Signup date: 27 Apr 2007 at 4:32pm
Last login: 15 Jun 2012 at 10:17am
Post count: 386
I think it would be helpful to have an academic (or a group of academics) on board to advise students, rather than peer advise: might be in danger of the blind leading the blind. It would be interesting to see how the people we are having problems with respond to our plight.
======= Date Modified 10 Oct 2008 10:27:57 =======
I have already started the process of searching for new supervisors. I trawled the uni website and looked up their credentials. Then I email them with the research topic and what's been done so far, and what kind of help I need to complete the thesis. I've had 2 replies and unfortunately, one is on study leave and the other is loaded with clinical work. I will continue to carry out the search for a new supervisor. In the event that no one will take me, the university has a duty of care to appoint someone from outside the university to guide the thesis to completion, unless I opt to submit without supervision.
Communication with the previous team is irreparable.
The new supervision team has to be approved by the RDSO (Research Degree Student Office).
The options presented by the sub dean of faculty were:
1. Resign from candidature ( I think the real message is "Why don't you go away and die quietly?)
2. Submit without further supervision ( but who is going to appoint the examiners?)
3. Look for a new team of supervisors
Yes, my courage to stand up to them blew up out of the waters. But they pulled rank and upheld the unspoken code of the old boys' club. PhD is suspended again till ? date. Meanwhile, I've been emailing a couple of people and see if they will supervise the write-up. Very few PhDers dare to stand up to incompetent academics. Many have lost their marbles on route. Mine are still intact due to strong support from friends and family.
I will be in contact with my MP and will request for him to write a letter to the VC. Options 1 and 2 are non-negotiable, I want to submit my thesis with supervision. Call me naive, but I want to believe that someone will help. I hope yours is not panning out as disastrous as mine.
Keep me posted.
P.S I tried the PM button but it doesn't work.
I've just come out of a meeting with the sups, dean of faculty and PGRT. I reiterated that I do not want to change the focus of the thesis and guess what? The team resigned! I am now without supervisors! Its a long story but I can pm you with the details. What a roller coaster ride. Truly the PhD from hell.
Is he proposing a change of focus of the research? If that is the case, you will have to change your research questions and literature review to fit the findings. This type of "reverse engineering" is not beneficial to the student. One of my sups wants me to change the focus of my thesis, and I have already written 6 chapters! How bonkers is that? Who monitors these people?
Keep us posted.
======= Date Modified 02 Oct 2008 11:02:21 =======
Thanks, Coastman. Nope, nothing you can do. Intrigued by your remark, though. Given that one of the sups is totally off her head, ie that she wanted me to change the focus of the thesis at this late stage of the game, its easy to just stuff the thesis. She also wanted me to change the research questions and the literature review to fit the main finding of the thesis! As is the nature of qualitative research, the findings are usually contrary to what is expected.
Lots of cowboys out there who do not know what they are doing and leading the students astray. (down)
Doing a PhD is no guarantee of a job, unless you are prepared to do lots of post doc positions in the first instance, to build up your research profile. Doing a PhD so that you can lecture in universities is really a waste of your research apprenticeship. Ideally, post doctorates look for jobs with high research element and low teaching hours. Pure research positions and a permanent one as well is the holy grail which very few attain.
Age is relative. 25 and above is certainly not considered mature. They are adult spring chickens with lots to learn. Also, thinking that you are an expert in your area upon completion of the thesis is a fallacy. Perish that thought. Better be a fool now than for the rest of your life.
Doing a PhD needs courage and conviction. Think carefully before plunging into one. It could turn out to be a long haul flight and a miserable one, if you are one of the unfortunate ones. ;-)
======= Date Modified 16 Sep 2008 10:32:24 =======
Sounds very ambitious. Mixed methods require a strong defence. My advice is to go down one route; either quantitative or qualitative. The sample looks huge for a lone researcher. Which particular chronic illness are you targeting? As your study deals with patients and AHPs, have you started applying for approval from your local research ethics committee (LREC) and research governance etc, etc.
The obvious avenue for recruiting participants is through the NHS database. However, you need to negotiate your way through the Data Protection Act. When you say "recruitment poster", I guess you are referring to the "Project Information Leaflet". Correct me if I am wrong. A poster by definition would entail graphics rather than text.
Getting participants through friends may prove sticky in your write-up and you will have to explain why you chose them. Recruitment process is a big thing in research and should be seen to be replicable.
Hope this helps.
Sorry to hear about your plight. The contents of your email are absolutely spot on, in particular the section about supervisory support. It really does not get better. On the contrary, it deteriorates beyond salvation. I wonder what it would take for the academics to do something about the tragic state of affairs? Its scandalous that some literatis behave like morons when it comes to inter-personal interactions. They have missed out the person in the equation of education. I'm still struggling with my supervisors who want to change the focus of my thesis in the write-up stage! How suicidal is that? Kamikaze pilot I am not. I think they left their heads in the toilet. I'm doing a DIY PhD and its so not funny. Just damn hard work.
I applaud you for making the move to quit. You'll never know... there might just be another PhD round the corner that might be just be your cuppa tea. Stay strong and thank you for sharing your experience with us. Keep us posted on your future endeavours.
Very unusual situation indeed. However, if you are a member of staff in the university, it is the norm to have 2 internal and 2 external examiners. Your supervisor must not be one of them. Get confirmation from the Research Degrees Office and advice from the students advisor in the Student's Union.
Pulling a bunny out of the hat at the last minute is not acceptable. They owe you a written explanation. If you are not happy with their explanation, seek recourse with the university complaints officer and make sure your Vice Chancellor knows about this funny business. These rogue academics tend to back down when you stand up to them. Good luck and keep us posted.
Jojo, excellent advice: perserving with bad supervision is not the solution. It will only get worse. I think you have a valid case for changing supervisors. You will realise that they will not let you go easily as they want your thesis under their belt. The boys and girls will pull together to make sure you stay with your current supervisors. If your HOD is not supporting you, the next step is to present your case to the University Complaints Officer. Make sure you have someone from the students' union to support you. Its a long process, and it may make you lose your will to continue. Stay strong Jojo and call me if you need further information.
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