Overview of Socrates88

Overview

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Socrates88
Monday, 11 January 2010 at 4:39pm
Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 4:34pm
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Thread: Totally Ashamed

posted
09-May-10, 17:12
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Hi there!

I see you've received some excellent advice here (in fact, some of them are so good that they'll help me deal with my current write-up writer's block!). I also think - like everyone else here - that your username isn't helping matters ;-)
I've been where you have several times, so if you think you're an idiot or a prat just because you've done it once, then you'd probably need to invent a new term for me :$
Any ways, what people have said here is all true. It's always a bigger problem in one's head - and whilst it's being ignored rather than addressed - than it actually is in real life. Follow the advice eveyone's given you here & you'll feel much better.
The people in this forum have been really great help at times when I've been pulling my hair out too, so stay in touch & keep everyone updated. (up)

Thread: Confused.. To work or take funded PHD

posted
09-May-10, 14:22
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 09 May 2010 14:32:21 =======
======= Date Modified 09 May 2010 14:29:45 =======
Quote From rk1985:


I spoke with my final year dissertation mentor, who I enjoyed working with, who mentioned that a funded opportunity was coming up in the subject my dissertation concentrated on. I am very interested in the subject and my final year dissertation got the university award for best piece of research in my year group. So I applied and got word that I have been offered the post.

My dilemma is that the PHD is in a different subject than my degree, so I have to decide which avenue to pursue, and I am finding the decision so difficult!


Hi Rk1985,

It's a difficult choice and I don't think anyone can tell you what the best choice is except for you!

I'm not sure I understood what you said above about your dilemma - was your dissertation (and now your proposed PhD topic) in a subject/discipline different to that of your degree? Did/Do you enjoy the subject of your dissertation/proposed PhD? If yes, then don't focus on this aspect too much since the most important thing about PhD research (my personal opinion, though others may disagree) is that it's in something that you enjoy or think is very valuable/important - either way, this will provide you with the motivation to learn, research, work, and hang-in there through the ups and down during the three-year period.

As for doing a PhD with the guarantee of getting a better job than you have now, or a job in academia, I cannot say since I'm not acquainted with your discipline. I know that with an Arts & Humanities PhD (especially given the current climate) there is no such guarantee (but then again, depends which area within Arts & Hums, and whether it's something that could be used in policy-making, and instituitions outside of academic). So you need to explore the career propspects of the particular area of your PhD since this will - in part - answer your question.

Personally, I know that the chances of getting an cademic job in my area of specialisation is something like 30% (if that!); but I'd rather have tried than live with myself not having given it my best shot. So ultimately, things depend on what you're ideas are of a PhD and why you want to do it.

Best thing to do is ask yourself what your priorities are in life (imagine you're 60-70 years old or something) where would you like to see yourself, and what would you like to have achieved. Now ask yourself sincerely (and speak to family & friends too): Which route (PhD or Job) would provide the best means to that end?

Best of luck either way!

Thread: How much weight have YOU gained since starting you PhD?

posted
07-May-10, 15:25
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
That's it! This thread has motivated me to get up & get out! I'm going window-shopping, so lots of walking (and possibly drooling) but no buying. At least it means I'll do some walking and moving (up) Thanks Mr. Motivator!

Thread: Got a job!!

posted
07-May-10, 15:16
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Congratulations & well done! The hardest part is over; don't worry, I'm sure you'll do well in your viva - enjoy & celebrate!

Thread: Funding: One Out, One In!!!!!

posted
07-May-10, 15:13
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Quote From keenbean:

Hey, well done you! Congrats! Now put your feet up and take it easy for a while! KB


Thank you all vey much. I'm afraid there's going to be no rest for me. I'll be spending the next 3 months writing-up my MPhil thesis & preparing for a viva before I start this new PhD - straight away - in September; oh, and it means moving to another part of the UK, so flat-hunting and moving is also in order. But I'm so happy I just don't care :p

Thread: How much weight have YOU gained since starting you PhD?

posted
07-May-10, 12:57
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Quote From sneaks:

If you get a dog, they make you go out and do exercise, because they paw, nudge and whine until you do :-(


Hey that's a GREAT idea Sneaks! I have a cat and all she does is meaow when she wants food and petting (on my lap); a dog would definitely get me out and about.

Thread: Creating your own luck

posted
07-May-10, 12:53
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago

Thanks TennieV - this is really helpful.

I read it & agree with Sneaks - it sounds more like 'be pro-active and make your own luck'.

BTW Sneaks, your research sounds interesting. Have you come accross a book by S. Covey called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? It's quite well known & I've just started reading it. Would you say it's any good?

Thread: Funding: One Out, One In!!!!!

posted
07-May-10, 12:42
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
The 'reserve list' thing worked and I got the funding - Woo Hoo!

Thank you all very much :-)

Thread: How much weight have YOU gained since starting you PhD?

posted
07-May-10, 12:35
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 07 May 2010 12:36:27 =======
I know all that PhDSmug, which is why I concluded my post with 'Oh Sweet Self-deception' ;-)

I joined the gym so I can go swimming but it was too costly so I had to stop; I've tried yoga and ended up with an injury because I have constant problems with my joints (especially when it's humid and cold weather), so I finally gave up and decided to attend to my health once this PhD thing is out of the way. But thanks for the reminder; it helps to be bullied into shaping-up :-)

Thread: pulling out of funding application

posted
07-May-10, 12:27
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
I agree with PhDSmug, if you have particularly unfavourable circumstances which might jeopardise you're being able to finish your PhD, then I'm sure they would much rather tell them that now, than take the funding and not finish your PhD - especially when that funding could've gone to someone else who might have finished. If you have good reasons, it shouldn't be held against you. Just avoid anything that sounds like you might not have academic aspirations for the future, or that you don't think you're suited to do a PhD (basically, anything that will make them doubt your ability and motivation should you wish to apply in future). Tell them that personal circumstances have impeded you for being able to start a PhD this year & that you need time to attend to them, but that you very much wish - once these problems have been addressed - to come back & re-apply because you are committed to a career in academia; and that you thought it in everyone's interest to tell them this as soon as possible so that they can make alternative arrangements, and are not inconvenienced by your pulling out.

I was in a position where I had to apply for 2 (internally) funded PhDs at 2 different institutions. Luckily, I heard from the first institution two weeks before the other one announced theirs; so as soon as I found out I'd won at institution A, I immediately contacted institution B to let them know, just in time for them to put forward someone else in my place (just in case I was on their list of people to recommend for the funding; although I might not have been, but just to show that I was trying to be considerate). They were very grateful I did so in a timely manner!

Thread: How much weight have YOU gained since starting you PhD?

posted
07-May-10, 11:56
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Good question! I've gained over a stone since I started 18 months ago :-s

My research involves: reading, reading, writing, reading, writing, and more writing, then some more reading. I'd say that I spend - roughly - 10 to 15 hours per day sitting on my behind (which has, oddly, began to grow into the same shape as my office chair!).

I do teach a few times a week, which necessitates walking from my front door to the car, and then from the car to the university building (5 minutes walk in total), and when I arrive at class, I sit some more. When I mark essays, I also sit some more, and so I spend most of my life sitting unless I'm sleeping (in which case I lie down), cooking dinner (standing up for 30 mins tops), washing-up (another 15 minutes standing up), and pottering around the house (10 mins).

So, on average, I spend 45 minutes standing up, 8 hours lying down, 10 mins pottering around, 5 minutes walking, and - guess what? - 15 hours sitting down :$

I keep telling myself that although the fat-count is going up (which could imply health problems later in life), flexing my intellectual muscles for hours on end must mean that my brain is somehow getting bigger & healthier ;-)  Oh Sweet Self-deception!

Thread: how to find the best uk university department?

posted
05-May-10, 10:28
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 05 May 2010 10:29:41 =======
Hi Again,

Also found these (below). You can't, of course, base your whole choice on rankings, but there are also some student reviews from people who've done the MSc you want to do. Maybe look at these and also speak to one of your tutors for further guidance:

General guidance on how to choose a course in Environmental Science:

http://www.science-engineering.net/environmental-management.htm

Courses in Environmental Sciences in the UK (including student reviews, overall university rankings, and subject ranking):

http://www.whatuni.com/degrees/courses/degree-courses/environmental-management-degree-courses-england/m/england/r/8558/page.html

Thread: how to find the best uk university department?

posted
05-May-10, 10:08
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Hi Cbtmclean40,

There's another thing you could do (if you haven't done so already).
Is there a professor/lecturer where you are currently studying (if you are currently studying anywhere) or with whom you have contact that you could ask to assist you. My previous tutors have been very helpful in the past with regards to making recommendations, sharing pros and cons, and helping me decide which department to choose. It should (preferabbly) be some one who knows a little about the field of your MSc, and would therefore be in a position to make the best recommendation. Reputation & word-of-mouth travels fast in the academic community, and your tutors may be able to point you in the right direction.

Hope this helps.

Thread: how to find the best uk university department?

posted
02-May-10, 15:06
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 02 May 2010 15:10:55 =======
Hi

League tables are mere indicators; they can never really give you a comprehensive list of the 'best' universities simply because what counts as 'best' (or the constituents that together make-up what we call 'best') vary to a large degree from person to person, and do also depend to a large extent on your own personal preferences. E.g. Do you prefer big or small departments; out-of-city or in-the-city campus location; is location important (i.e. what do you expect the location to offer you in terms of lifestyle); is there any particular school / focus area / particular methodology within the discipline of Environmental Studies/Management that attracts you or that you are keen on, etc.?

A couple of friends did Environmental Management & Sustainable Development at a university in Scotland, and highly rated their experience & their MSc, yet you won't find this university mentioned on the league-tables, so it's really hard for league-tables, or just from someone's personal experience to recommend a department to you since it is YOU who has to decide what you want & then look at the list of all the universities that do the course, visit their websites to check out what the degree modules are (i.e. the modules that make up the degree. This will vary from department to department with some overlap), what the culture looks like, and then make a final short-list of the ones that offer what you think is the 'best' (i.e. most suitable for YOU) MSc. Then contact the post-grad administrators at each of those department and arrange to go visit those departments. That way, you get a feel of what it's like to be/study there and decide where you can see yourself spending a year studying.

Click on this link to the Guardian website that tells you - at a glance - what you can expect from studying Geography & Environmental Studies. You'll then be able to see what particular aspects of suit your aspirations best. That way, you know what you're looking for before you go looking for it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/may/01/universityguide.geographyandenvironmentstudies

Best of luck!

Thread: Frustration with finding research questions.

posted
26-Apr-10, 08:58
Avatar for Socrates88
posted about 9 years ago
Hi Jackson,

Much depends on what field you're working in, but ultimately there are some general 'guidelines' or 'principles' which can be applied to any research area. As it has already been mentioned below by the others, research method books and guides can give valuable tips on how to do so. There are tons on books on Amazon, for instance. I didn't buy any until I was sure I had the right one. I found over 30 different 'How to Do a PhD' or 'How to Write a PhD Thesis' in the library. I then skimmed through them (some of them are related to specific fields - e.g. Social Sciences, Sciences, or Arts and Humanities, etc.) until I found relevant ones. It would really help you to look at some of these guides. It gave me a better idea of what a PhD is supposed to be all about, and what's expected. In addition, some guides have practical step-by-step exercises showing you how to write a proposal, come up with research questions, etc. I Google-searched websites that also offered good advice on how to write proposal and formulate research questions (i.e. the process of coming up with them).

With reference to what your supervisor has asked you to do, it would help if you just asked your self a few questions: 1. why is this topic interesting/important? 2. what are the general problems/challenges involved in this topic, and which has motivated tons of articles to be written about it offering solutions? 3. Can these solutions be divided into groups/types? 4. What are the pros and cons of each type/approach/solution (not each particular solution - because you said there were tons - but rather each school of thought, or each approach to this solution, and this may include a good few solutions offered by different thinkers, but which generally share the same approach to solving the problem)? 5. Finally, what do I make of these approaches/solutions to the given problem? Are they convincing? Do they solve the problem, but give rise to a host of other related problem? Do I find myself attached to one particular approach above others? If yes, what is it about this particular approach I find compelling? Does it have any shortcoming? Can I see a way of remedying this shortcoming by modifying, or adding on to the approach?

One way in which research questions could arise is out of someone's looking at a given problem from different angles, and trying to envisage different approaches, and then evaluating each. A little like calculating your moves during a game of chess before you decide on your final move. If you read a lot and not take the time to critically question and assess what you're reading, you'll feel bogged down by the sheer enormity of the number of solutions out there, and won't know where to begin, or what you could offer that hasn't been done already. This is normal. Take one morning out of reading, forget all about it, and get some blank paper out and let trust your mind - do spider diagrams, lists, anything that helps you unleash your minds creativity and go with it! You'll be surprised at what you find!

Hope this helps.

Best of luck!
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