Overview of bob86

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Recording of online viva- academic scandal

That's shocking! I'm sorry to hear about this, especially the alleged racism part. Was there not an independent chair overseeing the viva? Usually there's a third person present to make sure the viva's conducted fairly. This is the procedure followed at my institution. Personally I would raise the necessary paperwork to begin the internal complaints procedure. Of course you need to weigh that up against the possibility of it dragging on for several weeks/months before an outcome is reached.

Passed my viva!

Congratulations! To have come this far, given all your personal troubles, is proof that it CAN be done! Well done and enjoy the celebrations : )

Best/accepted practice for citing private/personal (email) communication in PhD thesis

Quote From abababa:
It would be more 'normal' to add the name of the developer into acknowledgements, with brief detail on their contribution. The idea of a reference is something someone can find and read; it's a bit odd to make an email exchange publicly available (and if it's not, what's the point of referencing it). Whilst it's possible, you'd envision an email exchange to be referenced if it's something social-sciencey reflecting on context and perspectives; not because it explains how something works.

Of course I would acknowledge the developer of the software used to produce the results in my thesis. It goes without saying.

This does put it on you to convey how things work themselves, but if you're confident to publish you should be confident to describe how you got the results, so it should - hopefully - be straightforward.

You only convey how things work to the point where you can fully justify the results in front of you.

The risk you run if you cite it as justification/explanation, is it being interpreted as 'we didn't know how the black box worked, but we got the explanation of the guy who made the box, and present it here as fact'. This may not be as problematic as it sounds, but is it probably the reason it's rare.

Of course I wouldn't be citing the email as justification for why my results look the way they do. I understand how the 'black box' works pretty well. Did you read my post above? What I intend to cite is a simple functionality that one would typically find declared in the User's Guide. The literature for this software just happens to be quite vague. The information was left out inadvertently (as advised by the developer). Nonetheless it is important that I mention because it facilitates a certain discussion in my thesis, by no means does it replace the entire argument or justify any of my results.


Best/accepted practice for citing private/personal (email) communication in PhD thesis

Quote From rewt:
I have seen private conversations in a reference list but it may vary between fields. If you unsure, choose a couple of respectable journals in your field and see how they do it. If the journal has previously let someone cite a previous conversation in a particular format, that should be a good enough standard for your work.

Thanks rewt,

I've contacted my library services at my intstituion to see if they have an accepted practice. If there isn't one then what you've menionted will probably be my next step.


Best/accepted practice for citing private/personal (email) communication in PhD thesis

Quote From Tudor_Queen:
I looked into this recently for a paper, and wherever I found the answer (probably APA manual) told me to do this:

"We did X, which was considered appropriate as it
was just short of the length of the shortest sample (J. Bloggs, personal communication,
August 27, 2015)."

And it was not listed in the references at the end, just in the text.

If you are referring to actual data then the best place to check might be a recently published meta-analysis. Often authors contact researchers for unpublished data and include it in their meta-analysis (if it is a very thorough one that is trying to account for publication bias and include all possible relevant data). If you can find a paper like this you can just copy how they cite the data and then whether and how they put it in the reference list at the end. It shouldn't be hard to find one.

Hi Tudor_Queen

Thanks for looking into this. I'm not referring to actual data, it's an explanation of a basic functionality within a particular software that I’ve used. It’s information that you would expect to find in a professional/commercial grade software User's Guide. But given that this is an academic/open-source software, it comes as no surprise that the associated literature is quite poor!

The above approach you’ve mentioned is what I'm leaning towards. However, I've also emailed my library services team (which admittedly I should have done in the first instance) to determine if there is an accepted practice at my institution.


Best/accepted practice for citing private/personal (email) communication in PhD thesis

I would like to cite an email exchange that I had with the developer of the software program which was used to produce the results presented in my thesis. In this email exchange the developer explains a certain process that occurs within the software program. I need to mention this process vaguely to facilitate a certain argument in my discussion.

I recently came across a random citation guide (https://libguides.dixie.edu/c.php?g=57887&p=371731) which states that all personal communication (email/telephone conversation/letter) are not recoverable data and therefore should not be included on the reference list. Rather they should appear exclusively in the main text e.g., John Clark says… (personal communication, August 4, 2020) or (John Clark, personal communication, August 4, 2020).

However, in my experience I’ve come across various instances of private communications being cited (in a journal article) where it was treated like any other reference, i.e., the main text includes e.g., [1] and the bibliography e.g., [1] John Clark, Private Communication, August 4, 2020.

Not including private communication in the main text as recommended in the above citation guide makes a lot of sense as it kind of goes against the very purpose of the bibliography/reference list. However, having seen it done the other way in many instances has left me somewhat unsure. Does anybody know if there is a best/accepted practice for citing private/personal communication?

Many thanks,

Feeling anxious about handing PhD work in late

Quote From Amaryllis427:
Hi Bob, Thanks for replying. No, I mean my literature review - it was a piece for my annual progress report. I'm coming to the end of my first year.

Ah, okay. Well less reason to worry in that case! Relax!

Feeling anxious about handing PhD work in late

When you say written work, I'm assuming you are referring to your thesis? I would imagine that extensions to registration/thesis submission in the current climate are quite normal. If you were able to provide them with evidence of your situation then I wouldn't worry about it too much. We're in the middle of a global pandemic, it would be very unreasonable of them to fail you for the reasons you've mentioned!

Any words of encouragement?

Quote From Dr_Crabby:
Hi guys

How often to people get referred for an MPhil or fail following major corrections? That's my worry that after all this stress and heartache that it will still end up not passing.

Recently my University ran a what-to-expect-at-your-viva workshop where this was one of the FAQs posed by researchers. We were advised that although a lower (MPhil) award following major corrections is one of the possible outcomes, at my institution, at least, it is an exceptionally rare occurrence. If I recall correctly the official statistic quoted to us was something like 2/137 major correction results following a viva over the last 10 years were downgraded to MPhil, with only 1 failing outright. Of course, those are the statistics at my institution, you may want to obtain the relevant statistics for your own institution, it might help put your mind at rest. Good luck, I hope you get them submitted on time (I’ve read your posts on here and feel your pain!) and all of this malarkey will be a thing of the past : )

Part-time PhD while working full-time

Hats off to anyone who has managed to complete a part-time PhD while holding down a full-time job. Truly, you have my utmost respect. Personally, however, I have to echo what AislingB says. I started my part-time engineering PhD in 2014 and realised around the 2 year mark that in order to have a realistic chance of ever completing it I had to quit my (engineering) job. So I did in 2016. However, the stress and feeling of isolation of those 2 initial years had such a profound impact on me that I’ve been suffering from depression and anxiety ever since. I think what contributed to my issues in particular was the fact that I went into the whole experience completely unprepared for it: I went straight from a (1st class) BEng into the PhD without first doing an MSc/MRes in the subject matter of my research. As a result, I have always felt like I’m playing catch up in the foundation knowledge department which has massively hindered my confidence. Despite these deficiencies, however, I have worked extremely hard and am now at the writing-up stage with 1 core chapter and introduction/conclusions still to write.

Although nothing can truly prepare you for a PhD, having a relevant masters with an element of research in my opinion can go a long way. Also, as AislingB points out it might be worth considering an EdD which is generally more structured than a PhD.

All the best!

Aerospace, flight dynamics & matlab please help


It's been many years since I've done this kind of thing.

I’m assuming you’ve been provided with a de-coupled longitudinal + lateral/directional model and are being asked to compute the open-loop responses to (pilot) control inputs, i.e., do time and/or frequency domain analyses of the various modes.

If you send me a private message with more details on your problem I’ll see what I can dig out (I’m completely swamped with thesis writing at the moment so please don’t expect a whole lot).


Interview was 2.5 weeks ago, should I send an email?

Given the current situation (with the outbreak of coronavirus), it's likely that you won't hear back for some time. I would wait until the universities are open again before chasing it up.

Has anyone moved from being based in their University to being based at home (UK address?)

I did this. My PhD is in engineering which involves mostly computer simulations (MATLAB). I was based on campus at a University just North of London for the first year and then worked from home in Scotland for the next 2.5-3 years (also due to personal reasons). The arrangement was pretty informal in the sense that it didn’t have to go through the department head etc. The only thing I deeded approval for was to take my machine off-campus which the IT department signed-off without any drama (I return this once I've completed the write-up). Most discussions with my supervisor have been had over Skype/phone with occasional travel for face-to-face meetings (roughly every 6 months). Good luck.

Viva anxiety (from the other side)

Not quite at the viva stage but found this post to be extremely helpful (and calming!) - thanks!

any point applying for phd positions with a 2.1?

Quote From chemistrystudent2401:
Quote From bob86:
I also went into a PhD with a 2:1 (Engineering) but wouldn't recommend it. Try to do a Masters by Research (or a taught Masters with a significant research element) in between if you can. Bit of a long shot you might be thinking but it will better prepare you for the jump from the undergrad to PhD level. Ideally you need a solid (theoretical) foundation as well as some exposure to research before tackling a PhD and in my experience a good (2:1) undergraduate degree alone just doesn’t provide that.

I’m doing a masters which is 50% research right now if that counts?

Sorry I didn't read your initial post properly. At my institution (UK) if you apply to do a PhD and only have an undergraduate/integrated Masters they usually enrol you on an MRes (Masters by Research) degree to start off with the option to upgrade to PhD status providing you pass a review/mini-viva at the 9-month stage. Once you are upgraded you continue the project you were doing on the MRes but with the revised goal of now submitting a more substantial thesis at the 3/3.5 years mark. This way you get a better idea of what the PhD involves and at the same time the supervisor gets a chance to gauge whether you are worth investing the additional 2/2.5 years of his/her hard earned funding! Good luck in whatever you decide.