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I know it's not necessarily good to compare to other PhD students and different projects... but even so I just wanted to know:
I'm 9 months into my PhD and start data collection in January. I've just got over the hurdle of Uni ethical approval for my project and will submit for NHS REC approval in the next couple of weeks.
During this time (i.e. waiting for Uni ethics) I've put together a discussion piece to be submitted for publication and am currently trying to get the motivation to start writing my Methodology & Methods section of my thesis. I've already got about 6000 words on my first chapter from the first 6 months of the PhD and getting into the literature.
Is this 'normal'? I mean... what did you have done after 9 months? I'm procrastinating pretty hard recently after a few weeks of nose to the grindstone to get my research protocol etc watertight and feeling pretty guilty right now!
ETA: Just re-read this and it basically sounds like a 'please validate me' post.. which I guess it is, LOL, sorry about that :$ but any and all feedback gratefully received...
This is rather strange - minus the publication (however, I have probably written around 9,000 words) this sounds like you are describing me and my PhD! I am in the process of applying for NHS REC approval, just compiling the documents together. However, this is my first study, and I am planning to do at least two more. Are you only doing one?
Whilst my studies are running (starting Dec/Jan) I am planning to complete the literature review (20,000 words, fingers crossed) and as soon as the studies are over (running two in parallel) analyse and write them up. I'm 9 months in too.
How are you finding the NHS REC approval process? It is too tedious!
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Writing your thesis as you go along is not strange- it's smart. Even if you wind up changing it massively as you go along (which you probably will) it is still better to write gradually than take time off experiments to writeup later. I'm just starting my third (and final) year and I started writing my thesis a year ago. I add in new papers to my intro as they're published and update the M&M section as I go along while having the outline of all three chapters written out makes it easier to see where I need to go. It makes you more confident in your PhD, takes a lot of stress off you, your thesis will almost certainly be much better written for it, you can see your figures in a polished form which is incredibly helpful for conferences and planning papers and most importantly you can spend the entire time your being paid researching. Good choice!
Edit: Congrats of the discussion piece too. :)
I am very impressed to hear that you have started writing your thesis already! It is undoubtedly a wise move :-) I remember when I started my PhD my cousin who did her Masters dissertation in Oz was telling me to start writing since the beginning. I didn't actually understand why she was saying so and I didn't know how or where to start either without having much clue about the project.
I realize now as of how beneficial it would have been if I had started to write at an earlier stage. I have done quite a lot of work in the last three years but to be honest the amount of useful work is less than 60%. Of course, I had quite a lot of issues with my project tools itself which is another story. I would absolutely recommend anyone starting their PhD to write what they read/do since the beginning - writing helps to crystallise our thoughts and scientific writing is not that easy - it is a skill to develop slowly. It is ultimately the thesis, the magnum opus of each and every student which matters the most for the degree!
Don't worry about procrastinating now and then, it happens. All the best (up)
Hi Just wanted to say it's such a relief to hear people who are doing NHS REC stuff and finding it tedious too! I'm putting together my docs for REC at the moment and finding it so hard to pinpoint exactly what they want! I'm doing Qual too, hopefully starting in early Spring if access/REC/R&D stuff goes to plan...Noctu it sounds like you're doing pretty well considering you're already putting in your REC application - I wouldn't worry about having a bit of down-time - every single person I've spoken to about IRAS has said how relieved they were to get it behind them - reckon you deserve it!
Thank you guys so much for your replies. NHS REC is soooo frustrating. I was hoping to go through the proportionate review route but as my topic is on a sensitive subject (palliative care) they won't let me.
I'm going to be submitting my documents next week, I fully expect them to come back to me and say you've done something wrong!
I'll keep you updated, maybe we should even have a thread for NHS REC submission tips/tricks/woes ?? !
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Basically - it's a study on how community mental health services have implemented certain controversial aspects of the 2007 Mental Health Act. I come from a social policy/work background and am particularly interested in seeing how national policy is being translated into practice on the ground in teams - so I'll be taking an ethnographic approach...I think because I'm not from a health/medical background its taken me a while to get to grips with how things work in the NHS! Although am getting there slowly...I might be coming up your way as I'm targeting trusts in the north for access
Hi, I'm coming to the end of my 1st year and am currently waiting to hear back from the SCREC (Social Care REC) after the meeting reviewing my application, which I attended.
It seemed to take me ages to get the IRAS form completed, reviewed by my sups, amended, sent to uni sponsor for approval, getting REC reference number onto it, then getting to sups to sign it and finally uploading it to the REC with checklist and over 20 supporting documents!! As the deadline was fast approaching and my sups were on holiday it was really stressful. Thank goodness for electronic signatures and helpful sups!!!
Nevermind - it is in now - just waiting for the verdict and the inevitable amendments!! Or further hoops to jump through!
Fingers crossed for your applications - I hope it all goes smoothly and apparently getting through an IRAS application looks good on your CV ;-)
I thought it seemed an odd thing to put on your CV too, but my sups assurred me it would be good to add to it and they advised me to be "Chief Investgator" for the application too.
I haven't added it to my CV though - It does seem a bit odd - but maybe it could beneficial for some positions?
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