Signup date: 05 Apr 2011 at 2:41pm
Last login: 16 Aug 2012 at 11:20pm
Post count: 122
In my experience it depends on not only the university, but the subject area. Within my university for one science based field it is not a necessity and nobody does. In another it is expected, in order that you may pass your Viva with relative ease, as it is difficult for examiners to argue against something that has already been peer reviewed by others.
However, I must agree with you, I was shocked when I found out myself that for my own subject area, the thesis wasn't really going to get me through unless it was backed with published papers (and my PhD WASN'T a PhD by publication). It certainly wasn't was I was expecting when I started my PhD and it was a nasty shock when I found out. It turned out that the paper publication thing wasn't such a tall order though, thankfully. Very, very roughly speaking, each publication becomes a chapter or two of your thesis.
Don't know when your Viva is, but I agree with everyone else. I made one or two silly mistakes which were picked up on at the Viva. I'd actually gone over my thesis in PENCIL where I found them, in order that I could acknowledge that they were there and typos in the Viva itself. I could show the examiners that I was already aware of the error. The reason I did them in very light pencil though was because you don't want to highlight to your examiners your mistakes UNLESS they have found them themselves. ;-) It just goes down as a minor correction if they spot it, and they are really not concerned if you have already picked it up.
One other thing........ask your supervisor! It may be that there is funding available for a postdoc position that they've yet to advertise/sort out. That's what happened in my case. There were no jobs listed but I asked whether there was any further funding opportunities post Phd Viva and low and behold they offered me a postdoc position on contract. :-).
At my university the distinction seems to be a postdoc position is only available "post doctorate" and therefore you must have a Phd (or be close to completing one) in order to take up the position. A research assistant position does not necessarily require a Phd and therefore may not qualify for the same salary level on take up. A research fellow position is one that requires you to have had some experience and journal publications as a postdoc and therefore pays a higher salary than a postdoc position on take up. Roughly speaking anyway. All are research positions.
I wouldn't say that trying to get as many papers published as possible is necessarily political, but perhaps I am being niaive. As someone who has acted as an academic mentor with those with mental health challenges, I too agree with the previous poster that polarising "normal" and "them" is a really bad idea.
Firstly I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering. It is awful to feel this way. There are not many PhD students that have encountered their journey that haven't felt this at some point along the way, and it really genuinely sucks.
I don't know how long you have been suffering for, however, and usually you get "high" points along the way too, so I can't be sure from what you have written, whether you are in one of those horrid murky "lows" and can't see straight for it. ( It happens to MOST of us if we are honest about it ). You do say that you have other psychological issues that need to be sorted. If this is the case, and it is preventing you from continuing your Phd, do yourself a very big favour and go and see the doctor! You should get signed off sick, with a certificate, which can presented to your supervisor and your Phd will be temporarily suspended ( I think). Everyone's a winner. Go to the doctors. Take care and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
A couple of things.....
Can you not write something up and see if you can get an MRes out of it? I'm sure after three years a supervisor isn't going to want you to walk away completely empty handed, AND if you have lasted three years then you must have the ability to qualify for an MRes, surely? I don't think they let you get passed the first year if you don't???
Secondly, how is your Maths? It is a very big switch to go from an Arts based degree to a Computer Science masters degree. I genuinely think it wouldn't be possible UNLESS you have some very strong experience in it from elsewhere. Most (not all) computer science post graduates will have A level maths. Those that don't have gained experience in scientific mathematics elsewhere.
I think you *might* have a better chance at running with an IT masters...
On other thought, if you are gaining work experience with those that are providing supplimentary classes to kids....have you considered doing a PGCE instead? It kinda fits with what you are doing.
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you say you have your data collection, have you analysed it yet?
Do you know what your chapter titles will be (as sneaks says, the "story"). If you do, do you know roughly what is going to go into each one, in order that you can write down headings for each chapter? If you've forced yourself to do this you should be able to start rolling stuff out under the headings, and it won't matter so much which order you do it in, in fact sometimes it helps to jump backwards and forwards throughout the sections/chapters as things spring to mind. I "grew" mine in this fashion.
If you haven't worked out what is going where then you'll almost certainly be staring at a blank page for some time. I did. "Rabbit in the Headlights" is what I'd like to call it. MAKE yourself do the chapter headings and sections, even if you can't think of all the sections just yet, force yourself to get it down electronically and you've started....
Edited to add.....I used this book to help me, "Authoring a PhD, How to Plan, Draft, Write & Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation" by Patrick Dunleavy (though it's aimed at the arts, and my thesis was firmly placed in the sciences I found it invaluable and I only read the first few chapters). I wrote my thesis ONCE. No rewrites, no multiple drafts (just the odd sentence change here and there) and my external examiners report comments that it was really well written.
4. Probably this.......http://www.phdcomics.com/store/mojostore.php?_=view&ProductID=12257
I usually bring back a small present if I've managed a holiday away somewhere during the summer. Usually something to do with where I've been food or drink wise......as a kinda thanks for letting me skive off thing...
My supervisor doesn't even send Christmas cards to any of us (including his RAs and RFs), and usually the paper is something he's asked me to do (with a time limit attached), that he will merely review, in order to get more points for him and more points on the REF for the school.
I've worked in industry and academia and started my PhD at 36 and have just had my viva at 40. I know plenty of professionals that are of the same age doing some form of postgraduate qualification, so certainly age is not a barrier! I cannot comment on your Msc Score or thesis other than the fact most people worry it won't be good enough until they get the result. I don't however know what the criteria is for accepting students on to a PhD with a Masters, as I was accepted through my undergraduate degree and professional experience.
My internal examiner was very definitely not an expert in my field. My external was. My internal was much much harder on me in my viva than my external, as he expected things to be done and explained as it was in HIS area. ....... just a word of warning. I'd go and find some recent publications they have if I were you, where they are first or second author, because you'll get to find out what they've been doing. If you think of it from their point of view, they'll be looking for things in your thesis they can relate to in their own line of work, and it is this that they will challenge you on.....because it is what they are experienced in. Although you say they are not experts in your field, that does not mean that they don't use say the occasional similar technique or theory or metric or whatever.....you'll be able to find stuff in their papers that will show you how they approach things (their methodology for example)......and it will certainly help you gain a view of your thesis from their perspective........and hence......you'll be able to defend it easier.
I also got asked some "curved-ball" questions from my internal examiner which really made me think "out of the box". I think you should be prepared to be asked some "big picture" stuff from them which might come from strange angles. What I mean is, be prepared to think on your toes with someone who isn't an expert in your field and don't think it will all be "explaining" how things work, because in my experience it certainly wasn't.
Do your homework and you'll be fine. :-)
I think first author student, second author supervisor is quite normal if the student did the vast majority of the work, but the supervisor reviewed/critiqued it and offered advice. You might want to consider where your funding is coming from too. It helps if the person who secured the money to allow you the time to produce the work is somehow credited, whether that is authorship somewhere down the pecking order is down to you.
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