommodation woes

posted
16-May-11, 13:21
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
You might have some luck with Spareroom.co.uk. I used it, albeit not in the London areas, and this is how I found my current ( and lovely!) place to live!

Thread: Marriage before/during/after PhD ?

posted
15-May-11, 14:31
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Goodness--of course marriage and a PhD can go together, without harming either one. OR they can be a terrible combination. Much depends on the approach of the 2 people involved. At some point in life--whether it is the PhD, a career, a child, an ill parent, or whatever--something may come along and make demands on the time people have to spend together vs apart. Inevitably there will be something. A strong relationship finds a way to endure these--perhaps is even made stronger because of them. A troubled relationship may get unhinged by them--but it is unlikely that the event all on its own is going to be the unhinger. Stresses just point out the "weak" or "strong" points in the relationship.

I pursued my PhD because I got divorced! I felt I needed to do something productive and positive with my life, to move ahead to the next thing, and a PhD was as good as anything else to do this... even at the times I was not convinced I wanted to be doing the PhD, I used to tell myself, well at least its doing SOMETHING!

Would my own marriage have thrived or survived on the PhD? Hard to say. My ex and I actually came together very well in times of crisis or strain, so perhaps the PhD would have been very possible if I had tried to do it whilst married. Who knows, perhaps it could have brought us close enough together to be able to resolve those things that did ultimately end the marriage....

Thread: Uni East Anglia or Uni Bath

posted
13-May-11, 14:53
edited about 28 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
First of all, congrats on the acceptances! Well done!
Secondly, are you dealing with the administration of your university or the people who will be supervising your PhD? If it is the administration, don't let that colour your ideas of what the PhD in the department will be like--two different branches, and if admin drives you mad, doubtless it drives everyone mad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=momD3XyV2a8

Sometimes there is more truth in this video than anyone might care to admit....I had a surreal experience being sent around to get the blue formed signed, only to be told that the orange form had replaced the blue form, and given a white form to get the orange form, and then the people who should have had the orange form did not know that the blue form was obsolete....etc....!

Universities everywhere--the US and the UK for sure--can have maddening complex and unresponsive bureacracy. But then that is the very definition of bureacracy.

I am an American who came to the UK to do my PhD, and can say, no, the British are not rude, and no they do not act superior.

But there are vast differences in how ( ok big generalisation, of course there are exceptions) Americans and British culture communicates. In some respects what is "normal" behaviour to Americans can come across as rude, direct and brash to British. There is a need to learn to bridge the communication gaps. I find that British people are far more indirect than Americans--so a meaning that might be perfectly clear to them can be mysteriously unclear or even missed to an American.

There is a large premium placed on formalities in communication-- I say a lot of please and thank yous--one time I counted to myself as I was buying a coffee, and a very normal exchange had about four or five thank yous in it. Formal politeness is far more a part of every day conversations than I have experienced in America.

I am not sure whether you have been dealing in writing or by phone, but you might find a short phone call will get you further than emails, if you know someone that you might be able to reach by phone.

And again, depending on who you are trying to reach, they might not be around. This is generally exam time in most universities, and whilst that is going on many academics might either be away or busy trying to mark exams.

And then sometimes it helps to know just how to phrase what you need---I know you might feel you do not need to finesse communication, but it can work wonders for getting what you need, if you just know the "British" form of asking... A British friend told me a few key phrases. "I am very dissapointed" seems to work wonders...as saying that to someone delivers a very different message than it would in America--it is a big no no ( again a generalisation) in Britain to dissapoint, and this is a culturally charged statement that seems to move people to action. Another statement that works is "I do not understand why you are not trying to help me."

Responding as sometimes happens in American culture, by being more direct, or more demanding, only brings the shutters down here. It does not work.

A delightfully accurate and helpful book to understand English culture is a book called "Watching the English". I read it and after that understood how to respond for instance, when someone was having a moan about the weather...

The UK is a delightful place, with many friendly and helpful people...at the same time its a very complex culture with many unwritten rules that can be hard to navigate at first. Try a softly softly approach, and see if that might not change the response you are getting....

You will love your experience in the UK--its a marvelous place. Its just a matter sometimes of standing back and figuring out how to navigate in a different culture ( and do not under estimate how different it is). In my own experience, it can take people awhile to "let you in" so that you stop being an "outsider", but once

Thread: Competitive boyfriend

posted
01-May-11, 14:17
by olivia 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
In talking with guys/men in general from time to time about this--and yes this is a giant generalisation and there are lots of exceptions--so please please take it as a generalisation!--they seem to reflect the view that they just are not sure in the modern age what to do with a woman who does not need to rely on them as a "provider." Women's achievements and independence can awaken insecurities in men, and they have not sorted out how to respond to their high achieving partners.

My ex became very funny when I got a job in management ( in the lifetime previous to the PhD) and had to go out of town for meetings overnight. He was out of town frequently for his job, we had no children, etc...he used to pick fights as I was leaving, or would pick fights when I would ring him while I was gone. I finally confronted him about this--asking him why he was always trying to start an argument when I had to go to these meetings (incidentally I did not like having to be out of town for things, I am/was a homebody...). He hemmed and hawed and finally admitted he was insecure somehow because I now had a job in a management position. ( Mind you at the same time, he had his own fab career and made lots lots lots more money than me...we paid more in taxes than I earned...).

So we never really resolved it...but at least he finally stopped fighting with me over it and tried to get to grips with his own feelings about it.

I would say--avoid any sort of situation where you and your other half are comparing and competing. Clearly this is a sore spot for him in some way, and perhaps best handled if avoided where ever possible. Is there something he does particularly well that you can do together? I am wanting to say, tongue in check, is there a spider that needs removing from the bathroom, but I am afraid it will get taken the wrong way so am not saying it. :X

Thread: therapy for writing problems?

posted
01-May-11, 14:09
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From ady:

Quote From olivia:



https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html
Basically she divides writing into four phases--madman, architect, carpenter, judge.



Never saw this before Olivia but very apt analogies. 'Judge' is def the dominant one in my quartet
:-(



Well--we all have them to varying degrees--and what is more we NEED all of them to help us write! :p

The trick is letting them do their job one at a time. There are much more detailed explanations of the Flowers Paradigm, if indeed it is something you want to look into further. It is a pretty simple, no fuss, no muss 4 stage process that WORKS.

At the risk of sounding like a (very) broken record, there is more information on this in the Bryan Garner book, "Legal Writing in Plain English". Even though the title is about legal writing, in fact, it applies to any kind of academic writing, and gives a very easy, straightforward way to write and edit. It even gives specific examples of things to edit for, and how, and in what order--along with more information on the use of the Flowers Paradigm.


Thread: therapy for writing problems?

posted
30-Apr-11, 19:03
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
What I am going to suggest may seem a bit simplistic in the face of what you are describing, and indeed, it might not be the sort of suggestion you are looking for...but...all of that notwithstanding, I do strongly recommend ANYONE doing writing take a look at the Flowers Paradigm.

https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html
This link is to a very simple explanation of it, there are lots more detailed explanations out there if you want to pursue it further.

Basically she divides writing into four phases--madman, architect, carpenter, judge.

It sounds like perhaps getting stuck with the Judge when actually you should be at the madman phase is causing a lot of problems and anxiety ( understandably so). The thing is to understand that writing has these four phases, and you use them ONE at a time. If you are in the madman phase, you tell the judge to get lost, he/she gets his turn at the end.

For me, knowing that there is a phased approach and a method to use that is easy yet makes sure the necessary tasks get done to a final polished piece take away ALL anxiety about writing. When I am madmanning, I do not fret about the judge tasks, I know they come later...

Anyway, I thought it might be worth a mention...

Thread: So who's watching the royal wedding?

posted
29-Apr-11, 14:24
edited a moment later
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I watched parts of it--and thought it was amazing! I love all of the tradition, pomp and circumstance of these events, including the parade of the Horse Guards and etc through the streets. Pippa did look so wonderfully elegant, and Kate and William radiant and happy.

Westminster Abbey is breathtaking, and if you think of all the hundreds or even now over a thousand years of tradition wrapped in that site alone, it is amazing.

Thread: Which database/s do you use to search for papers?

posted
28-Apr-11, 11:06
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From catalinbond:

I use web of knowledge as it's the only one I can really make work. I like the fact you can do combined searches to narrow don't the topic and it then links to my intitutions library and to endnote. ([email protected] sure you can do this with other search engines but I;ve never worked out how to make them work!)

I may investigate google scholer a bit more after this thread - but I find google links me to pubmed and I can't seem to get the full pdf from there.



Sometimes you may need to do a further login to the site Google Scholar takes you to ( ie athens password etc) and it may simply be your library does not subscribe to that data base so no article access...

Thread: Which database/s do you use to search for papers?

posted
28-Apr-11, 10:25
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I know that sometimes Google Scholar gets a bad rap because its on Google, and somehow people seem to think that takes away from its credibility. All Google Scholar does--from my own understanding anyway--is link into multiple sources for articles and tell you what database they are on. A click on the Google Scholar link will take you to "the source" and if you are fortunate, your library has access.

Another feature of Google Scholar that I like is that it will take you to the occassional free standing PDF of an article. Sometimes this is the only way to gain access. A lot of academics link PDFs of their own publications on their university home or staff page, or elsewhere, and Google Scholar frequently turns these up--sometimes it might be the only way to get to an article, and no data base of course is going to list these free standing PDFs.

As said, its horses for courses, many people are able to do what they need within the use of certain databases.

I have yet to have a librarian acknowledge the utility of Google Scholar--and yet all it is is a gateway to data bases.... it saves hunting through multiple data bases if you are not sure where what you need might be located.

Dare I go so far as to commit the heresy of mentioning Wikipedia?! Of course as a primary source for academic work its a huge no no. Yet, many times it is a great way to locate those primary sources you want. A well footnoted Wikipedia article can often reveal sources that are themselves helpful to locate and read! :$

Thread: Which database/s do you use to search for papers?

posted
27-Apr-11, 19:01
edited about 2 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I tend to dislike data base searching. I know that librarians and some swear by this--but unless the database permits keyword or free text searching it can really limit what you can find. I love Google Scholar. When I use it on campus, it links directly into library resources and databases, without the pain of a useless data base search.

Google Scholar gives access to multiple versions of articles--often articles are carried in more than one data base, links to related articles, links to articles that cite the other article...etc.

Of course it is horses for courses, but for my own legal and interdisciplinary research, I rely 99 no make that 100 percent on Google Scholar to find what I need.

Thread: conference paper and research paper

posted
25-Apr-11, 10:27
edited about 9 seconds later
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I will try to give you some suggestions, just based off my own experiences. There is no magic formula and a lot of it depends on how much time you will have to present. A typical, but by no means universal, arrangement is to have 3 people on a panel, with each person presenting from about 15-20 minutes with time reserved for questions either at the end of each presentation, the end of the entire panel or both.

So the first thing is to figure out how much time you have. If you are not clear, clarify this with the conference organisers.

Second, are you using any audio-visual equipment, such as powerpoint, video clips etc? Make sure the conference facilty allows for this.

Third, given the amount of time, think of what you can cover coherently. Often, you are going to be giving an overview rather than the details of your research or your topic.

My approach is usually to find three main points for discussion and then organise the presentation around those.

Introduction--discuss your three main points and what you plan to cover--set the framework.

Then discuss each point, one, two three. Remember the magic rule of "three"--three points to make on each of your main points, for instance--try to organise things in this manner.

After you present your main points, then conclude. What is the current situation, dilemma, whatever...

Think about the style in which you like/want to present.

Some people just read a paper--I personally find this style boring, but it is not uncommon to find.

If using power point, remember to not overclutter the slide with text.

Hope this helps!

Thread: Clash with sup over interpretation of results

posted
19-Apr-11, 10:10
by olivia 3 star member
Avatar for olivia
posted about 6 years ago
I agree--your work, your interpretation! It should stay in!

It is after all YOUR work and not meant to be a carbon copy of your supervisor or her theories and her research. And I think good research explores various possibilities, does not discount competing theories out of hand but gives them due consideration, and accepts the limits of its own results and insights. I would say (up) because it shows you are independently researching and is that not a big piece of what a PhD is meant to be about?!
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