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Justfying case studies

Can you justify it as a convenience sample? Can't see why you shouldn't be able to use that approach as a valid reason.


first of all, you still have time, don't panic. Second find someone at your uni who knows about statistics/ analysis and get them to help you sort it out. There should be somebody in your studen union who will be able to point you in the right direction to find the person to apporach, or failing that, go to the library, they are always a fount of knowledge. You will be able to sort it, good luck :-)

jealously guarding ideas vs the need to present

this is a realy difficult one, and something a lot of people worry about. Personally I am keeping most of my stuff to myself at the moment, and not presenting it anywhere. If you are doing your research over three years, then I suppose others would not necessarily be able to get things published before you, but if you are taking longer, and you are in your first year, there is that possibility. You could talk about something more neutral, for example your sample size, or how you intend to collect material and why. Five minutes isn't that long, so there would be no need for a lot of detail, a couple of charts or tables should suffice. Occasionally ideas are pinched. It isn't common, but is a possibility so if you have a novel approach or another aspect that could be used by another before you get to hand in your thesis, I would keep it under wraps until nobody would be able to publish it before you had finished your work.

Anyone in London? Can't believe the news at the moment

my daughter works in Hackney, yesterday they were sent home and the building boarded up, but nothing much could have happened as she was back in today. It seems to have become an opportunity to steal, that is what someone who was interviewed on the radio appeared to impply. they said that they could afford to buy the stuff, but thought they join in with the thieving as the chances of getting caught seemed slight. those that do get caught will probably end up at her door, or the equivalent in other cities.

phrase change help

how about 'there are other factors that are worthy of consideration? Ref adverbs: they are supposed to add to the verb, so in 'to fully explain', 'fully' adds to the verb, it tells you more about it. The infinitive is the verb in its raw form, a word you can put 'to' in front of as it 'to talk' to write, to walk etc. - remember when you had to congugate verbs in french? this is the bit you started with. To decide where your verb is, just see if you can conjugate the word, for example, you can't do that with 'fully', I fully, you fully etc. doesn't work, therefore this isn't the verb, on the other hand I explain, you explain etc. is fine, so this is the verb. Therefore if you have written ' to fully explain' the adverb sits in between the 'to' and the 'explain' therefore the infinitive is split. So you should put 'to explain fully', but on the other hand I think it is less important now than it used to be and sometimes not to split the infintive sounds really odd and contrived, cos it isn't how we speak nowadays. :$

Guidelines for amount of qualitative data

My data was collected both online and by getting others who went to meetings to hand out and collect questionnaires for me. I've got 145 questionnaires, plus a mass of other data (somewhere in the region of 5,000 separate entries, but I am only going to use about 400 or so of those (It took too long to get even those off and anonymised to even consider doing more unless someone says I ought to do that. They are all separate e-mails about subjects and have to be divided into categories and then subject and answers so that the type of question and the number of answers produced, plus the origin of the original question can befound and related to other things, it is a long, long job:$) and I've also got comments from others. However the total population I'm looking at is relatively small so I have about about 3% of the total population for the questionniares, and a similar number for each of the other sources . Others who have worked with other related areas have published results that use only between 5 and 50 of a population of around 450,000 and that seems to be OK. One ofthe students here has been told to put in something like 'the size of the sample used means that the results may be viewed as an indication of xyz in the total population' to make it clear that you realise your sample may be smaller than that which could be obtained by others with more contacts/money/time etc. although if any of your findings can be linked with other research this may of course add more weight to your findings, and of course the size of your sample compared with the population in your particular pool may make it more robust. I think the answer is the sample is big enough when you have enough to analyse it in the way you want, and therefore will depend on your individual study. If anyone queries mine I shall just point out the number of people in these similar surveys to the size of their potential pool and make the comparison.

I have just over two years of a part time PhD and would have been a bit further along if I had not had a very rocky year due to supervisor problems, I've three chapters nearly done in draft/ close to finished form, plus another two fairly advanced and two more started. there will be one more and the conclusion after that. Doesn't sound nearly long enough!!!! :-(. My lit review is ongoing too as I'm writing it as I get to each chapter and decide what to include in it. Which is good really as a fair bit of what I put in to start with has been left out - all that reading too, which is a bit of a shame. How long it will take depends on how you are writing it, my thesis has a lot of comment on the literature all the way thorugh, so my lit review is basically what I chose and how I found it, together with what I think is the main contribution to this research, what papers etc. I left out and why - still looks like ending up as way too long and will need a lot of pruning to cut it down to size. Yours may have a different approach which may affect the length.

help with lit review table

As long as you have made a case of the literature you have included, there shouldn't be a problem, after all you are unlikely to have come across every single bit of literature in the whole world. I've made a case of for the lit I have included, which leaves out a lot that others might consider important, but which doesn't fit my area very well (well as far as I am concerned anyway!:$). It sounds like a good way of producing a summary for the examiners, and anything you can do to help that process must be good!

I just got a message form a thesis writing website: is it just me?

I didn't get one :-( does this mean I have to do it all myself...like you are supposed to?

Length of a chapter

If you look in the books about thesis construction they seem to suggest that all the chapters should be about the same length, which is what I am aiming at, although all the ones I have at the moment are over that, but I will prune! So, take the number of chapters you have and divide them by your word count. That should give you the number of words you should be aiming at. your chapter does seem long, can you divide it into two? As there is a lot of literature in the body of my thesis, I have followed the ideas of Hart (Doing a literature review) and have concentrated on the mechanics of the literature selection, where I started from and initial ideas and searches, what I chose, how I limited the material if there was too much (not a big problem with my topic, finding anything was quite hard!) and selected the material I used, where the info came from and why, why I rejected some stuff that might be considered useful, some of the limitations of the material I included. for example one of the major works that would probably be considered as one of the most important in my particualr field has only a few paragraphs about my actual subject dotted throughout its 3000plus pages so although it is useful for locating my work, it has little to contribute to my argument, except to prove that it is anoverlooked area and worthy of study. I've included why the material chosen would produce a rounded picture of the material available. Mine is an ongoing process though as I'm doing it chapter by chapter, so maybe not the same as your approach, but if you use too many words for your review, you will limit the number you have to spend on the rest of your thesis to show your contribution to knowledge.


perhaps the problem is its not only a physical thing but a mental thing in that your subject is your subject, even if you are with others there is still this big thing (your thesis) that is yours alone. it isn't a subject for general conversation -'what do you do?' 'well at the moment I'm writing up my thesis' is an excellent way of stopping converstion dead in its tracks (but incidentally a very good way of getting rid of unwanted callers on the telephone or at the door :$). Whatever I'm doing at the moment it still whirrs away in the background, I've been known to jot down something that comes to mind in the middle of something else. The people I work with are used to that, some have even asked to read bits of chapters - I'm not sure if they are just humouring me sometimes. Volunteering will certainly get you out of the house as would a bit of exercise and in that way would be good but my guess it is possibly the realisation of the long stretch ahead that is causing the feeling of isolation, but of course in true student mode I must say that i have not produced a questionnaire, or done any case studies, or asked the opinion of several hundred randomised fellow students at the same stage of their research, so the answer is just a personal opinion :-).

Help! Mixed methods people!

I've pulled mine apart many times and turned it upside down too! I think it is part of the process

I now - well in September - will have a completely new supervisory team AGAIN so I am expecting they will want more changes anyway. I managed to persuade them not to give me the one who when I first started this process decided I should pursue something they wanted which was miles away from where I wanted to be, but now I have to explain it yet again. The only plus to this is by the time I get the thing finished I should be able to rattle off a very good summary! :-)

Help! Mixed methods people!

I've got an overarching question, and have the
usual intro, lit review (both still ongoing) and methodology chapters, then I
have two chapters that provide basic info that I think is needed to understand
where I'm coming from. Aftert that I'm returning to the main question which I've
divided into three chapters each with its own question and aim which I will work
through relating the contents to its own question. the final chapter will bring
all these questions together and tie them to the overarching question. At which
point I should be saying 'TA DA' but will probably be thinking that there is a
grave error somewhere along the line which will invalidate everything I've

Help! Mixed methods people!

introduce the questions for study 1 and study 2, then say something like study 3 developed from the analysis ofthe results of study 1 which revealed a possible connection with the study by X, and put the ref for the study you found. I wouldn't think of doing too much of a 'reveal' examiners probably like things simple rather than embarking on a 'whodunnit?' type of approach! :-)

Lack of understanding from supervisor & department

I think a lot depends upon the type of help you
are looking for. Are you happy to get on with things and only use them as a
sort  of sounding board to make sure your work is of a suitable standard, or do
you like to have a lot of interaction with them as you go along? For example I
am  actually about to get my fourth supervisory team (which at the moment is
going to consist of one person who is the head of faculty as nobody else seems
confident in doing the supervision) and it has been a bit of a nightmare
getting  to the stage of actually having the prospect of some 'proper'
supervision - that is they might actually meet me more than once a year, and
the meeting might  actually be productive. They admit they have no expertise in
my particular area, but that doesn't matter as it has developed in ways that I
never thought it  would and is now looking at a problem from a completely
different angle to the one I envisaged and I just need to know if it actually
makes sense and has sound  arguments, in fact someone who doesn't know the area
is probably better than someone who thinks they do.  In your case people who
have worked in the quantitative area may find using qualitative methods
difficult to embrace, and  the opposite is also true. This will give you a
chance to convince people that what you are doing has value and could be a
positive thing. Perhaps you need to  write something that will show them where
your approach will lead, for example the subject  x has been covered adequately
by a, b, and c in terms of (whatever  approach they used) however my research
is examining the same area using (whatever your approach is). This will enhance
knowledge by enabling the aspects  1,2, and 3 to be studied which will throw
light on a previously untouched area related to x which would not be revealed
by the approach of a,b, and c.  Explain to them why you want to use the
approach you do, and if they suggest  something different, don't dismiss it out
of hand but look into it and present them with a balanced argument explaining
why it won't do the job for your  particular research - although you may find
some things may be of use, you never know! Supervisors are not necessarily
going to contribute to your work, that  probably depends a lot on the area or if
you are part of a bigger study but they are there to guide you, poke you and
perhaps question your approach so you can  be confident you are on the right
track. Use them for this and you should be fine.:-)

Need to vent

it is difficult to comment without knowing
exactly what you are doing. Is it your project, or one that the supervisor has
chosen? Are you funded or self funding? etc However it is unrealistic to expect
you to get on with things with no help. What is happening with the other two?
Are they in the same position? If not, why not. If you have worked in a lab then
your skill level should be good. i would suggest that you have a word with this
person in private, and get to the bottom of what is wrong. He cannot just
dismiss you just like that, he would certainly have to justify it to someone
higher, and you can also take it further too. If you have had no support then
you must tell the post grad director and ask why. You have as much right to have
your say as he does so go to the student union to see how they advise you to
proceed. Don't give up on his say so he might be your supervisor, but is still
not the biggest fish in the pool and you need to prove that to him. The same
deadline is in place here, but in the words of our post grad secretary 'nothing
bad happens if you go over the time specified', so I guess your place will have
a similar setup. If you need more time I would have thought you could apply for
an extension if necessary.  Not having a good start as he puts it, is down to
him as he is supposed to be your guide and mentor, so tell him so, also tell him
that you do not appreciate him broadcasting something that should have been
discussed in private with him providing constructive not destructive feedback.
Ask him how the two of you are going to tackle the problem, and take it from