I have a fairly specific idea of the subject I want to do a PhD in, and I am all done in my MSc other than my dissertation. Is it possible to shape the MSc dissertation to make the PhD easier?
For example the majority of my PhD earning friends explained that they had a few false starts to their PhDs and had to revise the subject and start again. Is it possible to do a MSc dissertation that helps preclude this possibility?
In case it is relevant, my course is International Development and my interests are conflict and post-conflict reconciliation, and specifically, incorporating psychology into interventions, (I have some relevant ideas, contacts, experience and qualifications).
Thanks for any time and comments,
I did my MSc thesis on the one the topic that I went on to develop into a PhD, and it was immensely helpful. A lot of my PhD friends spent a good few months reading etc before they did anything (there topics were quite new to them), I was able to run straight into my research, the MSc served as a massive literature review and a sort of proof of concept opportunity. (In fact my BSc project lead into my MSc thesis, so I have been doing the very same type of stuff for nearly 7 years, and I am only just finishing a 3 year PhD...).
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Thanks very much W!
In your MSc, did you study one aspect of your PhD in depth, or did you study the same breadth of your PhD to a shallower depth? (And would you recommend that approach?)
For example, I want to apply a psychological framework to war grievances. In my MSc, I could either do a general study of the relevance and usefulness of the psychological framework to the study of war grievances. Alternatively I could study whether one specific prediction from the psychological framework also turns out to be true of war grievances. The broad shallow approach would provide some general idea of the usefulness of the concept, and broader reading, but won't test whether the idea has enough depth for a PhD (the most common reason for friends' problems). The detailed approach will test the depth of the idea, but if the particular aspect I study is inconclusive, it doesn't provide any illumination regarding the PhD.
Does that make sense? I suspect the answer is "it depends", but if anything comes to mind I'd be grateful to hear it.
Thanks again for your time and all the best with your PhD
Hey Chris this a very quick one. One thing I have learnt re making research decisions it simple ol' cost benefit analysis. My PhD in is in health/clinical psychology, I can relate to your topic a little. One thing you can be sure of is that your PhD will change and adapt as you begin the process, things don't go to plan etc, however, with patience persistence and good supervision that is all part of the process and 'fun' of a PhD...
Obviously, these are just my thoughts and discussion with your MSc supervisor should be your point of reference for these decisions. There are benefits to both. However you may get more from the specific approach. - testing one hypothesis. Reason being, you will have to lit review anyways for that, and you can go into depth and really feel out the area that way. Additionally, you can test something out. This is great experience, whether it works or not. If it works, great it will be really useful in proposing your PhD. If it doesn't work, (as happens so much of the time, but nobody mentions!) then if you can figure out why it hasn't worked that is also useful too. It may allow you to tighten your theories, proposals. Also it may allow more time in your PhD for stuff that 'works'. For your psychological health it is better to have things not quite work out, with regard to outcomes, in your MSc rather than your PhD...
Just my thoughts,
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