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PhD or Job?

What kind of thing would you ideally like to be doing in 5/10 year's time?

In general terms, a PhD is only a specific requirement for an academic career. Many PhD grads who don't get an academic position can flounder when it comes to entering into the non-academic job market, either due to failure of employers to recognise the skills gained during the PhD, or a failure of the graduate to explain and market their skills properly. The fact that you already have industry experience would be likely to mitigate this in your case as you already have an idea of what industry is looking for, and would be perceived to have relevant 'real world' experience.

Some PhD topics do lend themselves to being more widely applicable outside of academia and across fields, so you might want to hedge your bets and choose a topic/approach that gives you the maximum number of options afterwards.

Overall, be aware that few industries offer any kind of stability these days, and there is a good chance that whether you go down an academic route or not, job changes every few years may well become the norm.

Revised Career Awareness Survey

If it's unpublished your best bet would be to email the authors.

Is a second Master useful for PhD Candidates?

It's unclear what you think it would be useful *for*.

If it's to enhance your academic job prospects - probably not as the prospects are generally poor so the best way to spend your time would be focussing on publications. If it's to plug a knowledge gap - can this not be achieved by reading? If it's to prep for a non-academic career, then maybe, but would you really want to be doing this at the same time as a PhD? Be aware that you will never know everything about everything!

That's not to say that there's never a good reason to do a second masters, but if you frame it in terms of utility, you have to be sure that it is definitely going to be useful. I have an MSc and PhD, and am contemplating doing a second part time MSc over the next few years. For me the aim would be to acquire some specific highly technical skills that are in demand in my field. In that sense it would be useful for me to do it, and it would be harder, though not impossible, to reach the same level of skill through self-directed learning.

Student loan Forgiveness

Many of the users of this forum are based outside the USA (mostly UK) so I'm not sure that we'll be able to help you much about 'loan forgiveness' as it's a different set up here.

In terms of paying off your loans, general financial advice/debt reduction sites/organisations might be a good first calling point.

What do you place in your overall discussion chapter?

Sounds spot on. Also reflect back to your introduction chapter/literature review to make sure that they complement each other in terms of the story you're telling overall.

It's a good place to highlight any common themes that emerged in the actual research processes, and highlight any challenges if you haven't done so already.

To justify or not? Formatting

I like block justified text cos it looks more tidy to me, BUT I heard that it's hard for people with dyslexia to read because of the variation in word spacing, so now I avoid.

I've only ever indented paragraphs when handwriting. I never bother when typing.

Looking for alternate means for paying off my Student Loan?

What country are you repaying your loan in?

In the UK, loan repayments tend to be taken straight from salary, or one can make voluntary additional payments though, with interest rates as they currently are, there's probably not much point in doing this unless one is close to paying it off.

I don't think I can do this.

Quote From timefortea:
I have to submit my first full draft in May and I still have another 20,000 words to write ... Every day I seem to reread and unpick what I have already done and don't get any further.

You may have answered your own problem there. Stop looking back at yesterday's work, and focus on producing the next section instead. Maybe once a week review your progress, but there's no point in nitpicking on existing words when you have more that you need to write. Your thesis will never be perfect, even when it's on the umpteenth draft. But it needs to be complete, so just keep writing rather than editing.

If it helps... I wrote about 30,000 words in 4 months while working a full time job i.e. I only had weekends and evenings available to work on it. It was horrible and I don't recommend that approach, but it can be done. So if you are looking to have a *draft* ready (rather than a definitive finished thesis) in two months, and you don't have other full time commitments, 20,000 words is highly achievable.

Is there any chance of you finding a writing buddy, whether online or in person, to do some kind of 'shut up and write' thing with?

PhD Loans Confirmed

Bad idea all round. It sends off the message that a PhD is worth investing in as a career move when in reality there are only subgroups of people for whom that is true. It is a questionable enough decision to do an unfunded PhD, but to actively take on debt...not good.

And yes, from the academia side of things, I don't think the impact will be good. Disincentives unis finding funding, but also I can see scenarios where people hit year 3 and are struggling to complete due to financial pressures. How did they come up with the £25K figure anyway - totally arbitrary.

As always, I would never recommend anyone does a *full time* PhD without funding. Part time is different for a number of reasons.

How to make one long document

Quote From timefortea:

What can possibly go wrong!!?

Lots! Unfortunately it's impossible to predict what exactly.

I would strongly recommend going and having a look at whatever your uni's thesis presentation regulations are e.g. with respect to font size, type, margins, whether you can do it double sided (in which case you might want to look at how to do 'mirrored margins' so as not to waste space).

Then open a fresh Word doc, and apply all the relevant formatting to the blank doc before you paste anything at all in. This includes making sure the 'Styles' for headings and subheadings meet your requirements. Then, when you paste in, use the 'paste special' option, and your text should adopt the formatting of your master document, rather than whatever it was before. You might still have to reapply heading styles, but at least the body text should fulfil whatever your specifications are.

Good luck!

Is it Possible to Quit a PhD and to Start a New PhD?

From what you've said, if the situation is unlikely to get better, then it might be best to call it quits.

There are two things I would say you should do first though:
1. Check that the various issues you're having really aren't fixable, by raising them with appropriate people. It may be that if one of the objectionable elements were to improve, you would feel more comfortable about the other bits as well.
2. Have something lined up for when you quit if that's what you're going to do. Do not just leave without getting something else in place, even if it's not a perfect role, even if it's not an academic job. It's always easier to look for a new position when you are already doing something, and it might not be possible to walk straight into another PhD based on timings if nothing else. In fact, I think while it'd be ok to apply for jobs while doing a PhD, applying for another PhD while in the middle of an existing one would look very odd to prospective supervisors. A bit of time away from that process to reflect and recover would be ideal, if only to make sure that you don't encounter the same problems again.

My own experience is that I left a PhD nearly 2 years in, went straight into an RA job in a different field I was interested in where I had a contact, did an MSc in that field, and then got accepted to do a PhD, which I have now finished. So it can be done, but you will need to be clear on your reasons for leaving and feel comfortable with having a bit of a detour on your CV. Personally I don't think 5 months is a big deal, and you can still include some reference to it and the skills and experience you gained during that time.

Textbook help

I have used Amazon in two ways:

1. Selling direct to someone else via Amazon market place. You'll probably make more money with this approach BUT they do take a cut and, importantly, they cap how much you can charge for postage, which can be an issue for very heavy books.

2. They also used to do a thing where if you had a book that was reasonably in demand, Amazon would buy it off you (they would set the price, which varied frequently according to supply and demand) and then sell it on for a profit. Your margin takes a hit but they pay the postage to send it to them. I managed to get rid of a 1000+ glossy page book that was 2 editions out of date via this method - I think I got about £13 for it. If I'd have posted it to someone myself it would have cost £5-10, but I'd have only been able to charge about £2.99 for p&p. I'm not sure if this option is still available though - you might have to do some digging.

I have also bought (but not sold) second hand textbooks from abebooks. Worth a look

What is the meaning of using parenthesis like (re)considering in academic writing?

It's not necessarily great written English (might need to check that with a style guide), but I would view that kind of construct to be an OR, rather than an AND.

So in the specific example you give

Quote From ApolloBullit:

For example, sentences like "Respondents are (re)considering, (re)thinking and (re)negotiating their positions in the organisation"

I would interpret that as meaning that people are either considering OR reconsidering their positions etc. I would further interpret that as some people are considering this for the first time, others have considered it in the past and are now reconsidering it again.

Hope this helps.

Have you heard of the free online courses called MOOCs?

They're not exactly a new thing - I think Khan Academy has been around for about a decade.

They have many benefits, but they don't suit every person or topic. Overall they probably represent an innovative addition to the education sector rather than a complete transformation of it. I've participated in a couple (although not finished them due to competing commitments) and will probably do more in the future, but will also continue to pursue face to face training as and when.

A word of advice - if you're employed to promote them, try not to over-state your prior lack of awareness of the medium! A lot of the people you're trying to pitch to *will* have heard of them.

Leaving academia...(?)

There are probably plenty of non-academic options that would be suitable but it's hard to recommend specific examples without knowing a bit more about what you do. In general terms there are various sites that might help you identify potential avenues - check out the #altac and #postac topics on Twitter or sites like Versatile PhD, From PhD to Life or Beyond Prof. If you're from the UK, bear in mind a lot of these resources are North American and sometimes get a bit bogged down in the specifics of their systems (i.e. 'adjuncts' vs 'tenured') but the post-academic options are probably fairly universal.

Before you leave academia, do explore other options within if there are still things you find appealing. Attractive though a lecturer contract might be, if you prefer research to teaching have you considered going down the research associate route rather than lectureships? Or aren't there any jobs of that sort going in your field?