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Wednesday, 18 February 2015 at 4:39pm
Monday, 23 September 2019 at 10:01pm
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Thread: At what stage do you approach potential supervisors?

23-Sep-19, 22:15
by abababa
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posted about 12 hours ago
If you are self-funded, you will probably find many doors are open.

The best advice I could give would be to treat the whole process as a two-way interview. You don't need to be too afraid of rejection or sending a bad proposal, what you do need to worry about is paying a small fortune for a supervisor that doesn't engage with you leading to a drawn out, isolated part-time PhD.

That said - strategically - consider sending the proposal to a few places that you're the least interested in first. If you get no answer or negative feedback (or even positive suggestions), you can take this onboard before sending it to the places you're most interested in.

Thread: Examiners judging my research on the wrong elements?

20-Sep-19, 03:15
edited about 23 seconds later
by abababa
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posted about 4 days ago
It's a bit worrying to see CS and maths viewed as completely different things. I'd think - perhaps optimistically - what they're trying to nudge you towards is a good PhD with a robust theoretical grounding, and to achieve and communicate this without a reasonable grasp of the core bits of maths would be nigh-impossible.

It is a very common problem in CS that PhDs can tend to focus on what's hard, rather than what's research (research is a subset of hard!). It's very easy in computer science to spend a lot of time programming something that's complex, but this doesn't automatically mean it's research - and the trap there is you can feel like you're doing something worthwhile because it's hard and time consuming, rather than because it's good science.

This goes double if you're working with a company, because they can sometimes tend to focus and feed-back based on what they need - a practical solution - rather than what it contributes to science - a PhD.

The good news is you're still at an early stage and can consider and react. As an internal review, there is typically little to be gained from complaining about or contesting the process if the result is a 'pass but do some extra work on this' (much easier and more productive to do the work than go through a complaint process). I would instead try to clarify why they feel it's relevant to your research, and approach that discussion very open-mindedly.

Thread: Dissertation Partner being published but not me-same data

30-Aug-19, 03:15
edited about 17 seconds later
by abababa
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posted about 3 weeks ago
There are no generic rules about publication credit in academia, only general perceptions of what is/isn't cool (which varies between groups, institutions, and disciplines).

It sounds like you had a significant role in the work related to the potential output. Author credit to me would seem appropriate. This is probably an introduction to politics, in academia. In my experience, navigate as follows...

1) Are you sure you're being excluded from the output, as you're working forwards from a worst case scenario, it seems. Unless barriers are being put up I would just speak to the colleague and supervisor in terms of 'so I heard there's a plan to publish the data I helped collect? Just let me know what I can input to the paper' (and input your name as a co-author while you do it!) as this is a) helpful and b) not needlessly confrontational. Possibly do this with the supervisor first as they're far less likely to be massively invested in it, and your colleague is likely to follow their direction.

2) If it seems like they want to deliberately exclude you or incredibly pent-up on who co-authors what, then either a) they're jerks, and are needlessly burning bridges on the basis that having 1 additional author on a paper will meaningfully impact their careers; or b) there's a consensus you didn't meaningfully contribute and are trying to leech credit. In either case, you'd need to consider then confront and state your case very carefully.

Folks can probably advise in more detail on 2) but I'd really make sure 1) isn't the case first.

Thread: Apply for a PhD when already enrolled

16-May-19, 01:13
by abababa
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posted about 4 months ago
Yes, you *can* but I'd think carefully about:

a) Can you shape the current PhD to be what you want to do? If not, why not? If it's that is has restrictive funding requirements - and you're happy to give these up - it would be a good reason. If it's something more nebulous (don't *think* prof would let you do it), be careful these are certainties rather than assumptions before proceeding.

b) Accept that a PhD is often monotonous, repetitive, hard work. This is not a 'bad' PhD, it's often the nature of research. Switching topic will not magically fix this - you'll just realise the thing you thought was interesting is also monotonous, repetitive, hard work to investigate rigorously. Of course, this is a cynical perspective - the ideal situation is you're down the pub on a Friday explaining why what sounds as boring as hell to everyone else is super-interesting - because you're finding the monotonous, repetitive, hard work compelling.

c) It would be up to you, I'd presume, whether you disclose that you're currently doing a PhD elsewhere. As a supervisor I'd rather someone be up-front and explain why they want to switch - and be trying to assess if a) or b) above apply. I'd try to answer these questions to yourself, convincingly, so you can be up front and make the same convincing argument on the application, or rethink things.

Thread: Proof of my masters?

16-May-19, 01:01
edited about 16 seconds later
by abababa
Avatar for abababa
posted about 4 months ago
A scan of the certificate would be what I'd expect, if I asked for it.

You'd possibly want to bring the certificates to the interview, if this is relevant to your situation. Generally this is more for HRs benefit than the interviewers' - by which I mean, these policies/processes are typically driven by HR rules (which themselves are designed to catch rare/ridiculous 'worst case' scenarios) rather than a burning passion from the professor doing the interview to see a candidate's life history in print, signed in triplicate!

In short - send a quick scan; if they're not happy with it they'll let you know what they do want, and either way it shouldn't affect your chances.

Thread: What is a double-baseline design?

31-Jul-18, 03:47
by abababa
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posted about 1 year ago
Treatment is started & baselined at different times. Because there are two baselines, we can attempt to infer the treatment is the cause of the effect. This assumes a hypothesis that the treatment's benefit is exposure time related (a reasonable assumption in most forms of behavioural intervention).

e.g. - You do the same depression intervention on two cohorts, which start 1 month apart. You baseline both at start point for respective cohort. Both cohorts report monthly depression-inventory scales. Cohort 1's response markedly improves vs their baseline 3 months later. Cohort 2's markedly improves vs their baseline 4 months later, with them having started the intervention a month later. The fact both baselines improved within a similar duration of exposure to the intervention supports the hypothesis the intervention is the causal factor.

Benefit - all participants are exposed to intervention. This can be important both ethically and pragmatically. But the same could sometimes be achieved with a crossover design.

Drawback - you may still fail to accommodate extraneous factors. For example, if both interventions are led by the same facilitator - is it the content of the intervention, or the skill of the facilitator? Similarly, depending on the temporal aspect, and the power of your stats, something extraneous could still happen in week 2.5 (like a TV documentary on depression), with sufficiently strong an effect to influence both sets of responses.

Thread: urgent question

18-Feb-15, 17:10
edited about 14 seconds later
by abababa
Avatar for abababa
posted about 4 years ago
Presumably there was a rationale for doing both. I would imagine the interviews were there to provide qualitative insight to support or refute the quantitative data.

Whether this is needed, useless, or can be omitted depends very much on your hypothesis and research design. If your survey metric has been validated though other correlations, is well-designed, and has a sample appropriate for your analysis techniques (i.e. is not a fudged ANOVA of 30 Likert responses), then it may stand alone as a contribution worthy of a PhD. Similarly you can build a PhD purely on qualitative work but will have to defend other questions such as how representative the sample is, and how findings might generalise.

Surely if you have the data, a survey would be quick to analyse (though, admittedly, if you have 1,000 hand-filled papers rather than a SurveyMonkey report I'd see the problem). Since you've already undertaken the qualitative work, then if time really is an issue an option might be to pick several interviews as detailed case studies rather than report them all? If transcription is the problem then see if you have budget as a student to pay for this using a service.
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