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Knowing when to move on

======= Date Modified 01 Feb 2012 14:56:34 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============
I've just finished the 3rd chapter of my thesis but I'm really struggling to let it go.

I'm in the humanities and write just about every day in some capacity (not like you science people only writing up in the last 3 weeks before submission!) I enjoy the writing process: the free writing, structuring, redrafting, redrafting, and redrafting some more.

But I'm finding it difficult to let this chapter go. I'm thinking the must be a point when you have to say enough is enough - I could pack in more interesting(!) footnotes but I have to s$%t and get off the pot basically. At the minute the chapter is 28,000 (incl. footnotes) - obviously I will have to cut it at the final redrafting stage when I have all 5 chapters written.

Is there a point when you just have to except what you've written and be proud of it?

Word length of chapters?

I'm in the humanities.

5 chapters. At the moment I've written 3 out of the 5 and they are approx 25,000 each. So that's 125,000!!!!

No wonder my sup calls it an ambitious thesis!

(I will cut if down obviously people - don't have a heart attack)

Reviews in publication history

Thanks Bewildered. MY thoughts at this time is whether its a waste of time (or not) to be chasing up book reviews of texts in my field or using that time more wisely.

Reviews in publication history

When applying for a lecturer position or RA position, just how highly are scholarly reviews regarded in terms of your publication history?

I'm in humanities and will definitely have 5 (peer-reviewd) book reviews published in scholarly journals by the time I finish this time next year. I hope to have at least 3 papers of my own work published by this time and obviously these are more important but I have no idea about book reviews.

Any opinions?!

Deleting content

======= Date Modified 26 Jan 2012 00:19:56 =======
Cool story bro!

Supervisor as second author?

If you're in the sciences I haven't got a clue.

If you're in humanities tell him/her to bog off.

Starting uni post before submitting thesis

I am due to submit my thesis December 2012. I applied for a (temporary) lecturer position in my field that is due to start this semester, not expecting to get it as obviously I still have one and a half chapters to finish my humanities thesis (say about 30,000 words to write), but mainly just to get my name out there in terms of networking etc. However, after talking informally with the head of department, there is the suggestion that they would like me to join them starting late Sept 2012 (before officially getting the Phd).

Has anyone had any experience with this? Is it even possible?

Here are the issues as I see them:

- Obviously this has implications in terms of the thesis. I could try and finish it ahead of schedule and submit ASAP. This might affect the quality of the thesis but one way of looking at it is that the thesis is a stage toward the working world, not the be all and end all.
- As a knock on, this possibly could affect the publication of the thesis as there has been strong interest from publishing house to publish it.
- Also this situation would obviously affect the security of my teaching/working position. I guess I would be employed initially as something similar to a teaching assistant (the post is not in the UK but in Europe so not sure of the equivalent) with expected fixed 2 year position as temp lecturer after officially getting the PhD.
- But again its possible that I'm just being used as someone to fill the time with no guarantees on their part to officially 'contract me' as such.
- Finally is this even possible?! Has anyone heard of it as (non)standard practice?

I know Keenbean was in a similar position last summer but wondering if anyone else has any thoughts.

Thanks guys.

When can I apply for Post-docs / Research groups?

Thanks for the reply Delts.

I had the lunch meeting today and it all went very well. They offered me a chapter in a book they're putting together and, as representatives for a respected publishing house, want to publish my thesis next year. All very positive.

In terms of jobs its a different story and they were realistic about the lack thereof!

I have seen an advertisement for a job but of course I won't finish til this time next year but I think I will apply anyway - just to get my name out there and maybe keep myself in these people's thoughts. You never know.

When can I apply for Post-docs / Research groups?

Tomorrow I am meeting with some of the leading researchers in my small field for lunch. Thus far I have just been in email contact with them so this is the first face-to-face. I have reviewed the latest publication of one of these people for a prestigious journal and so we're all on good terms.

The thing is I'm not sure how to approach the lunch. I am in my final year and due to submit my thesis in Dec 2012, 2 months before my 3 year deadline. I have published an adapted version of the 1st chapter of my thesis, and was invited to submit a version of the 2nd chapter after meeting an editor at a conference. I am pretty desperate to get involved with these people. They run their own research groups in my specialist area and I'm not exactly sure how I should propose myself as a possible asset.

My main questions for you more experienced guys are:

1. Do you have to have submitted and passed your VIVA before applying / starting a post-doc?
2. Just how do you get involved in research groups? These groups would be based in Europe, not the UK, so I don't know if that may be different?
3. An idea I have is to ask one of these people (when the time comes next year) to be an examiner for my VIVA. If I was to publish in a collection of essays that one of these guys edited - can they still be my examiner?
4. Could a head of department or professor emerita recommend you for some part-time teaching if you are not previously affiliated with that university?

I hope I don't sound like I'm getting ahead of myself but I just want to get a last minute idea about how I should present myself. I don't want to appear too passive but at the same time I don't want to appear desperate.

Love you guys!

Proof of demonstration by an example system as research validation approach

Carefully considering this proposal my view is that despite common opinion, Beyonce probably did not have a surrogate have the baby for her.

Calling other PhD parents

Lets not forget the dads here as well! I have 4 kids - from 4 years old down to 3 weeks old!!! 3 of them go to nursery so I have the days free from 10 til 4pm. and then after bed from 8pm. When the 1st came along I had a mini-breakdown thinking that having kids would suck the creativity out of me but the reality is that I have the best support network possible. Having the wee buggers has forced me to realise that the PhD is, in many ways, a job. I see it as a 9-5pm (controversial opinion on here!) 3 year project. Plus kids have forced me into a certain routine and my writing has benefited. If I want to get work done I HAVE to do it between 10 and 4pm. I have a couple hours at the weekend and use them for admin stuff and organising the week to come. Plus I have no time to be a self-obsessed, back-stabbing, egotistical player in the department as I have to work from home and so I am totally focused on my thesis and getting publications out there. It's tough around deadline times trying to get enough sleep, especially with teething, viruses, infections, etc but if it gets done it gets done, and if it doesn't, it'll be done as soon as I can.

Writing up as you go along

======= Date Modified 10 Jan 2012 22:36:52 =======

Quote From verucasalt:

If I had started writing up as I went along, I would [have] pages of wasted words.

It's called drafting. ;-) See what I did there?

Writing up as you go along

How we humanities people laugh at the scientists questioning if they should write as they go along! The absurdity!

How long to prepare for a viva?

Quote From sneaks:

personally I think providing a PhD by publication i.e. 3 good quality journal articles should be the new standard, as then its peer reviewed and you have practiced actually being a researcher, like you will for the rest of an academic career. I'll NEVER write a thesis again (Please please I don't want to!!!)

Couldn't agree more with Sneaks here. There are so many benefits for the PhD candidate walking into a VIVA with a significant section of the thesis already published. As one academic said to me, as an examiner in a VIVA how can he truly criticise a piece of work (say a chapter) that has been blind peer reviewed twice and published. Of course there might be discussion on why the student chose a certain approach over others, but at the end of the day it has been published and that's that. It's of publishable standard and has made an original contribution to the field.

I actually do think that a certain number of publications should be required before the Viva. In my experience my publications have come through conference participation. I attend a lot more European than UK conferences and in Europe 8 times out of 10 the conference will be connected to a planned publication - not simply a publication of papers but as part of a special edition of an academic journal. I've found that presenting part of my research has so many benefits - I'm reconnecting with material I might have written a year ago and subsequently have to rewrite it for the format of a 15 min talk. Each time I've found it a form of concentrating the main arguments and have reinserted the much more focused writing back into the thesis. It's a great form of revision and rewriting.

Even submitting your work to good journals has certain benefits. Even if you don't agree with the reviewers comments, you are getting feedback on your work - probably at a quicker rate than from your sup!

I don't think I'm being overly ambitious aiming for 3 publications before my Viva. I'm nowhere near an oxbridge standard student. I'm basically just an honest slogger but I believe in getting my stuff out there. As Woody Allen said, 80% of success is showing up.

Meeting with an influential academic in your field

In the next couple of weeks I am meeting with an influential academic within my (relatively small) field. I'm wondering what I should or could bring in order to keep him in my thoughts with future projects. I am entering the 3rd year of my PhD and this guy could open a lot of doors for me. I've already reviewed one of his recent publications for a prestigious journal and really want to make the most of this informal but still important meeting. I seem to be embarking on a similar journey to him in terms of research trips to certain universities, publication strategies etc, so I can ask him all about that, but I just want to make a good impression.

Anyone have any experience of this?