Overview of dazednconfused

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Why has this e-mail reduced me to tears?

Just heard from my sup that I have an external examiner agreed in principle. I have been very confident up until now so why am I now sat here in tears? I feel terrified now. What a afunny lihe we do lead. Has anything else silly reduced any of you lot to tears? Or am I the only freaky one around? Right got to nail this conceptual framework once and for all!!!!

The age old question of pregnancy vs career...

Are you funded by any particular body? If so I believe you are entitled to maternity pay (even on a stipend). It may be better to 'do maternity' before you finish the PhD and then at least you have something to come back into and will be able to display recent academic work when it comes to getting a ajob as opposed to waiting until after the phd getting pregnant and taking time out and then having no recent work record to fall back on IYSWIM?

I had my twins during my MA and took a ayear out before starting a PhD so maybe pregnanacy then post-docs? I found no problem getting a afunded pHd even after a ayear out. However childcare fees have wiped out most of my stipend over the three years.

I have 5 children and I have to say that they are far more rewarding than my research (and I really do love my reserch but it just doesnt compare).

I would never regret not having a phd but I would regret not having had children.
Good luck!

Cutting out previsou ideas??

======= Date Modified 29 28 2009 12:28:48 =======
year one -  prelim lit rev, upgrade, field work permission etc etc...
Year two - huge fieldwork undertaking 110 interviews over 8 months. Also writing bits and bobs reading on theoretical stuff etc (not much writing though)
Year three - finsihing transcriptions up until now.

Right now I am putting together my chapter structure as a guiding light for keeping me on track but I am finding that I am cutting out many things that I had in my original plan. eg: I was using a a mixed methods design but in hindsite the quant part is so small as to be insignificant so is it worth using a a god 5000 word on justifying Mixed methods....BUT it took such a lot of work finding all the dtuff on mixed methods a decent theory to apply to my mehtod that to just strike it out with aa stroke on the keyboard seems wrong.

So out or in? Has anyone else found themsleves losing stuff that took them ages to do originally or should I keep it in and make more of the quants than there actually is to justify it? This seems to be a arecurring theme for me and I'm scared I'm going to end up practically starting from scratch with just 8 months to write up in!!!!


Nice One!!!!!! Enjoy!!!!

Anyone else in Undergrad exam marking hell???

Finally finished the things!!!
My ususal paranoia crept in and I re marked the first 10 to make sure I was consistent!!
To be honest I was a little shocked at how bad some of them were.
Now just got to get back on with my analysis!!
Oh and note to self...never ever be lured into taking extra exam papers...an extra 15 on top of my 30 at £3 per paper was NOT worth it!!!!

Big deal to have abstract accepted to present?

I presented at my in my first year and got an invitation to publish in the sponsoring journal from it so I think its more of a big deal in terms of getting your ideas out there. Now in my third year my sups are not bothered about presenting at conferences just getting some publications under my belt...thanks to the conference I already have a potential acceptance in the pipeline!!!
Good luck go for it and most of all enjoy it!!!

Final Subimission date given eek!!

Sometimes having a clear deadline really makes the mind focus...just don't allow yourself to give in to panic and see this as a positive thing that will make you structure your work.....and just think it'll all be over soon!!!!

Anyone else in Undergrad exam marking hell???

I've been at it all day and part of last night and I still have at least 25 exam papers to mark!

Anyone else at it???

I deliberate so long over the marks, then go back and do the first 10 again just to make sure I've been fair....I wonder if the academics procrastinate this much over what marks to give???

Dazed and confused with PhD

Hi ya BB!!!
Well my name says it all doesn't it...only that was me quite some time ago...and things do move on and do get better. I'm now a 1/3 way into my third year and things are fine. I also have collaboartive partners to keep happy as well as the usual supervisors. Its difficult to get them altogether but I have come to count this as a blessing. Sometimes its a case of too many cooks!
Into my second year I also felt as though I had achieved little and it was only when I really got immersed in my field work and now into the subsequent analysis that things really are 'falling into place' and I am beginning to visualise the thesis as a whole and seeing answers to some of the research questions I asked and a few I didn't!!
I'm mid 30's so time also a factor with me but ultimately I know I did right to stick with it. Th start of my second year was most definitely my darkest days....hang on in there!!!
lol Dazed

Thoughts of leaving PhD...

I'd try to stick in there, find a sympathetic ear and some kind of student support. The reason I say this is I hated what I was doing at the beginning, then had a another wobble half way through but now in my final year I am LOVING it!!!
Hope you work through this x

Selecting an external examiner - What criteria do I go on?

Thanks for the feedback chaps, am still procrastinating. Hva emade some enquiries and now know one is very busy, also angling at a conference where one other is a speaker. Can't help but feeeling this is such an important decision!!!
ahhhhh the indecision!!!!!

End of Term Review: Year 1

Hi Bug!!

Everyone raises their eyebrows when I mention how many interviews I have done...I thought it was normal until I asked a few people!! So will try to answer your questions...

Quote From phdbug:

WOW! Dazedandconfused, I have millions of questions for you:

1. First, 108 interviews?!!?!?!?!!? Are they semi structured qualitative ones? Which means it took you how long to get it done?

I have undertaken a longitudinal quali study of 30 service users over a 6 month period. I interviewed at recruitment, 3 month and then 6 month. I also carried out 20 telephone interviews with service providers. Sample was recruited and all interviews completed in a 8 month timeframe.

2. How did you find these participants? How long did they have to commit? Any incentives?

Ahhh now here is the issue that really gave me problems. Originally I was supposed to have been given a list of names and addresses of participants from the Gov. database but due to all the data losses their was a complete data freeze so I had to go to plan B ….well actually I had to invent plan B. I went back to good old methods standing in jobcentres and asking people to recruit to my study. It took me 6 weeks to find my sample of 30 (due to needing specific characteristics). It was a 6 month commitment from them and they were given £20 at the completion of the study.

3. How did you manage to get any funding for your fieldwork? part of your grant or something?

I am fortunate that I am on a collaborative studentship with the DWP so have an enhanced stipend (although not massively so) and also a bit more money in my research account which has covered the incentives and mileage involved with such a big study.

4. Finally, with so manyyyyy interviews, is that your whole empirical work, or is there more?

Is more than enough to handle at the moment but I am already thinking post-doc as the original empirical work has raised many new avenues to explore post-thesis!!


I am loving what I do at the moment although this has certainly not always been the case!!!

End of Term Review: Year 1

Hmm ok third year here. What have I achieved?

I have completed my 108 interviews and am ploughing through the transcription process with a deadline for completing it by end of January (that will be tight).
I have a good strong idea of how to commence the analysis
I DO NOT have a clue how to formulate a thesis structure but hope the analysis will aid this.
Got another term of teaching under my belt and have been accepted onto ILTP.
I had a succeesful grant application and subsequent public event so some nice CV stuff and experience.

Feeling very confident and happy although need to move up a gear with regards work output. Actually enjoying academic life at the moment...although this can change in a heartbeat!!

Someone remind of this very optimistic post next time I whine please!!

Selecting an external examiner - What criteria do I go on?

Dare I say it but I have reached that point where I have had to shortlist potential externals (where did the time go?)
I have 4 potentials but I don't know what are the 'best' reasons for selecting one over the others.
I have only met one of the four (does that matter?)
Two are men two are women (does gender make a difference are women more bitchy to women or men harder to men?)
Two I am actually quoting their work in my thesis (is that a recipe for disaster)

I don't know what makes for a good external examiner??????
Any ideas???

Tips List

Adopt a pragmatic approach to the process. Treat it as a job, with realistic working hours and designated time off. You DO NOT have to be pulling in late nights and long weekends to feel you are a 'good' PhD student. Monday to Friday 9-5 works just as well. Do not get consumed by the process. oh and DON'T assume your supervisors are always right!