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For a definition of proofreading see here:
See also copy-editing:
Because the two are often confused, and because they both cover a spectrum of services, it's important to be clear when outlining your requirements.
I felt like this too at times, TreeofLife.
Burnout is one theory - you’re too tired from all the hours you’re working to have the necessary energy to enjoy being with friends and family.
Another possibility is that you’ve conditioned yourself to cope with the demands of the PhD - hence feeling fine while you’re working - but underneath you’re not really fine at all, and this comes to light when you try to step outside the PhD bubble and into a “normal” environment for a bit.
I don’t think it’s at all healthy but never did manage to figure out a solution for myself. At least you only have 3 months to go - I found I gradually improved once I’d submitted.
I think it's quite common to have long qualitative chapters. Have a think, though, about whether it might be broken down into a couple of main themes, or segments of your argument, that could form separate chapters. This might make it more readable and easier for the examiners to digest.
Very interesting thread, thanks for updating us, Carefull. Any situation in which you're being treated badly or unfairly can feel impossible to get out of - I guess it erodes your confidence - but you clearly made the right decision and it's good to know that everything worked out well.
Hi asterix! Is it possible that your advisor, as a good writer himself, is overemphasising this as a weakness? Does anyone else read your work? Sometimes good writers have a very firm idea of how things "should" be written but everyone has a different style and yours may be perfectly acceptable to other readers i.e. your examiners. Did you struggle with writing earlier in your education? You must have done well enough to succeed in your undergraduate course. It sounds as if anticipation of his criticism could be inhibiting you from getting your thoughts down.
A thesis argument does have to be clear but I think most people struggle with this at some stage or other. I go for long walks and record myself speaking when I'm trying to articulate something new - it sometimes helps. I also use mind maps to build up arguments, and sometimes story boards, anything to get away from staring at a flashing cursor on a blank screen. Also, it's important to remember that first drafts are usually badly written and the clarity gets tidied up on revision. Most people do not sit down and write perfectly first time.
Just to play devil's advocate, I know one person who received an honorary doctorate who DID spend four years working hard and making an extraordinary contribution to their field, but outside of any institution, and I believe many others are awarded on a similar basis. But I'm sure some institutions must take the opportunity for a bit of publicity!
I think you're being hard on yourself. First of all, you've written a LOT for someone in the early stages of a PhD. Second, it's normal to have the blocks you describe. A doctoral thesis involves getting your head around big and complex areas and I don't think you should expect to keep up the same pace of work you were used to as an undergraduate, when everything was broken down in to manageable chunks and you regularly produced essays etc. The goals you're setting yourself may be unreachable not because you're unsuited to the PhD but because they are too ambitious - which is also normal at this stage.
I'm not sure what your history is, jackbarr, it might help if you shared it. In my experience not many students finish within three years. Of the 30 or so I know from different UK universities, I can think of two and they finished on time due to a combination of hard work, efficient supervision and fortunate timing. Have any studies looked at employability of students by duration of study? I'd be surprised if they found that this was a significant factor - perhaps it is in extreme cases. Some studentships provide funding for 3.5 or 4 years in recognition that 3 years is unrealistic. Every PhD student I've met has had to be smart and efficient to get anywhere near the end! Employers are well aware of this and are more interested in the relevance of your knowledge and skills than how long it took. People will take it personally if you revive a thread to make statements like those above.
This sounds like a task to test how well you can communicate your research. They won't be so much interested in the details as in your presentation and communication skills. 1 min motivation/research problem, 1 min methods, 1 min main findings. Make it clear and engaging and as Caro says, be enthusiastic! They can ask for details in the interview if they're interested.
I had a long wait for corrections too due to a similarly unfeasible combination of events. In fact I've had long waits at every step since submitting. Waiting is now my top skill.
It sounds as if your chair's sick leave has more or less run on from the Christmas break, which could be where things have started to go awry.
There should be an electronic trail from when the report was being finalised between the chair and the examiners. You could try contacting your external to see if they have a copy. Alternatively, if you are in the UK I believe many universities have agreements with employees to access their emails and files in the event that their absence impedes university business, so this might be worth investigating too.
I was surprised at how short my report was - not much more than a page.
I felt like this for most of the writing-up phase. It really is a kind of hell, isn’t it? The PhD is mostly a crazy test of perseverance.
60,000+ words is amazing! And cutting words is actually a good sign - you're pruning and shaping what you have into a more streamlined and considered argument. Take a break and then keep going - you're probably much closer to the top of the mountain than you think.
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