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Research Topic Search

I suggest that you have a read of the literature in your subject and work out the 'gap' :)

Failing that, Google.

'Off' Days

That makes me feel somewhat better!!

Viva experience

That is great advice, and I printed out a copy of your post for when I'm preparing for my own viva (two years away!), thanks!

'Off' Days

Please, please tell me some of you also have off days. Today I have replied to a few emails and checked on the progress of my survey, but apart from that I have watched videos on Youtube. It is a really horrible time for procrastination because now that my probation upgrade report is done I have lots of work to do but nothing needs to be done immediately. I need to be preparing for the mini-viva, but even that is a month away.

Any tips for motivating yourself? I tend to work a fair bit during evenings and weekends so I'm not that worried about losing the occasional day like this, but it would be nice to know I'm not alone in this!

Editing or new document

I normally print out a copy of the writing with comments included, then have two word documents open: the one with their comments included and a new blank page. I work in sections, copy and pasting from the old document to the blank page, and I have only had an issue with references once. Mendeley seems to transfer them across :)

I then use the paper copy of the document to follow their comments, working on the blank page document.

Works for me, even if it does sound a bit complicated!

Motivational thread

Yay what a great thread. I'm in the process of drafting my first year report/transition report/upgrade report, definitely need motivating!

When to start writing thesis

Hi Jane,

I started around the same time as you, and I've just sent off the first draft of my probation/upgrade/transfer report. That's it - I haven't started on the actual thesis yet at all!

The way that we worked is similar to what others have described - during every supervision meeting my supervisors would suggest a topic for writing and I'd go away and write 1000-2000 words on the topic, and bring it to the next supervision and so on. I think it's a good idea to break writing up into chunks :)

And about being overwhelmed with a PhD - I am definitely feeling that too. I feel like with every jump forward there is a step back, and I need to keep remembering that I can't jump to the end - there's a lot of small steps in there before I finish!

Demanding critical and controlling PhD advisor - I need Help

Hi there applepie,

Is there anyone you can talk to in the department? At my Uni there is an academic who is responsible for ensuring that all of the postgrads are ok/ an assigned person other than our supervisor that we can talk to. If there is anyone like that at yours I would talk to them.

Is it at all possible that this is just how she comes across over emails? Just playing doubles advocate here - I recently had a situation wherein I reacted emotionally to what seemed like quite a contrite email, when it turns out it was just how the person writes online. I'm not saying this is what your supervisor is doing though, especially if others have said the same thing.

Any reformed night owls that have become larks?

Hi veeman,

I am. My roommate knows that I seem to really "wake up" at around 10pm, and I can quite happily stay up until 2 or 3am. I love that feeling of knowing that most other people are asleep - as an introvert it is very freeing for me.

Luckily my PhD is quite flexible in terms of timings, but I do tend to set an 'emergency' alarm for about 10 or 11am, just so that I don't sleep the day away. Apart from that I wake up naturally - but it is very easy for me to stay asleep until 4pm if I don't have that alarm.

Dissappointing my superviser and how to deal with that


I have been there, both in a job and for a time in my PhD. It is very easy to feel this way, but often people don't realise how far they are progressing until other people point it out to them. The most important thing is that you recognise where you are at the moment; do you know what you have to do to keep progressing? Have your supervisors spoken to you/or you them about this? As a former teacher, the important thing to me was that my students knew where they were and what they had to do to improve further - I can't imagine this is much different with a supervisor :)

Please help with the choice of the thesis topic on Culture/Expats

Go away and think about it - find a gap. What makes you passionate about this topic? Have people covered this? If so, can you approach it from a different angle?

That or ask Mr. Google. Either way.

How to deal with fellow PhD students

Thank you for the replies all - it's been really hard, but luckily at the end of the day as long as my relationships with my colleagues are 'functional' as you suggest, I think I will be alright. I have sent a blanket email to the students explaining my rationale, calmly asking for preferred slots, and luckily a few people have sent me pleasant responses. I aim to go in on Monday and act normally, and hopefully we can carry on being at least civil colleagues.

I also try my best not to be too 'out there' with how great my PhD is going - but maybe I have come across in this way to someone. It's always possible, especially as I have a positive working relationship with my supervisors (and I know many don't).

Enjoy the weekend everyone :)

How to deal with fellow PhD students

Hi both.

We have seminars twice a week, and the students are responsible for one, and the academics the other. The student who was doing it has left, and asked me if I'd like to take on the job. For some reason I decided to say yes.

I agree with what you both said - really, I need to remember that it is the PhD that is most important, and as I am the only one in my department in the field that I am in, none of my research relies on anybody else. I have my own friends outside of Uni, my supervisors are very happy with me and I'm happy apart from this one issue. To be honest I know a lot of people who find their PhD very stressful, and I know I'm lucky to be ahead of schedule.

Tru I might take your suggestion and bake something for the office, perhaps some peace-keeping brownies :)

How to deal with fellow PhD students

Hi all,

I've been having an issue for a little while now in my PhD. Work-wise, everything is great. I am way ahead of my supervisors' initial timetable and they are really happy with me and my progress. We have ethics in, three studies planned and my upgrade report is pretty much done. I've been doing other odd jobs around the department, such as organising our weekly seminars. I work from my shared office for two or three days a week and spend the rest of the time working from home.

The problem is that I am struggling to get along with most of my fellow PhD students. They have complained about the way I am running these seminars, but I pointed out that I have had next to no help with this, and upon asking for a list of the PhD students (we all need to speak) nobody could give me one. I had to arrange the seminars for the next few months just by asking for names of people who haven't spoken for a while, which has angered one or two people as they think I've been unfair. Added to this, my own name is not on the list - my primary supervisor has to be at my first year presentation to sign it off, and she doesn't work on Mondays. So I am arranging to do my presentation/talk on a different day, but apparently this is 'not an excuse'.

I've never found it easy to make friends, and I know I was the odd one out before this mess happened. I don't find it easy to talk to people, jokes often go right over my head and I struggle to know what to say. I have one good friend in the department, but apart from that I don't really spend much time with the others, who are all very close.

I just feel like this has been a failure on my part, and I'm not sure how to feel better about my relationship with my colleagues.

Doing an advertised PhD topic at a different university

I'm not sure about copyright but I'm really not sure how that would sit ethically. Can you not apply to the one there, say you are very interested but cannot relocate? Some PhD students in my department work from home and only travel in if needed for seminars and meetings, however this is different for lab-based PhDs of course.