Overview of Mackem_Beefy

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Mackem_Beefy
Monday, 13 September 2010 at 6:14pm
Wednesday, 3 July 2019 at 1:26pm
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Thread: PhD dilemma

posted
09-Feb-19, 17:57
edited about 8 seconds later
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posted about 8 months ago
Briefly, the cases I know of where cheating occurred more to show it has happened from time to time over the years:

A: BASIC FABRICATION: These told to me by a Computing lecturer and again by a fellow alumni from my old University. I'll not name the Universities concerned though one was an English south coast institution, the other in the north east of England.

In the first, a student could not get his experimental rig working, thus calculated what data it should produce and presented the data in his thesis. The rig was found not to work years after the student was awarded his PhD.

In the second, student created a novel computing program for which he was awarded a PhD. Years later, someone tried to use the program to examine a different set of outcomes, just to find that the data output as consistently identical to that in the PhD thesis. Further examination showed the program not to be working, with a loop of code being embedded in the program that was set to produce the exact values in the thesis and no other.

In both versions, the University concerned decided not to revoke the PhD to avoid the bad publicity that would result.

Thread: PhD dilemma

posted
09-Feb-19, 17:45
edited about 27 seconds later
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posted about 8 months ago
Rare I drop by these days, but this one caught my eye.

Odd instances where a "representative SEM micrograph / photograph" is used instead of an actual one because you messed up a photo (features the same as expected as long as you have observed outcomes to be the same and you know others are not being deceived) is one thing.

However, outright data fabrication is wrong beyond belief. You have done right by reporting the fabrication. It is typical of academia to cover up a cock-up or fabrication and boy I know some tales. I'll detail a few I know about in a separate post following.

I note you have been offered a scholarship to start again, however, you justifiably feel disillusioned. Would they allow you to take time out for say six months to a year to rest up and think things through? My take is I remember how much I wanted to do a PhD and if offered the chance to start again, then I personally would have taken it provided I got a reasonable break.

But i understand also you feel all your work has been for nothing. Being asked to do the same things that don't work because your predecessor fabricated the data is a bit rough too. However, might you not be able to argue that because the results you are getting are different, you are disproving your predecessor's data and showing her outcomes to be incorrect?

Could you not argue that the differences you are finding are themselves a positive result?

I'd be wary about just taking an MPhil or MRes off dubious data as you might be perpetuation the fraud. But showing the data to be wrong could been seen in itself as a new finding.

That said, you know the intricacies better than I do and you will know better if my thoughts might help you.


Ian (Mackem_Beefy)

Thread: Pst Viva correction

posted
07-Dec-18, 13:43
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posted about 10 months ago
I've seen your Private Message. Looking also at the above, my understanding is some of your data has been gained in confidence from, let's say, survey subjects.

If the examiner is actually asking to see data in the thesis that reveals the identities of your survey subjects, this is unethical unless the survey subjects have given express, unambiguous permission for their identities to be used.

If the data is, say 52% of subjects disagree with a certain position and 48% agree out of a large sample size of say 500 people, I don't see the relevance of revealing identities and don't see that as practical anyway.

Is he, say, after a list of actual names with responses listed alongside in the thesis? You might want to check against the Data Protection Act to see if this is even legal without permission. The thesis itself my be subject to the Data Protection Act and not be available for public viewing. I would check the legal situation if this is what they want.

Listing of subjects "1" to "500" should be okay, with actual names locked away.

If a small number of subjects have agreed to more in depth interviews for case studies, I see why identities might be relevant for follow-up work once your project is finished. But again, permission has to be given.

Also, if people have moved on and are no longer in contact, how can you chase them up for permission?

Is it a case of examiners glancing at the raw data with names as a verification, but the data without names going into the thesis? That might be okay as long as the names aren't published or copied by the examiners.

I know this is general not knowing what your project is, but I hope I've helped in some way.


Ian

Thread: PhD Appeal in a British University

posted
07-Dec-18, 01:15
edited about 6 seconds later
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posted about 10 months ago
Briefly describe the circumstances (minus private details you feel we don't need to know) to provide us with more information?

Ian

Thread: Pst Viva correction

posted
07-Dec-18, 01:10
edited about 1 minute later
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posted about 10 months ago
Well, after thinking I'd officially retired from this forum, here I am again. :-)

What is the "ethical" nature of this correction you feel you cannot adhere to and what is your justification?

I agree wit "Tree of Life" here in that if you feel you cannot do the correction for ethical reasons, you need to provide a solid justification.

It is okay to approach the registrars or (if you feel it is more appropriate) supervisors at your University to ask about progress with the review of your corrections. Three months is a long time, though practically speaking University staff will be busier during term time.

Message me if it is private.


Ian

Thread: Why did you leave/are considering leaving academia?

posted
02-Aug-17, 19:15
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posted about 2 years ago
Quote From PsychBrief123:
Hello everyone

I'm conducting a survey to see why people have left or are planning to leave academia, specifically psychology. If you could complete this really short questionnaire I'd be very grateful and if you could link it to other people you know who have left I'd be even more so. Thanks for your help.

Kind regards

PsychBrief

Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZRS982G


As I'm not a psychologist, I'll refrain from taking part in the survey.

However, you'll probably find the following:

1) No progression beyond PhD once complete, due to a lack of available posts as a result of lack of funding for post-doc positions (oversupply of PhDs with respect to research or academic positions);

2) Fixed term contracts for research positions, leading to a lack of financial and employment security with no guarantee of continued employment once contract draws to a close - the financial issue prevents people starting out on the property ladder or easily obtaining a mortgage / home loan);

3) Lack of routes into academic tenure once researchers are ready to move into acadeic posts proper;

4) Lack of consistecy of leadership regardless of position (PhD student, researcher, academic), varying from very good to downright awful (I for example found myself in dispute with a senior academic I didn't start, provoke or want - that was my end);

5) Low level of pay compared to some private sector positions.

I'm sure people can think of more. Those I mention are from a UK perspective though other nationalities will probably recognise most or all of the above.

Ian

Thread: Lean / Six sigma

posted
02-Aug-17, 00:12
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posted about 2 years ago
Quote From ady:
A loooong time since I posted although I was a five star member in my heydays!!!

Just wondering if anybody could point to good electronic resources about Lean and/or Six Sigma, particularly in Educational settings.

Thanks if you can help

Ady


This is terminology I've faced in my not so enjoyable world of Quality Assurance (as said elsewhere, I want to retrain and escape).

Quality theory is that the methodologies can be applied to any setting, though I do wonder if the way education is structured if any system set up would be maintained. Academics do live in their own little worlds, meaning lack of cross-organisation interation would probably see an attempt at applying a Quality Management System not succeed beyond the confines of a research group, at times notoriously separate from the main University structure.

Wikipedia has an article on 6-sigma. Bear in mind it's seen as a professional qualification as well as a set of methodologies (see below link).

You might also look up "8-D" (if an issue, you make a plan to deal with the problem, form a cross-functional team, define the problem, put in place a quick fix / containment, investigate problem via "five whys", put in place permanent solution once root causes found, monitor outcome to ensure problem does not recur, implementing a plan via process and procedure modification so there is not a recurrence, then give the team a pat on the back or pints after work to say thanks) and "5-Whys" (you keep asking why a problem is occurring until you find the root cause) for root cause analysis and solution of problems.

I've found that at times these methodologies actually get in the way of people doing their jobs or blow a simple "human error" (not supposed to exist in Quality terminology) in non-conformance investigation out of all proportion. Previously a miniscule, low impact problem or sitiation would be sorted on the spot. Now it's subject to extensive investigation.


Ian

Thread: Revise & Resubmit :(

posted
01-Aug-17, 23:48
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posted about 2 years ago
Congratulations "umma08", you show there is light at the end of the revise and resubmit tunnel.

All the best from the future.

Ian

Thread: Examiners now wanting corrections different to what originally stated in revise/resubmit.

posted
01-Aug-17, 23:45
edited about 11 seconds later
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posted about 2 years ago
I don't know. If the corrections are massively different from those expected (i.e. the goalposts have been moved), you at least should ask why.

That said, some changes are to be expected once the examiners have had a chance to assess what changes are needed post-viva.

Ian

Thread: Is a PhD worth it for me?

posted
01-Aug-17, 23:42
edited about 53 seconds later
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posted about 2 years ago
You're 24. When you come out of the PhD, you will have skills that are transferable to a research career and plenty time to build yourself up again.

I've a PhD ex-colleague whose going great guns back in Thailand on the basis of knowledge gained in designing and understanding wind turbine technology.

Ian

Thread: Funding for Masters when you already have a PhD

posted
01-Aug-17, 22:04
edited about 1 hour later
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posted about 2 years ago
Quote From pm133:

Going by your "mackem" user name I am assuming you are living in England (Sunderland?) so I can't comment on the loan situation south of the border.

I would say though that I disagree with your second point where you said - "Secondly, it's now very clear that if I don't undertake retraining, it's going to be very difficult for me to find meaningful employment."
Obviously certain careers might be out of reach but it's not necessarily true that you won't find any meaningful employment whatsoever without going through a Masters or a PhD.
Don't assume your first Masters or PhD are either obsolete or too specialised either.
You can very quickly brush up on the Masters stuff and the PhD brings a whole heap of generic skills.
Are you sure you have considered all the other options?


I have links with Sunderland (the football team and University) though I'm actually from northern County Durham.

I'll reiterate that the career I've held is not one I enjoy, hence I am looking long term to change direction.

However, I've suddenly two job interviews in as many days. Although they are in the career I want to leave, they are jobs and I need to find myself back in work and will give my best in interview.

I have spent seven months considering the various options. Part time whilst working full time is an approach I'm not keen on as others have told me balancing work, life and study is a difficult one to manage.

Also, I'm concerned that whilst I study part time, I may become even more deeply embedded in the career I want to leave meaning a one year full time blitz seems to me at least an attractive approach. A complete reinvention if you like, for the thrid time in my life!!! :-)

As regards other remarks, I'll take a look at career development loans.

Ian

Thread: Funding for Masters when you already have a PhD

posted
29-Jul-17, 11:23
edited about 22 seconds later
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posted about 2 years ago
A couple of points worth adding.

Firstly, I was self-funded (i.e. received no funding) for my original Masters in 1994.

Secondly, it's now very clear that if I don't undertake retraining, it's going to be very difficult for me to find meaningful employment.

Regards,

Ian

Thread: Funding for Masters when you already have a PhD

posted
29-Jul-17, 02:18
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 years ago
I've already posted previously on my plans about retraining in order to effect a career change. Basically, after nine years as a Qualty professional, a career I fell into, I've been unable to find another job in the seven months since I was made redundant.

I'm looking at a career change and for that I need to retrain (even if I was to remain in Quality, I would need to retrain to make myself employable, so I may as well retrain to escape a career I don't enjoy). The most effective method would be to return to University for a new Masters (possibly a conversion course), meaning I'd be in and out in a year and not dragging out the process over a few years as with distance learning or part time.

I've been looking into postgraduate loans. However, as I already have level 7 (Masters from 1994) and 8 (PhD dating from 2003/4) qualifications I'm apprently not eligible for these post graduate loans.

I have read somewhere if I can argue a reasonable case with the Student Loans people, I might still be able to obtain a post-graduate loan. My argument is that the qualification would massively enhance my chances of finding employment taking me forward for the last twenty years of my working career. Also, my previous Level 7 and 8 qualifications are not assisting me finding employment (niche in the case of the PhD and out of date as regards my original Masters). If I don't retrain, finding meaningful employment will be extremely difficult.

Has anyone tried this and does anyone know if tis can be done?

I have a plan B as in a personal loan from my mother, but this would leave I would have a significant personal debt and this situation I want to avoid.

Plan C would be to take an Open University course where I could obtain funding, however, this would mean stretching study over several years and possibly being sucked back into Quality in the meanwhile.

Ian

Thread: PhD thesis and fake results on papers

posted
29-Jul-17, 01:56
edited about 4 minutes later
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posted about 2 years ago
You need to get out with your PhD. My course of action would be to write up the thesis without the fake results (I omitted a paper I considered "irrelevant" that was more of a pet project by my supervisor - there was no forgery as such but it was a distraction from the main study that added nothing to it).

Once you find a job away from your old faculty and elsewhere, then it will be up to you whether to retract the papers. If it's serious then I would be tempted to retract, however, bear in mind that Universities close ranks and whilst the trouble maker would be moved on, they would also ensure you would not be employed by that university again as a whistle blower. There was a beauty of a case at a German University that demonstrated this point beautifully. I wish I could find the link.

You will have to explain why the papers were not listed or the data included in your thesis, however, you could argue thet your draft fo the thesis was already to advanced to rewrite to include and were outside the main focus of the thesis (i.e. extra studies).

I know of someone who omitted data from at least one paper that would have disproved the content. He listed a friend of mine as co-author.

In his case, my friend decided not to raise the issue for the simple reason life was too short. He simply wanted to more on from his job to pastures new and didn't want to be embroiled in any subsequent investigation.

I'm also aware of plagerism by Masters students who cut and past their data from the internet (they'd worked fulltime rather than study properly druing their project period) and have been told of two instances of PhDs based on fake data. It's not funny and not clever.

Ian

Thread: Stop with my PhD. Unsure how.

posted
09-Apr-17, 11:38
edited about 1 second later
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posted about 2 years ago
I think some good advice has already been given in the above though specific advice is difficult without more information.

Without asking you to discuss your personal situation, will the money you have to pay be a large, fixed monthly amount extending over an as yet indeterminate timescale?

To explain, I'm aware of sitiations where due to, for example, chronic long-term illness of a close family member, such payments have become necessary to cover care not covered by the state (i.e. means tested). Or someone has had to cover someone else's mortgage due to a close family member's job loss. I couldn;t imagine taking on such costs when you're only income is a PhD stipend.

I tend to think your best option if possible is to be an employee of the company sponsoring the project whilst continuing your PhD part time. You really need to talk to your supervisor at the earliest opportunity.

I hope you get sorted out in such a way you're able to continue.

Ian
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