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PhD Application and Research Proposal

Hi Joan

I am a volunteer tutor who works with narrow range of issues within the field of PhD studies, focussing on students at risk and struggling students. Your post caught my attention as the issue of who is qualified to study a PhD is a topic that I am passionate about. I come from the professions and when I determine who is qualified to be admitted into a PhD I look at the 14 factors in my YouTube presentation, attached. The D.Soc.Sc degree at Leicester and Leeds Universities are examples of doctoral programs that might be more willing to look at a broader list of factors beyond grades. Yes, I agree universities prefer an Hons 1 or Hons 2/1 or a Master Degree with an A or Distinction average, but not always. Doctoral supervisors know that 9/20 PhD candidates on average will never graduate and some can be swayed by a classy application that shows great thought, especially with the research proposal. I suggest review this YouTube and structure your application so that you show maturity that will get you through the program, such as work experience and a winner research proposal. There is an Acrobat version available, which I prefer personally as YouTubes moving I find distracting.

All the best

Need help - PhD Supervision issues

I suggest taking this up with your student union associate representative officer. They are expert at this and they know the issues at the Faculty, Department, Discipline level and sometimes even down to the individual academic. There is no balance-of-power in the Institution/supervisor -- PhD student set-up, although in most cases there is no abuse, but when there is, it can be horrific. I totally support you. Feel free to PVT me direct if you want. I know exactly what you are going through. Jay

Paper request


Please PVT message me your email or provide it here and I will get my friend in Sweden to arrange you a copy.
He has access to everything under the Sun.


Viva coming up soon, Thesis has too many typos! What happens to failed PhDer's?

Hi Youaregonnapass

There is some really good advice above. I hope this presentation helps you to prepare for your viva with full confidence and pass. I try not to talk about myself unless it helps others. But may I say that I feel like my story was near identical to yours when I was a doc submitting in 2014 and I passed. None of my examiners recommended major revisions (not that my doctorate was special or anything...enough to get over the line). Please keep in contact with postgraduateforum buddies...the advice above is first class accurate given your current state. Best to you - Jay


Greetings folks,

My most recent research supports the notion that access to a quality free education is a basic human right. I am interested in hearing from others who have an interest in this research project. My core interest involves the provision of free resources to those in need (e.g. socio-economic status etc).



Thesis submission


I just saw this now as I was working away on my current project and thought of you!
Please see chapter 10 which looks at what to do after submission and pre viva voce.

Murray, R. (2011). How to write a thesis, Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill Education.


Thesis submission

WELL DONE submitting GM.
Post-thesis blues is a real thing for many candidates. It's like giving birth after being thesis pregnant for four long hard years and waiting three months to see your beautiful triplets (a.k.a. the examiner's reports). Here are some suggestions that might help:

* Keep busy by applying for jobs, teaching and writing journal articles as you won't really know what your result is for months. Even after all the reports are in the supervisors needs to assess them, write their summary recommendation report and send their recommendation to the doctoral committee and wait to hear back from that Committee before they can inform you (though many supervisors tell their students what each report recommends as they trickle in)
* Keep positive: less than 5% of theses fail outright. 98% of thesis fails are in the non-submissions - which you are not.
* Examiners are fair as there are normally three examiners. How silly would Associate Professor Tough look if they failed a student outright and Professor Nice and Professor Sweet suggested outright passes with no amendments and that tough professor is known globally as the one that frequently is the odd one out on the panel.

Well done, once again.

Coming into second year and feeling a bit behind...


If I had to offer one simple piece of advice it is this. Always aim to finish your thesis as early as possible, very early in fact, and set a very ambitious timetable of milestones. Because in reality dead-end/detour thesis questions, dead-end/detour data collection/analysis experiences are quite normal, as is fine-tuning the research objectives. Most PhD students tend to work backwards after collecting their data and conducting wider research to see what others have done in the past, and tweak their research question based on new discoveries they make in their second year.This question is dear to my heart, hence the reason why I created this slideshow based on the military sociology thesis question - a real life PhD (happy ending) case study that looks at exactly what you are going through right now. I think you will find it very useful. Hang in there. The fact that you are asking these questions is a good sign. Jay :-)

set the ball rolling!!!


I have put together 22 free YouTube presentations that aim to assist PhD students for the full life cycle of the PhD candidature. I am passionate about this topic as it is my personal opinion that the supervision of PhD students is in dire need of reform. I wish you well with your studies.
All YouTube presentations have free Acrobat slideshow printouts that you may download or print and refer to any time.

i need everyones help


I put together this document (it is available in PDF acrobat format) specifically to answer this question as it comes up a lot. The advice from your peers above is excellent - look at what others have done in your sub-field. Consult dissertation proposal journal articles written for your field or sub-field if you can find them. Please see the first link. Regarding so-called essay writing services. Drawing on my background as a qualified accountant and economist, I conclude that there is no way any of these ghost writing services can possibly produce polished original work unless there is some trick such as copying as pasting text (which Turnitin will detect), copying work in foreign languages (Turnitin will not detect) or outsourcing it to a developing country where wage rates might be a few dollars an hour. All such uses will result in instant failure and likely expulsion from your course. The amount of work involved in any form of original research is a lot, and you usually need to write numerous drafts and edit them many times to reach doctoral standard. This is what makes academic research and writing so rewarding. Only 10% of the work you actually do may appear in any document such as a thesis or research proposal. I hope this helps.
Best - Jay

Dissertation Help - Any Knowledge would be appreciated - The Developmen of Computerised Accounting

As always, check with the supervisor not only because they are the one who will support you if something goes wrong with examination but because they know the details of the project which can emerge after multiple face-to-face meetings.

There is an approach known as a Critical Literature Review method which can be a way to add knowledge by critically reviewing the literature. The order in which you structure your argument is a contribution as is the choice of what parts of the literature you accept, reject and fine-tune. This is best suited to a minor thesis such as an honors thesis or a masters thesis that is part of a coursework degree and completed within one term. It is still a contribution to the field. In some ways it is a bit like an annotated bibliography - the choice of literature a person argues are central to a sub-field and they way they summarize and integrate the way the connect this body of work is a contribution. These approaches are forms of content analysis.



Phd Proposal Methodology

Hi Sisyphus

I hope this doesn't double up on some stuff I said in the past. May I ask (for the benefit of your audience) what are the two disciplines you prefer to write in (e.g. Sociology, Philosophy) as these will determine your method. Sociologists should focus on social structures and philosophers (I think) focus more deeply on the foundation roots of ontology, epistemology, metaphysics etc. These two fields very much overlap e.g. Derrida and post-structuralists.

I would argue that all PhD's are "entirely theoretical", but I do know what you mean.

I think that the method will be a content analysis method such as the "critical literature review method" but you may decide to chose something else such as phenomenology, critical theory (etc).

Please consult widely as "entirely theoretical" PhDs are tough but rewarding. I wonder if a way to go about this is to say something like "my research objective critiques the limitations of Beck's Risk Society Theory by showing how (I am making this up) this has lost relevance in the emerging world order that we have witnessed over the past decade whereby new non-Western authoritarian global superpowers such as China ..." This fictitious example would give you a time (2005+), place (China, Sino region), institution (Military, communist government) bounds to tighten the focus of your study. In this fictitious example, empirical observations (historical events and facts) that relate to these three parameters become your data/evidence. One alternative is to write more universally in an abstract manner, which I personally think is hard, probably beyond my capacity and work best in Philosophty.

I wish you well



This is the sort of methodological literature you might work with.

Article request


If you pvt me your email address I can send this.

Yei sou


Article request


Always happy to help another JJ. I have access to 99.9% of all articles. If you PVT me your email address, I will arrange to have this article sent to you.


3 Free quality handbooks: how to write a PhD

Hi all

My current research looks at whether there are any PhD or doctoral research courses (EdD etc) that offer a comprehensive, optional/mandatory coursework unit that teaches study skills and doctoral dissertation writing skills that earn coursework credit. I do not mean dissertation boot camps and I also do not mean research methods courses or courses that teach certain specific aspects of doc thesis writing. Any information will be helpful please.

As a gesture of my gratitude please see these free PHD writing books that are available as open access books. If these links don't work you can access them direct via Google Scholar with a few basic search words (author name and strong words from the title).


Phillips, E., & Pugh, D. (2010). How to get a PhD: A handbook for students and their supervisors. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


Murray, R. (2011). How to write a thesis. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD: How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. Palgrave Macmillan.