Signup date: 14 May 2014 at 12:26am
Last login: 08 Jan 2016 at 9:57am
Post count: 145
This is a good article from the University of Melbourne about using tense in scientific writing. It has helped me to get my head around the correct use of tense.
It's going to be a challenge if you haven't started your data analysis yet. That stage usually takes the most time. You don't have the luxury of trying out different approaches (trail and error, blind alleys etc), so you will need to make sure you nail it the first time.
As the others have said, start writing. Sketch out your introduction, get the literature review done while you do the analysis. Keep a detailed log of your methods and results so that you can easily transfer them into your thesis draft.
An extension would be worth looking into as well.
I recommend you have a meeting with your supervisor and discuss options. Before that, you should take stock of what you have in terms of data and output, and determine whether you could actually shape it into a PhD thesis. You may be surprised at what you have, especially given the time you have been working on it. If you can find enough to put into 3 data chapters, then you have a PhD.
Don't worry about publications at this stage, you can always publish after you have your PhD. Conference papers are are a 'nice to have', but not essential, especially if you aren't on top of your thesis.
It would be a waste of 3 years if you quit, and you would always have regrets.
Are you advanced enough in your PhD to be able to carry on as an external student? If you started last January, that means you have nearly 18 months of work behind you. What you need to weigh up is whether you want to start over again, or continue with where you are at with your current supervisor - just without the convenience of face to face contact.
I'm from the geographic sciences, and my disucssion and conclusion for each data chapter was rolled into one. My approach was to cover off what was in the chapter aims/objects, and discuss the outcomes in relation to previous literature i.e. how my work added to the state of knowledge about the subject. In my discussion I also provided a summary of sorts, but it was integrated into the broader discussion.
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