Signup date: 05 Jan 2010 at 8:45am
Last login: 23 Feb 2015 at 8:32pm
Post count: 410
Rejection is definitely the norm.
This is my take on journals, however, during the PHD. I have been shrewd/cynical [delete where appropriate] in submitting adapted versions of each chapter of my thesis (I'm in the humanities) to the top publications in my area. I've done this basically to get feedback on my writing and work! So far two have been published and the the 3rd was rejected but with a very nice referees report that underlined the contribution I make to the field but with the point that it needs structural work done to the paper/chapter (which is very true).
This is a good way to go about it I think.
Also always aim for the top journal first and then go down the list. I've had people being very nice to me so I publish in their not so great journal.
As my Phd has gone on (I'm in my last 6 months now) I have gotten less and less positive feedback from my sup. I have to admit I am a lover of the tick or "good", "very good", "excellent", "very well put" etc on the margins of my work but I just don't get them anymore. On the other side of the coin the most negative feedback I ever get is "have a look at pages 44-49 again". That's about it. I'm not neglected by any means but I would love my sup to get the red pen out and go to town on my writing. It just isn't going to happen. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell.
But I do like to call a spade a spade and if it looks like a turd, smells like a turd and winks up at you like a turd, then it is probably not a perfect piece of writing.
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The only comment I want to make is that following this youtube link and a few other youtube links here in the past while, Phders have xxxx taste in music!
Edited by PostGrad Forum team - language, Larry!
I am in my 3rd year now and my first conference appearance was in my first year. The initial nerves give way to complete cynicism(!!)
Here are my tips:
- Choose your conferences carefully. Make sure there will be people there related to the field that might be interested.
- Keep an eye out for possible publication opportunities linked to the conference. To be of any value, a publication would need to be in an edition of a journal that is double blind peer reviewed. "Conference proceedings" are not much kop really.
- Present what you have already written at the conference. Don't be writing something fresh. It's really not worth the effort. Luckily I've been able to present work from each chapter of my thesis at various conferences and the greatest benefit has been having to distill my argument (or the key part of it) from a 20000 chapter to a 2500 word paper. It really forces you to focus on what you want to say and will aid your re-drafting of your chapter.
- Don't expect too much from conferences. How many times have you sat down and switched off after 2 mins? Exactly. People rarely listen. You will get good eye focus until about 7 mins and then the 7 minute itch kicks in and you might as well be talking to the wall.
- Hope that you get a slot in the morning preferably on the first day. People are full of energy and raring to go. From after lunch on the first day its down hill from there.
- Use slides but don't over use them. Use them for short sharp definitions of key concepts and nothing more. Put further reading suggestions and put your email address too just in case.
- Don't go into detail. You are presenting your research and 90% of the attendees will not be overly familiar with the area never mind the argument or the concepts.
- Relax. At the end of the day nobody will remember your "performance" as such. You prob won't get any decent feedback.
- Don't fret about questions. It's unlikely anyone will have listened enough. Generally people ask questions so they can talk about themselves and their research. Smile and nod.
- Go to the dinner. You might get lucky.
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I think what they are suggesting is that writing is an ongoing process and ultimately the redrafting element is more our responsibility than theirs. I'm in the humanities and I see my sup as my copy editor - there to check typos and general flow. He rarely advises me on specifics in terms of content or argument, usually it is more advice on how what I've written could be pulled apart at the viva.
Are you sending them 1st drafts of work done? Are they picking up easy errors or silly mistakes? Perhaps they are trying to point out that redrafting is a crucial part of the process. I always think that a piece is never finished (which is my major flaw tbh) and could rewrite and rewrite to my heart's content. No better feeling for me than printing out a piece of work and getting the red pen out ready to pull the work apart.
If you're struggling with this then my advice would be to write a substantial (but not too big) section. Give yourself some time any from it and do something else. Then later that day or the next day, print it out and get the red pen out. Do you see any gaps? Are any weak parts? Is EVERY paragraph contributing to your argument? Does EVERY paragraph have a strong opening sentence that sets up the paragraph? Does EVERY paragraph have a strong finishing sentence that sums up your point? Do these paragraphs flow? If not - rewrite. Then rewrite some more. Personally I never give my sup anything to read before I've rewritten it at least 3 times. People give me nice comments on my writing but I'm no genius - I'm just hyper-critical of my own work.
Hope this helps.
There have been a few discussions giving different views about it on here.
I was in the mock viva boat. I thought it would be a good idea to experience the pressures of the day and be able to critique my performance.
But now as I approach my submission, I'd rather sit down with my sup (and possible another member of staff) to talk through potential questions and issues. I do think of it as something to be navigated in my overall 30 year career rather than an all encompassing eternal judgement of the true academic value of this unique contribution to the world of research. At the end of the day a PhD is merely a 3 year apprenticeship and if an academic (or 2) really has the time (or interest) to make sure a Viva is a living hell for me then it doesn't say to much for their professionalism (imo).
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