Anyone started a PhD this yr?


Hi, I started an EdD in Jan but then changed to a PhD recently, so feeling like I havent made any progress. Could really do with some buddies that started the same time, full-time, to keep in touch and check progress etc. How many hours do you spend a week or even a day? What have you done so far? Have only done reading at the mo, but am aiming to get a basic lit review (10,000 words) by Aug. Would love to hear from some 1st yrs, even if you have done more than me!!

Thanks (up) xx


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I also started in January, am doing a science PhD.
Don't really feel like I've done much so far, just lots of reading, produced a 10,000 word lit review and started learning some of the techniques in the lab that I'm going to be doing as part of my own research. Usually do 9-5 (not always though!), although I feel like alot of that is just sat around, reading bits and bobs, and spending far too much time surfing the net! My supervisor seems ok with my progress (or lack of it) though! Not really sure though I'm doing enough, feel like at the mo I'm just plodding along, and would like to be getting more stuck into everything. Will probably regret all this wasted time in my third year when I'm hopelessly trying to finish before my funding runs out!!!! Reading this forum has helped alot, reassuring to know there are others out there in the same boat!x


Hi Java,

I started just four weeks ago - I'm an architect, looking more at the humanities / social sciences / pedagogy end of things.

The first month has left me a bit frazzled, but only because I've started reading with a vengeance and have succeeded in filling my brain with a vast number of distinct ideas and themes. Perhaps as time progresses I'll be reading one area or subject more closely, but for now I'm just trying to build up a field of knowledge that plugs some of my gaps. It's enjoyable to say the least, however. I'm not sure I'm hitting 7 or 8 hours a day, because the allotment calls during the day time and I can't yet guarantee a few hours every night. However I think I'm rolling along nicely at about thirty concerted hours of reading and noting a week.

Based on my experiences as a taught postgraduate doing my dissertation while in Europe on an Erasmus exchange, I've started a blog about the project. I'm hoping to produce a couple of posts a week and to use it to collate my bibliography, references, links and general project ephemera. There are some very good PhD bloggers out there in the humanities, because if you enjoy writing it's a good format and forum in which to bash out ideas, test some thinking and create a very personal journal of your life and work.

Feel free to drop by, although I can't promise the content will be interesting...!


Wow thanks for the replies.  It looks like your all doing more than me, but not to worry.... I'm at the reading stage, so concentrated reading for hours makes me sleepy, so I probably only do about 3 hours a day of reading, but then I am also ploughing through all the other literature out there and storing it electronically into files - which takes time.  I just think that when I get to the writing stage I shall be able to devote a more disciplined structure, and longer hours - but will make sure I take out time to go to the gym, and then there's the children to sort out, hmm, but I am planning to finish in 3-4 yrs!! I am self funding and because I'm at the reading stage I spend my time at home, but am planning to go to my desk at the uni when the writing starts and treat it more like a 9-5 job, well 10-3 at least  ;-)

It will be good to hear how your all getting on from time to time xx


One thing....the reading and writing stages are hardly separate stages!


A 1st year PhD student is expected to read (or at least have) 100-200 references in their 1st year thesis. I guess Lit Review itself will contain 75% of those references.

I guess it is better to start writing now as you do your reading. It is impossible to read everything and write them out in one go!

My reaction? tired.. just very very tired



I started my PhD in January as well, in the social sciences / public health domain. So far I've not written much (about 2000 words), although I have got lots of sporadic things written about quite a few articles. I'm in the planning stage at the moment, so I'm meeting with stakeholders and other important groups, presenting my work and 'getting it out there'. On top of this I'm designing the information sheets / consent forms and I'm about to start going through the ethics procedure (which will take 4-8 months!). Generally by October I'm hoping to start data collection. Other than that I'm just trying to build up my knowledge about the topic and methodologies through reading.

Generally I'm finding myself doing around 4-6 productive hours a day, although I'm normally in 'work-mode' for around 8. Recently I've found myself slacking quite a bit so I'm really going to push myself to get back into a good routine.

I have found myself saying yes to pretty much anything as well that would look good on my CV; i.e. presenting to anyone that will listen (!), giving the odd seminar when I get a chance, and helping run an online community for the school. I think I've got to learn to say no, as soon all of these things will pile up and I'll get lost.

Also has anyone else found that starting in January has been a hindrance? Because of the way my university works, I've missed out on most of the workshops they run for first years that have just started, as they timetable them all for October to December. Any decent ones after I started were all fully booked from the beginning of the year.


Hi Procrastinator, I'm in a similar discipline to you and also getting forms filled in to go forward for approval and ethics etc, but the more I read the more I keep tweaking my project, but I need to focus and just get the form in because this could go on for a long time.  I have been able to attend quite a few modules on research methods and philosophy at the beginning of the year, but must admit I havent come across anymore useful ones and I am starting to think about attending some conferences across the country in my field - does anyone know if conferences are normally advertised on your uni website or do you need to go out looking for them?
And thanks PhDbug, after your prod I have started writing notes along side my reading, which means I am able to spend more time working (seeing as just reading sends me to sleep!) and the note taking has helped to sort out which of the 100's of articles are of more use and why.
But my plan for this year is to get the basic lit review done by August - I say basic as I know this will be constantly revised and updated, and also probably a very poor attempt at academic writing - get my proposal passed ethics deadline, of sept, and do a small pilot study during sept to dec.
Thats useful information regarding the amount of refs required for 1st yr thesis and lit review; I have started using endnote as a means of storing my references, what an amazing bit of software.

Cheers everyone 8-)


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I don't know how helpful others will find this but it may be useful to some.

I put all my research papers through "text to speech" and it really cuts down my time reading and note taking. I can listen to the papers being read (usually when doing house work), two or three times before taking notes. It is so much faster and you don't get that "groan - three hours sitting reading AGAIN" feeling. Also it's free if you look around the internet.

The only thing I would say is that it takes a couple of listens to get the accent - but if you wanted one in your own accent/language immediately, they are available but you'd probably have to pay.

Good luck (PhDer next year 8-) )