Am I doing enough? Workload question...


A question for all the 2/3rd/4th years...
I have no idea if I am doing enough for a 3 year full-time PhD. I started the end of September and at the moment, I have done....

My protocol, based on my MSc dissertation.

Applied for ethics and obtained.

Written up a participant advert/consent form/biographical question form/debrief and all are ok...

In process of requesting permission to use facilities, plan to start testing end of January (300 participants, approx. 1.5 hours of testing on each).

Starting my Literature review now and running it parallel with testing, aiming to be finished testing and literature review by April, ready for upgrade process.

Is this enough for the upgrade requirements? I will have collected results and analzyed them, hopefully by then too, but using a new method, SEM, which I have never used.


My supervisor never seems to give me positive feedback, he just expects and pushes pushes pushes and tells me when I am wrong :(
Yes, he is keen for me to hand in on time as I am self-funded but I am now terrified of slowing down because of it. I am expected to pull a few publications out of my results and also run another study based on his work and work it into my work, sometime in the next 4 months. He is on research leave for 8 months from Jan. He wants me to keep up with the writing so that by the time all my studies are done, there won't be much thesis to write.

Is this the average procedure/pace? It is a bit faster than I imagined, I feel like this is heading for a 1.5 year PhD as is but think at this pace, he will just be getting me to do another PhD half way.


You are doing what is expected for someone at your stage, possibly even a little bit ahead.

If you do have an "uncommunicative" supervisor, you may want to negotiate a road-map where certain milestones are linked to various time periods. Having this helped me loads.


I think it depends on the sups and the establishment. I havn't done any empirical work yet and I'm into my second year. Writing is taking ages at the moment so its good you are ahead of the game in case you hit a slump!!


I think that's quite an ambitious schedule - to do all that testing, the lit review AND the analysis by April (that's just 4 months - am I right?). I would have thought you'd be doing well to do the testing (and that's a lot of testing - it will only be possible with very tight scheduling) and some of the lit review. If you are following on from an MSc project don't you upgrade automatically (my supervisor actually forgot to do mine) - or are you registered for the MSc now and planning to upgrade?


Yes, Smilodon, I also think it is too ambitious but was wondering if it is the norm so didn't want to complain. My MSc was just on the same topic. The literature review will be brand new as I am continuing in the field but with a different slant. I have now been told to meet up on 8/1 with my literature review with a significant amount of my lit. review complete. My Christmas is going to be relaxing...
Oh, and I mustn't forget to get the adverts out for participants and organise my locations for testing and brush up on my E-Prime and learn about SEM and ........


We have a very similar plan it seems. I had hoped to have finished data collection but alas I have reluctantly agreed to one more round of ads/recruitment in Jan - which destroys my hope of submitting next Oct - but I'm still aiming for end 2008.

Don't agree to impossible deadlines now - it will cause so much stress. Testing 300 participants for 1.5 hours is going to take longer than 4 months surely - you can't force peaple into a tight enough schedule (and people cancel and generally mess you about etc). And you can't do the analysis until the dataset is completed. And learning SEM is not an overnight job (really recomend you find irl guidance for that - the basic idea is straightforward enough it's the details of getting the models to 'work' that needs expertise).


I've been doing the analysis for 6 weeks already and haven't even started with SEM yet! Adding more data will mean redoing a lot of it. I also need to update my lit review from a year ago and expand it into a newish area.

I also have a 2 yr-old daughter and only 3 days/week childcare which I think my supervisor has finally registered. He's extremely hands-off.

My MPhil was on a completely different topic. Does yours count as your first year (mine doesn't - not sure how smart a move that was!)- so have you just got 2 years to go? If you were finishing Oct 2009 seems to me you'd be doing well if you were doing the analysis by Oct-Nov 2008.

Yes - we're going to be pretty busy over Xmas! Jill


I completed my MSc, same area and was accepted to do this full-time PhD 3 years, no conditions and started now in Sep. Now I find out I have to do an upgrade after 1 year??? I am going to question it as I already have a paper that says unconditional PhD.
I too am working this around my children and I have always made it clear that they come first and made sure I could work from home before registering. I just feel like he is rushing me along because he is going on research leave in Jan. for 8 months and has sort of forgotten that I have a family to care for. Well, I can only do what I can do, I work hard and will just try and do my best. Just working on a timeplan now, I will take Christmas day off!


Well you do have plenty of time if you are just in your first of 3 years. The plan you've outlined will probably fill all that time up (with a few unforseen scenic detours)- but that's OK.

How many kids do you have and how old are they? My supervisor is pretty positive about my having a baby (had her at the end of my second year and took 2 years out). Just went to see Santa today. I feel very out of sync now with everyone in my dept. My former buddies have all moved on and I can no longer end a long day with a trip to the pub so I'm not really getting to know many people. I miss having a little play time that does not involve jigsaw puzzles or stuffed animals.