Signup date: 17 May 2017 at 10:28am
Last login: 29 May 2017 at 5:21pm
Post count: 20
I think how often you meet your supervisor varies a lot. But I would expect to have agreed a plan of action and a date for your next meeting even if it's a while off, because you need to know what you're doing right now.
What are you actually working on at the moment, are you doing taught methods courses, or are you developing your research proposal, or reading around your topic? What was the report you wrote - was it PhD related or other work? It's disappointing to complete work and then never hear back - although it might well be that he just thought it was good so didn't need to say anything.
I would suggest contacting your supervisor stating exactly what you want to discuss (i.e. not just a general request for 'a supervision') but to agree what you should be working on and what your goals should be and when you should next meet - and make some suggestions for what you think those goals are.
My agreement with my supervisor is that I *always* have to have new writing for a supervision (she won't see my if I've not written - even if it's writing about what my problems with writing are!) so we always agree what my next writing task is and when we will discuss it. Personally I think this works well right from the outset, it doesn't have to be writing actual chapters of your thesis, it could be writing an annotated bibliography or a personal narrative of why you're interested in a topic. And I usually see her monthly or so.
But I do think you need to know what your immediate goals should be and when you should expect to have a supervision to give you some focus - and you should get an answer on this from your supervisor. Good luck.
Thanks for your comments. It's very interesting that you've also had advice about not sticking too closely to theory and you also feel compromised. All the guidance I've read emphasises the importance of consistency, but it seems our supervisors want us to be a bit freer than that.
I didn't give details as I felt it might be a big niche for this forum. But methodology wise it's a case study with an ethnographic perspective and using ethnographic tools (more focused / not as extended or in depth as a 'full ethnography' might be). And my theoretical perspective is 'agential realism' which is a relational materialist (drawing on poststructuralist and feminist theory amongst others) - significantly it means that an independent and determinate reality cannot be assumed. And my supervisor has asked me to include something about how it's possible to generalise/extrapolate from case studies on the basis of applying 'general theoretical principles' - but in my approach the issue of generalising wouldn't even come up, as I wouldn't assume that there even was an external reality to apply such principles to ... and if there were there's no reason why the same principles would apply. But I do get really interested in the philosophical side of things, so perhaps judicial use of the word pragmatic (outside of a philosophical sense!!) would help me too.
From what you say, I suspect the editor has hugely overstepped her role, and has taken an overly strict and pedantic approach to the issue (I used to be an editor myself, we tend to be massive pedants). If your research was flawed enough to actually require *starting again* (rather than the usual redrafting/developing) then really, short of negligence, your supervisors would have picked this up already.
I can see why those comments have thrown you - that is definitely not what anyone wants to hear four years in! What was the external editor's role - was it just to look at your writing, or to offer supplementary supervision and expertise in your subject?
Assuming it wasn't the latter, then I think you have to trust your own supervisors in your own university - there can be a lot of difference of opinion on these matters and it is mainly their responsibility to check your work is of the required standard. But perhaps more importantly, what do you think? Do you think your methodology is appropriate (or at least good enough) and you can defend and discuss its limitations and strengths? I know this isn't easy - I am continually doubting my own work, but if push came to shove could you do it?
I would definitely try to avoid re-writing everything at this point, although I do think that it is possible and not necessarily a big deal and can even be a strength to tweak research questions and show how they've developed during the course of your research.
I did wonder about Duchess Family ;-)))
I would think there is absolutely no harm in asking and I would guess for the right candidate they would find a way to make it work. Certainly in social science there isn't normally a need for you to be in the office Mon-Fri 9-5. What is the distance? If you could travel there once every few weeks and stay overnight so you're there for two days to join in group events and meetings, that could make a big difference.
Things they might want to consider are how you would participate in the research culture at the university, i.e. attending and giving seminars, the sort of research development and support is often an expected part of postdocs.
Hopefully someone else will come along who has more direct experience of this.
What field are you in? I'm in social science, and I know of people who've worked as RAs, then gone on to get ESRC 'Future Leaders' grants, which are highly competitive postdocs.
I think the path to a permanent academic post is often a rocky one, taking in part-time / temporary teaching posts, RAs, postdocs if you're lucky. The fact you've had a postdoc already is really good. I don't think RA would be considered a research break, but that's actually probably a good thing if you want to return to postdoc or apply for another postdoc or lectureship in the future. As an aside though, is it normal to have more than one postdoc? I thought funders might not offer them to those who have already completed one, so you might find you need to go from RA to lectureship or a Research Fellow post - which is totally do-able, especially if you're still keeping publications up to an extent.
Of course, things might be slightly different in your field, sounds like you are working in science.
I'm currently finishing my PhD with a nearly two year old in tow, and can totally relate to wanting less stress and more time with the children at the moment!
I'm working in social science and using a theoretical framework that my supervisors aren't particularly familiar with or interested in (a long story and perhaps not a wise idea in hindsight, but here I am ...)
My issue is that the advice from one of my supervisors for redrafting my methods chapter contradicts the epistemology of my overall theoretical framework. If I include what she wants, a thorough examiner could well pick me up on it. My supervisor thinks I'm too wedded to sticking closely to my theory, but I don't think she's really engaged with the implications of what I'm doing and most things I read say how it's important to have a consistent link between theory-methodology-analysis.
Has anyone had to deal with something similar? I obviously don't want to just ignore my supervisor, who is in general supportive and very experienced. But in my viva I'll have to defend these choices myself and can't just say "my supervisor told me to put it in"!! I've tried to argue the case with her, but she's not a great listener and this isn't her area of interest - she hates talk of epistemology.
I'm thinking I'll just include what she wants but try to keep it quite minimal and hope the inconsistencies aren't picked up on.
Yes, in my institution this would be considered plagiarism, so you'd need to treat your previous work like any other source. Otherwise, you're effectively being assessed for two different awards for the same piece of work. And yes, treat your own figures in the same way as you'd treat figures from any other source you were using.
I think if you are doing a PhD by publication, you would normally have to be registered as such with your institution (not all institutions offer this route) and slightly different regulations and criteria would apply. For instance, you'd include the whole of each paper (not just sections) and then you'd write a long introduction and conclusion discussing how these represented a coherent body of work over time.
I think if you were to just copy and paste your publications into your thesis, that would be considered auto plagiarism, or at least it would in my institution, where PhD by publication is not an option. Of course you can reference yourself, but not directly copy and paste. I'd check the regs!
Mitchell, J. C. (1983), Case and situation analysis. The Sociological Review, 31:2. 187–211. doi:10.1111/j.1467-954X.1983.tb00387.x
Does anyone have access to the following article and could send me a link please? My institution doesn't have e-access to old issues of this journal. (PM me for email address).
Oh, it sounds as though you've got very stressed about this and you're focusing on all the negatives. Firstly, that's great that you know what they are - you know where the bodies are buried (so to speak) and you'll be well prepared for any questions the examiners have. But don't forget to have a realistic sense of your achievements too- and if your supervisors are confident you can be sure there is something of value there too.
Secondly, as others have said, your PhD needs to be good enough, not perfect. It's not your life's work, it's not the last word on the matter, it just needs to be a coherent piece of research that makes a modest contribution to knowledge. From what you say, I suspect you're well over that hurdle.
And finally, I was on a writing retreat recently and they shared an article about how examiners approach the task of reading a thesis, and in general they come to it expecting you to pass. They aren't the arch enemy looking for every tiny crack or possible reason to fail you. You are now the expert in your topic, you can have a conversation with them as equals.
Well done for submitting and good luck! Let Us know how it goes. And in the meantime don't forget to look after yourself and try to relax a bit too.
Sounds like a good plan to me. You're in a different field (I'm social science) to me so it might not be quite the same, but my supervisors emphasise how important it is to critically discuss your own research methods. It shows a much more sophisticated researcher than the one who says 'I planned it perfectly, I did it perfectly, nothing could have been done any better' because there are always mistakes and decisions to be made along the way.
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