#### Recent Posts

###### Stats question
4

I have a bit of a stats issue here, but I'll simplify the actual specifics so it doesn't get too boring...

Imagine I have investigated the effects of five drugs on heart rate. I give subject number 1 drug A and monitor their heart rate at hourly intervals for 24h. After a washout period, I then give this same person drug B, and again monitor heat rate hourly. I do this for drug C, D, and E on the same person. I then repeat this procedure on 2 more people.

I draw a line graph, showing change in HR (compared to the pre-drug HR) over time, with five lines, one for each drug. I want to see whether there is a significant difference between the change in HR induced by drugs A-E (and a placebo control), so I decide to do repeated measures ANOVA for each particular timepoint, with corrected pairwise comparison. However, at one time point (say 15h), the distribution of heart rates over the 3 volunteers is not normal, and therefore I have to do the ANOVA on ranks.

My question is - does this them mean that I have to do EVERY ANOVA on this graph as a ranks ANOVA, or can I just use normal ANOVA for all the others? Effectively, I'm asking whether you can mix rank and non-rank tests of the same type, as long as you define the test of normality which is used to determine this?

On the one hand, I know the ANOVA by ranks is a bit more robust, but then it seems stupid that I could lose significance at another time point, purely because one set of data at another timepoint is not normally distributed.

Can anyone help?

###### Scared to do a PhD???!!!
4

My thoughts, in point form, for what they're worth:

1. Depression and PhDs. Cause and effect. I rather suspect that people who are prone to depression are more likely to do PhDs than others. There is an element of obsessiveness and workaholism in a lot of PhD work which, I think, is also found in depressed people. If you're not already depressed, and don't have a tendency towards depression, I reckon it's unlikely that you'll get depressed.

2. People here moan/vent/complain, and often about major things. However, it's a bit like plane crashes. One happens and it's all over the news. You don't come here and read about the hundreds of PhD students who are getting along fine.

3. My major point. Yes, a PhD is hard work, but it's not usually back-breaking. I've heard stories of 80 hour weeks, but I've never met anyone in that position. It's generally 9/9.30 - 5/6/7 daily for me. Not constantly working either - there's some chatting, coffee, lunch, procrastinating and so on. In my mind, the hardest part is the feeling like you don't know what you're doing or where you're going. However, this is natural for something that lasts a minimum of three years, and I think coming to terms with it is an essential part of the PhD process. It's not prescribed like undergrad stuff is, and in terms of what you work on, you may be partly or completely isolated from everyone else you know. However, there will be othes about in the same position, and anyway, if others were doing the same work, it wouldn't be original, and you wouldn't get your PhD :p

So, in summary, it's not a walk in the park, but it's not something which only a masochist would enjoy. You get out what you put in, and if you make the most of the opportunities, you will emerge from it not only more knowledgeable about your subect, but with better work ethic, organisation, communication and writing skills, and more confidence (I hope!). Oh, and you'll be more academically qualified than about 98% of the country, and allowed to have "Dr" on your bank card. Worth it just for that, isn't it?

Good luck :D

###### Keeping up to date
4

Does anyone have experience with Zetoc, TicTOCS, or any other service which can be used to alert you when new papers fitting in with specified keywords are published? Can anyone recommend one of these, or something else?

Thanks :)

###### Looking for journal article (medicine)
4

Hi Rob,

I've looked and it's not available to me either. However, have you thought about emailing him? When I've wanted an article, found it unavailable, and been able to find an up-to-date email address for the first or last author, they generally send you the pdf if you ask for it. After all, it's spreading their work!

Can't promise, but there's every chance he'll be able to help...

Matt

4

Hi all,

I'm looking for this paper, and I was wondering whether anyone has access to it? Very, very many thanks in anticipation...

Matt

Priest N.D., Burns G. and Gorbunov B., Dust Levels on the London Underground: a health hazard to commuters? Management Journal of Occupational Health Safety and Environment, 1999, Vol 3, Issue 1

###### LateX - Getting it
4

Hi all,

I'm probably going to use Word for my thesis, as no one in my area uses LateX. However, I have friends who do, and I'm intrigued. I looked up how to get it, and I'm unsure of exactly what I need, and where from. Can anyone provide pointers please?

Thanks :)

Matt

4

Excellent news! But how pathetic that internal politics and egos can potentially have such an influence on the award of a degree at this level. Quite ridiculous...

###### lost..depression...need a help!
4

Hi LittleMas,

As you can see from a post near yours on the forum, I'm feeling very similar to how you are. Experiments not working, feeling like I'm not going to make it, comparing myself to peers both within and outside PhDs.

I suppose the first thing is to ask whether you've spoken to your supervisor about this. Do you know how they feel about your work? Perhaps you're further along than you realise. And do you know how the other PhD students feel about their own work? Is it that they really are further along than you, or is it that you think they are from what you see, but in reality they're not?

I think there are lots of questions here which I'll leave you to answer before saying any more. Good luck!

###### lost..depression...need a help!
4

Hi LittleMas,

As you can see from a post near yours on the forum, I'm feeling very similar to how you are. Experiments not working, feeling like I'm not going to make it, comparing myself to peers both within and outside PhDs.

I suppose the first thing is to ask whether you've spoken to your supervisor about this. Do you know how they feel about your work? Perhaps you're further along than you realise. And do you know how the other PhD students feel about their own work? Is it that they really are further along than you, or is it that you think they are from what you see, but in reality they're not?

I think there are lots of questions here which I'll leave you to answer before saying any more. Good luck!

###### Struggling
4

Thanks for all your replies. I guess the general gist is what I thought it would be, which is comforting in knowing that I'm not being unrealistic in understanding what I SHOULD be doing. On the other hand, whether I'll ever pluck up the courage to say "no, that's enough for today" is another question.

I think the way I feel is made worse by feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. There aren't really any other students or postdocs here who are working on the same project as me, and so I feel like I'm completely alone, work-wise, and that all this time I'm working is just setting me up to be pulled apart in meetings/talks/vivas. I suppose if I had confidence that what I was doing was correct, or tried-and-tested, then I'd feel better, but I don't. I guess it's this, in combination with the fact that I can't tear myself away from work mentally, which is making me feel so low. There's always the realisation that, if I don't get things working soon, so that I can do repeat experiments and get reproducible results (rather than having several different setups but n=1 for each one) then I might end up not getting a PhD, and then I have no idea what I'd do.

###### Struggling
4

I'm having a bit of a crisis at the moment, and thought I'd come here and vent/let it out/etc.

I'm in the second year of a 1+3 PhD, so I have exactly 31 months to submit. Every time I go to see my supervisor, it feels like she's picking holes in everything that I do, and then suggesting so many other things that there's no time to do even half of them, although I wouldn't dare suggest this. I end each meeting feeling like I've wasted the past week. I'm usually one of the first to get into the office, and one of the last to leave, and yet I feel like I'm still not doing what I'm meant to - more than one person in the office has already mentioned that I "work too much", even though I often feel like my supervisor thinks I'm lazy, although this could just be me being paranoid, as she's not said this in so many words. I'm not sleeping properly, waking every hour or two, and when I get home, all I want to do is curl up and escape.

I've had major problems with depression and anxiety in the past, and feeling like this just leads to similar feelings rearing their head again. I have pretty much no social life either, although I don't really have the time for one, or the inclination once I get home. I live a fair way from home, although I try to visit every month or so, but it means I feel pretty lonely and isolated. The only thing I do outside of PhD is a language course, although I've recently not been having much time for it because of work and how it leaves me feeling after each day.

Anyway, I should probably go to the lab now and do some experiments, but that's about the extent of how things are at the moment. I'd love there to be a light at the end of the tunnel but, right now, I can't see one at all.

###### Relationship vs PhD (time management)
4

In my experience, I think the two are incompatible. While I am in the office 9.15-5, it's usually more like 6.30. Added to this is the unpredictability of work, meaning that I might have to go in on weekends, although this is unlikely, planning anything for any free time is very difficult, certainly if it's for a relationship.

Add to this the fact that I feel most people don't understand what a PhD is, and think that you're "just a student", and it means that, unless you have a relationship with another PhD student, they're very, very difficult. Certainly, the only time I've been anywhere near a relationship in the past 18 months, she couldn't understand it, so it ended.

Just another nice part of life which a PhD closes off to you.

4

Cool, that sounds like a really interesting topic! :)

###### PhD going nowhere
4

Hi everyone,

I'm in the second year as a postgrad, but first year of my proper PhD, as it's a 1+3 PhD, so my Phd is about 4 months old. I've only been able to work on it properly for about two months due to a vital part of the work not being available until the start of December. Since then, however, I've been working really hard and getting nowhere. My experiments just don't seem to work, and I have no idea why. There are so many variables that could come into it that I don't know where to look first. Time feels like it's flying, and I feel like my incompetence is beginning to show. I'm worried that this will go on for months and months, and that I'll end up failing my PhD because I'll have nothing to show for it. I won a prize for my masters work last year, but now I feel like I can't do anything right. The work is rather different to what others in my lab are doing, which means I can't easily ask anyone for advice. There aren't even many papers on the techniques I'm using, and those which DO exist all do their work in completely different ways.

I'm concerned that already over 10% of my PhD has passed and I have absolutely zero to show for it. Because of the way the 1+3 thing works, I only get three years max on my proper PhD - no extension into the fourth year allowed - and so I'm already feeling a lot of pressure to get things to work, and so I feel sick about coming to work, sick when I'm here, and really frightened about the prospect of coming out of it at the end with no degree.

Has anyone else felt this?

Matt

###### Are my applications being read or what??
4

Hi MissScientist,

I would usually start off my reply to a post like this by saying that PhDs are being heavily oversubscribed at the moment, due to job shortages - I've heard that numbers of applications are three times what they were a few years ago. However, you clearly have excellent qualifications, soooo....

My first questions would be, which university is your degree from? Is it from a red-brick/Russell Group/similar, or from a very new uni which some people may regard a being of lesser quality? Second, have you had your CV and covering letter checked by anyone else, like a careers service at your old university? I'm not suggesting there is a negative answer to either of these, but considering your first, your experience, and that you have a publication, it seems very strange that you're not even getting interviews.

I'd suggest contacting places you'vem applied but had no joy with, and asking them whether they could give you some feedback, at least something more constructive than "We had lots of applications, and couldn't interview everyone". Perhaps ask them whether there's anything you could have improved on, so that next time you can have a better chance of getting an interview.

Have all your applications been to different institutions, or are you focusing on one or two?

Matt