Overview of CR1980

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New life post-PhD?

Sounds familiar, although with the friends bit it was more that my studies coincided with the wedding and babies time for friends and that's where our interests diverged. I still feel a bit 'lost' two years on to be honest.

Poster for nonacademic audience

Is there an alternative of having references on a handout for anyone with an interest in reading further?

The first pages of a Phd

Your institution should have regulations that tell you exactly how it has to be laid out, right down to placement of page numbers and margins. Best to check that in the first instance.

My proposal wasn't part of my thesis but an official declaration form was.

Transcription madness

Pomodoro technique? 25m work followed by 5m break and so on. A good way of breaking up tedious work with breaks!

What can I expect?

Quote From Teaddict:
Thank you for the advice chickpea. I do like the idea of creating summaries, I think they might be very useful. The literature review, drafted in the first year, might also be useful in piecing together the literature, even if you don't actually use that particular literature review.

The majority of my writing from my 1st year literature review made it into my final thesis, so it is well worth writing it as though it will be included. I used Endnote and used my own keyword system to track my papers. I wrote a paragraph summary of everything I read and put that into Endnote too so that I could easily track the arguments.

I'd also second the My Tomatoes tip mentioned above to make sure you get good use out of your time. Go to all the training you can, and make connections with people in your university and beyond.

Final point would be to make sure you take breaks, during the day but also keep time for yourself and hobbies, friends etc. Don't try to do too much at the beginning, it's a marathon not a sprint. There will be points when you lost motivation and you need to be able to spur yourself on and push on.

Good luck!

First full draft to submission - how many months did it take?

I was about two months from first full draft to submission, including time for soft binding. My supervisors had read the chapters as they had been developed, so it was changes on how it flowed as a full document, taking out repetition and so on.

Two months is probably reasonable.

When can you legitimately use the title Dr?

I waited until after my corrections were submitted and accepted. Until that point you don't really have the PhD.

Job interview advice

Like any interview they will want to know that you are capable of the work and a good fit with the team. Have examples ready of relevance to the post around meeting deadlines, working with others and anything else that is key from the job description.

If you have a look on jobs.ac.uk there are some really good interview prep guides on there.

Writeup Frustration

Hi PhDdiva,

Not a great situation to be. Do you have a second supervisor or another academic in your department who can help you with your writing? It's not great that one supervisor is making things so difficult but you cant really circumvent her. Getting a second opinion might help you to support your discussions with her though.

It might be worth writing up a timeline which states what you still have to do, and how long you think it will take. Then put it to her as a suggestion and ask for specific feedback on which bits are realistic. Then it's not a vague concept that she is being asked to comment on.

Switching to a new Supervisor/University

I transferred to another university after 2 years. The difference with my case was that I moved with my supervisor to the department he had moved to. I was able to take the work done so far and the new university awarded my PhD the following year. I was funded for fees and living costs at both universities.

So it's possible, but dependent on finding a university willing to take you and for your existing institution to agree to release you. It's more common than you might think.

Recommendations for digital recorder for use in qualitative research

I've always found Olympus recorders to be good. Very reliable and intuitive.

Viva next week: tips and advice for before and during?

My first piece of advice would be to do something relaxing the night before and don't look at your thesis. Make sure you revise and prepare before that and then give yourself a good break and a good sleep.

Have you prepared answers to typical questions? I took along notes of answers with me and read over these while waiting to be called in.

I wouldn't take other papers with you, they will be asking about the thesis and it's just more stuff to worry about. Take a notepad and pen for notes and some water to drink.

During, make sure you listen to questions and then take your time to answer. It isn't a test and you will be able to refer to your thesis and your notes. Clarify anything that wasn't clear and remember to breathe!
Best of luck!

When do you find out your viva date?

My internal examiner negotiated this and kept me up to date, it did take a good while though between submission and getting a date. It depends on your relationship with the examiners, but a week is really soon to be chasing it up.

HELP: Failing first year PhD Viva

I think you are right to stick with it and try again. Do you have anyone you could practice with? Maybe an office buddy to help you with a mock-viva (your supervisors may be willing to help with this too)?

The main thing you can do is make sure you are better prepared next time. I think any decent examiner will expect nerves, but what you can't do is come across as if you don't know your area. Practice as much as you can, rehearse answers, get as much help as you can from those around you.

And good luck, you will get there, it's a minor setback.

Need a kick!

Besides that, I was always driven by lists. A list of each chapter and then what needed done to each, which I could tick off as I went along, making myself feel I was achieving something. A bit like what you have suggested of breaking up manageable chunks.

You will get it done, you just have to find your way of getting yourself going.