Hello all and greetings via my first post.
I defended my thesis at a viva a month ago and I have now deposited the revised thesis. I will graduate in the summer at which point the doctorate, and title, becomes official.
I spent somewhere in the region of 5 - 6 years working on my PhD spread over the period from late 2007 until March 2014
I wrote 25000 words for the thesis
There were 130+ references cited through seven chapters
The thesis comprised 160+ pages
I wrote it every night and every weekend starting in August 2012, averaging around 1000 hours to complete it.
I did it part-time in the evenings after work and at weekends
My full-time employer gave me, on average, 2.5 study days each year
I mentioned thesis length; it was something about which I was concerned. Of possible interest:
(PhD success - some feedback for others ... cont.):
I used LyX as a front end to LaTeX as the authoring "engine" as opposed to Word or OpenOffice. I have written lots of reports etc. using those usual word processors but LyX is different and is a document processor. It has different headaches but it really does allow you to get on with the content and not worry about the formatting. If you need maths formulae or chemistry equations, LyX is brilliant. I have used Word for the same things and it is nowhere near as good. LyX generates a perfectly formatted PDF as its output which can go straight off to the printers and the results are excellent and somehow look "just right" compared with Word etc.
If your thesis is going to need lots of cited references, do use a reference manager and do start populating it the day you get accepted onto a PhD i.e. as early as possible. I used JabRef. It makes editing/moving/inserting references very very easy. I cannot say the same for Word or OpenOffice.
My viva - two examiners and me, in a room, for two hours. They had clearly read the whole thing in detail and picked up on a comma with a space before it, a full stop with the same problem, two equations where I had muddled up various lower-case/subscript letters, and a graph where the scale wasn't easy to read in monochrome. I corrected them all the same day and resubmitted and then deposited via the University Library the next day. Done!
If your work *could* make use of ten experiments/books/statues/models to implement/review/make/analyse, but actually one would suffice, choose to do one rather than ten. Then justify why. I went down the route of computer modelling hundreds of aspects, just because to have done one and not the other 199 seemed to me to be incomplete and insufficiently diligent. However, the work contributed about a page to the thesis (but admittedly did help formulate a couple of hypotheses).
(PhD success - some feedback for others ... cont.): and finally
Get into a habit. Do some work every day. Even if it is only an hour, sometimes it will be many more and that will make up for the slack. If you have the occasional day off, you'll not feel so guilty if you can justify to yourself your previously thorough track record.
Another website (possibly "thethesiswhisperer") said to write it all down and then edit it to something cogent. I didn't start out with that view in mind, but that's effectively what happened in the end because I re-wrote many many times with help from my supervisor. His expert eye was essential.
It was not easy, but then again it shouldn't be. I have now contributed to the pool of human knowledge with something original. It's incremental rather than revolutionary and it is the joining up of two unconnected areas to introduce a third, new, technique.
I will try to answer any specific questions but I offer these posts as an encouragement for those of you who are yet to be in my position - finished it, passed it, don't need to do a blind bit of work on it ever again!
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest