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Danzig
Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 10:14am
Thursday, 1 April 2010 at 6:39am
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Thread: Another "no energy to write" thread

posted
26-May-09, 13:17
by Danzig
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posted about 10 years ago
Oh wow, Lara, thanks so much for the information! I need some quiet time to get through all this. One thing seems to jump out which, I think, fits in with me. I developed depression after the first 2 years on the PhD and am only slowly recovering with the help of my GP and others.

I will need to make a conscious decision to sit down and just write. :-)

Thread: Another "no energy to write" thread

posted
25-May-09, 21:10
edited about 13 seconds later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From BilboBaggins:

Quote From danzig:

I procrastinate a lot by just pulling out lots and lots of recent papers to read so I don't have to write. And then it's like "oh I should put this in, I should mention that...etc". Feels like it never comes to an end.


Apart from reading them so you don't have to write is there any other justification for the reading? If not stop! Or at least don't pull out another paper to read until you've written something, even if it's just a page or similar. Make bargains with yourself and make progress that way. Even if it involves chocolate! Or drawn up a list of things to write.

Going over recent papers isn't going to help you explain YOUR results. And it's not going to get your thesis written. You need to start from what you've done and cover that. The more other papers you refer to the more you're going to dilute what you really need to say.

I know this is easier said than done. But I'm speaking as a fellow procrastinator! ;-) I've had to drag myself up from difficult patches too many times. It's easier not to get on with things. But you need to find a solution that works for you: something that will get you starting writing again, even in a small way.

Deadlines are usually a major motivation for me. Terror usually gets me going! I'm also coming to the end of a 6-year PhD, though mine is definitely part-time (6 years is the time allowed for part-timers at my uni).


Quite right, what you said make so much sense! (up) I should write about my results and not try to put it into context with every new paper that is published. That's a neverending process.

I only got this extra sixth year because of a year I lost due to illness. One problem is that after a normal working day you don't really want to sit down in the evening and do the writing bit but I think it becomes more and more clear that I just have to bite the bullet. Motivating myself is a bit hard but, apart from the topic I work on at the moment, I love my research field and would be happy spending time doing more research but without the pressure of having to get that degree. :p

Thread: Another "no energy to write" thread

posted
25-May-09, 19:55
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From Lara:

great advice given by Joyce and Bilobaggins.



i know how you feel, i was like you last year, i was given a deadline in may to submit by september, and i had nothing really written for my thesis. and felt lost and demotivated all the time, till people made me realise the reason i felt like this was cause i was overwelmed by the sheer amount of work i had to get done.



it is scary writing a thesis. but the only way to do it, is to focus on tiny little tasks, one thing at a time. and just get through them.



basically my advice is similar.



sit down with a large piece of paper, and make a spider diagram, of all the things you want to put in your thesis. the chapters etc.



you said you have 2 papers already published thats really fantastic ! can you use the material from the paper as a foundation for some of your thesis chapters?



i too had 2 papers published and used them as a basis for two of my chapters. obviously you need to expand on the papers and elaborate on them. but its a good place to start.





i too did a biology based thesis. and i believe the maximum word limit is 100,000 words. but usually a science thesis is around 60,000 - 80,000 words.



dont worry about the word limit right at this stage! its quality not quantity that counts.



basically you will have your introduction chapter - that introduces your subject. gives all the foundation as to why you did your project.

then comes to materials and methods chapter - where you throw in all your methods in there.



then you will have a few results chapters.



the way i did it, each results chapter, had a paragraph introducing the results. THE RESULTs, and a small disucssion on the results. and then i did a big conclusion discussion chapter trying to tie everything together. (my supervisor still said my thesis was poorly written but heck i gave it my best shot, and HAD to submit it by the deadline or would have failed)



bottom line, just start by working on zero drafts. dont worry about it being perfect, or accurate or correct.



i would recommend a book that was my bible throughout last year. "how to write your thesis in 15 minutes a day" by joan bolker. she really helped me ALOT.



its great that your supervisor is around.



what my supervisor told me to do, was to make a plan for my thesis. with chapter headings, and what each chapter would contain, like section headings. do that first, kinda like a table of contents, and then show your supervisor, if this is correct, and then your job is to simply fill in those section headings. think of writing your thesis, one section (1 paragraph) at a time.



good luck! you can do it! just do abit on your thesis everyday. even if its just working for 15 minutes and writing down key words.

(up)


Hi Lara,

thanks for your comments! I followed your story with great interest and must say, fair play to you, you wrote your thesis in an almost impossible time and submitted it! (up)

Yes, I do have a preliminary outline of the chapters and titles. I should have mentioned that but I left so much out in my first post. :$

The two papers I mentioned are forming two of the main chapters of the thesis, you are right. There is no problem in using them as part of the thesis, in fact, it is expected of me by my supervisors and, as far as I know, the examiners.

My biggest problem is that I don't know when to stop. When to stop reading new papers, rereading old papers, etc.
I have no problems talking about the subject of my thesis and, I think, I can demonstrate that I have understood how to conduct research independently, but when it comes to writing it all it just seems such a big boring task!

Your ideas for the thesis reflect exactly what I had in mind! I have structured it similarly, an introduction chapter with the literature, Materials and Methods, 4 chapters with the experimen

Thread: Another "no energy to write" thread

posted
25-May-09, 19:40
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From BilboBaggins:

Joyce's advice is really good. I'd also recommend that you don't start at the beginning of the thesis, or any specific chapter. Just write whichever bit is most appealing (or least unappealing?). Breaking the ice is often the hardest thing - that blank page syndrome. But if you start with something, even if it's way through the thesis and not at the start, that might help you crack on to the next bit.

The other thing I do a lot, and a slight variant on what Joyce said, is to draw up lots of lists of things I could be getting on with and subsections. Then I rank them in terms of most appealing downwards, and start picking them off. It's helped pull me out of a patch where I haven't been able to get on with writing at all.

Something else that works for me is recording my thoughts on the computer or a voice recorder. My reasoning for this is that I can often think more clearly and quickly than I can type. So if I get the thoughts recorded I can then play it back and type it up. And again it's a start, and getting somewhere.

Good luck!


Hi bilbobaggins (oh no, my favourite type of procrastination is watching the whole trilogy in one go!!)
;-)

thanks very much for your comments. You are right, it is easier when you start with something you like. That is how I did the chaotic first draft or partial draft of some of the chapters (I explained in my answer to Joyce). It is hard now to go back and look at each chapter skeleton/outline and flesh it out.

I procrastinate a lot by just pulling out lots and lots of recent papers to read so I don't have to write. And then it's like "oh I should put this in, I should mention that...etc". Feels like it never comes to an end.

Similarly with my data and the results. I have quite a lot of "half-backed" results which I want to leave out and follow up after the thesis. There's just not enough time to follow them up for inclusion but I feel it weakens my thesis if I only present a narrow question and answers.

Thanks again for your help, BB! :-)

Danzig

Thread: Another "no energy to write" thread

posted
25-May-09, 19:33
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From joyce:

Have you got chapter headings? If not, get some:-) once you have done that, get yourself some large bits of paper, sort of A2 size, give each chapter a piece of paper and jot down bits that have to go in each one, make sure you give yourself time to get down all your thoughts. This is your framework. If there is no limit on words make one up, i think the average science thesis is about 60000, so divide this between your chapters, number your thoughts on your pieces of paper and get writing, don't worry too much about getting the first few sentences right, just get the stuff down. This should get you going.If you want to, do a bit in each chapter, if you get an idea whilst writing something else jot it down somewhere immediately, or you will forget it. good luck :-)


Hi Joyce,

thank you very much for your reply!
:-)

Yes, I have to try getting things more organised. It is very chaotic at the moment. I do have a thesis outline, chapter by chapter and also preliminary chapter headings. I come from a non-academic background and the pressure is quite big (everyone in the family was/is thrilled that I have the opportunity to do a doctorate) and I cannot really allow myself to fail but it is getting really on my nerves. The more they ask how I am doing the more I want to say that I am doing nothing (which is exactly what I am doing at the moment) :-s

I am very impressed by everyone here spending so much of their time on the thesis. I did put it the hours when it came to data collection and data analysis but for the thesis it is really quite slow.

I think you are right when you say: do bits on each chapter. Maybe I should explain, it is not that I don't have anything on paper at the moment. I had some good energetic bursts last year and have a chaotic draft outline of most chapters but actually going back to them is the hard bit. I am probably just sick of looking at the topic. :-)

Thanks for your advise, Joyce, I'm sure I will pick things out that suit me (I am not the organised type :$ )

Best wishes,
Danzig

Thread: Another "no energy to write" thread

posted
25-May-09, 11:23
edited about 12 seconds later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 10 years ago
Hi all,

long time lurker here. I am in my last stages (after 6 years) of a medical sciences/morphology-based PhD in Ireland and have to submit by September.

My problem is that I didn't do any writing at the beginning and find it very hard now to write the chapters. I am glad I am coming to an end now. I did my PhD part-time although registered full-time (I work in the same department) and I am not a traditional student as such. I went straight from diploma into working life and after some years I got the opportunity to register for the PhD. I thought I was registered part-time but surprisingly it was full-time and I have to submit now by September.

I am not confident at all although I have two peer-reviewed papers published as the main author in the two highest journals in my fields (there is an overlap in my PhD) and also two conference publications as well as some minor presentations but I am still not confident that it is enough. I have ideas for a third and maybe a fourth publication after the thesis but am not sure if I will even have a thesis by September :-(

It's just such a drag, I sit in front of the computer and know I should write, even a small paragraph or something but cannot bring myself to do it. I thought having the deadline and also having the external examiners confirmed (at this stage) would give me the boost to finish it properly but I found the exact opposite is the case.

Another problem is that there is no comparable thesis in our department which I could use as a model as no thesis has been produced in my field here since the 1940's! The general policies on thesis presentation are relatively general, structure, pagination, binding etc. but we don't have minimum or maximum amount of words and whenever I compare it to other Universities theses it feels like a fraud as there are much less pages or words.

By the way, I have a great supervisor who is available to me almost every day (he's just a couple of doors down from my office) but I still cannot get motivated enough to write the thesis. :-(

Any ideas to get out of this mire would be much appreciated ,-)

Danzig

Thread: understanding journal impact factors

posted
27-Jul-08, 18:31
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
You can look up the Journal Citation Reports through your Uni library (use ISI). It has the latest impact factors and you are not dependent on some from 2005 or so. Here's a link but you need access:

http://scientific.thomson.com/products/jcr/

Here's a little bit more on the Thomson Scientific Impact Factors:

http://scientific.thomsonreuters.com/free/essays/journalcitationreports/impactfactor/

Thread: Stats help-again (sorry guys!)

posted
27-Jul-08, 18:26
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
I would say linear discriminant function analysis. You can calculate posterior probabilities.

Also logistic regression may be helpful as it does not only allow you to place the individual into one or the other group but also permits the calculation of a probability that this particular individual actually belongs into that group.

Thread: Delusion over-And it only took two years

posted
27-Jun-08, 14:12
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
Yep, can only agree. When I started and did the reading and data collection I thought it was hard and tedious. Analysing the data was the next step and I thought that was hard as I had to learn more and more about statistics (and I absolutely hate maths). At some stage the whole thing cleared and I loved data analysis after understanding my data and the analysis tools. Now that I am writing up I can definitely say this is actually the worst part of it, or the most difficult part for me, anyway. The problem is I always find something else I think I have to include etc and I can't seem to get it all together, going back to some of the literature and putting bits and pieces together. So, yeah, writing the damn thing is a pain.

Thread: Holy Cr*p you can BUY a PhD

posted
11-Jun-08, 07:49
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
Apparently, you can even get government posts. Barry McSweeney was the government's chief science adviser but was removed when they found out that he got his PhD from Pacific Western University, "a US university known for selling qualifications" according to Diploma Mills News (Link: http://diplomamillnews.blogspot.com/2005/11/ireland-second-government-advisor.html. The chair of the Financial Services Ombudsman Council in Ireland, Con Power, apparently also got his Phd from Pacific Western.

There seem to be quite a lot of "universities" that offer PhD's and other degrees based on life experience or even just write up a thesis, wait 6 months and you get your PhD.

Personally, I don't know how people could feel proud or even good about obtaining a degree that way.

Thread: Yeeeeaaaa I passed my viva! - so how did it go?

posted
29-May-08, 20:08
edited about 15 seconds later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
@missspacey

I am not sure how it works in other Unis/countries but here you would have to make the corrections and get a new copy bound with the corrections properly in place.

Thread: Yeeeeaaaa I passed my viva! - so how did it go?

posted
29-May-08, 12:05
edited about 1 second later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
Congratulations, Doctor!

Thread: I'm going to fail.

posted
26-May-08, 19:54
edited about 16 seconds later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
Thankfully in my field and our uni the word count counts, well, nothing. It's the content they are interested in and as long as that is up to standard you can have a 30,000 words thesis, nor problem. Maybe it all depends on what subjects you do it in. Mine is in medical sciences and my PhD director and supervisors are not interested in length of the thesis. They prefer good solid research results without any extra information disctracting from them. I am quite happy with that as my thesis definitely does not go up to 80,000 or even 50,000 words.

Thread: first person usage

posted
26-May-08, 09:38
edited about 14 seconds later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
Doing my PhD in a particular field within medical sciences. First person usage in the thesis are a big no-no for our department and, in fact, the whole Uni.

Thread: Turning papers into thesis chapters?

posted
23-May-08, 07:38
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 11 years ago
Best thing to do is to look up the copyright transfer agreement you signed when your paper was accepted by the journal and see what they say about thesis/dissertation inclusions.
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