Overview of Mackem_Beefy

Overview

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Mackem_Beefy
Monday, 13 September 2010 at 6:14pm
Wednesday, 3 July 2019 at 1:26pm
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page 1 of 85 recent posts

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
20-May-15, 14:56
edited about 12 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From thxht:
Dunham, I hear you - but this really is a matter of principle...

I just re-checked my university's regulations, and while they specify that there must be a critical discussion of the relevant literature (which I obvs have), nowhere does it say that there has to be a discrete "literature chapter". So this may be "traditional" but it is not a formal requirement, and the examiners are simply acting out of personal taste. This annoys me because while I am perfectly happy to submit my work to scrutiny and criticism, they cannot just make up rules as they go along (and yes, I am from another culture, so this British way of doing things seems quite strange to me :-)

I will wait and see exactly what the report says and check in with my supervisor to see if it's worth haggling...


A discrete literature chapter is required in a thesis. Alternatively, if you've written in a modular format, each module is expected to have a distinct literature section.

However, my main point is just do the corrections as "required", submit the damned thesis and get on with the rest of your life. :-)

Either do as you're told and walk away with a PhD or stand your ground on principle and be a rare (almost unheard of) instance of failing after being awarded minor corrections.

Ian

Thread: An Academic Job Slump is Making Graduate Students Depressed... Interesting Reading

posted
30-Apr-15, 20:48
edited about 6 seconds later
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posted about 4 years ago
There's nothing in either of those articles I didn't know already, though I enjoyed the pisstaking in the first one. If anything, the Guardian one isn't that good. I pick on the part saying that there are plenty of alternative career paths for Science PhDs. But do those posts actually require a PhD? He misses the point that PhDs actually deter some real world employers.

Just supposing you do land a post-doc, you've an existence of short term contracts ahead of you until you achieve tenure. You cannot make long term plans and the financial situation does not help as regards mortgages and other long term expenses.

I note salaries seem to vary amongst posters. My first post-doc although the better position was poorly paid, however, at that stage it was enough whilst I sorted out my head post-PhD. My second post-doc was well paid, however, a one year contract and it being clear there was no future (personality issues - discussed to oblivion now) still meant forward planning financially was impossible.

Some academics have the attitude that PhDs are a way of having someone running a project with little financial risk (i.e. funding bodies or student self-funding) and post-docs can be offloaded at contract end if their face doesn't fit as there's plenty PhDs coming through to replace them. High supply for a small number of positions means the situaion isn't about to change anytime soon.

The way research "groups" are structured means the senior academic has alot of sway with little recourse if things go wrong and little censorship from the University hierachy. Whilst this may be okay if you have a good man manager, our personality academics can thus virtually do what they like.

There should be balance between PhD positions and what follows, however, the oversupply situation and lack of academic accountability mean the balance of power lies with the University and PhD candidate, or post-doc, is little more than a disposable publication machine.

Ian

Thread: Best file type for thesis figures

posted
29-Apr-15, 09:34
edited a moment later
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posted about 4 years ago
As Ed says, go for PNG due to lossless compression. If you use JPG, especially at high compression, artefacts could show up as "smearing" on screen or in print.

If you can't use PNG, stick to TIFF or BMP. The files are uncompressed but other factors allowing, the images should be clean.

Also remember to avoid compression for images when you do a PDF for submission, as this will also introduce artefacts and "smearing" into any imported images.

Ian

Thread: PhD: graduating in absentia

posted
27-Apr-15, 16:24
edited about 1 minute later
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posted about 4 years ago
I passed earlier in the year than two of my colleagues, meaning I was valid for an earlier graduation date than they were (July rather than December). That said, we discussed the possibility of us all going for our awards in December to make a day of it. They were overseas students and once they were given their pass letter, could return for the December graduation.

I reckoned without my parents, who bluntly said waiting until December would take away the moment for them. It would be nine months after rather than four. They got their way and a July graduation it was.

That said, I had the pleasure of my second supervisor tripping up as he went on stage alongside me and I did know two of the undergrads, one of whom took the piss out of my lurid blue PhD gown. He basically just stood there, pointed and laughed. There were others who wondered what the lurid gown was (I felt like a transvestite on acid).

As it happened, things went a little wrong for the other two lads. One was told bluntly he had three days to sort out his thesis and submit, or be failed. My mother and I got hold of his thesis over the weekend and basically grammar corrected it. He submitted and was passed with minor corrections in the end. The other one submitted a little later, however, circumstances meant he did not attend the December graduation and as far as I know accepted in abstentia. I think because his family couldn't make it, he didn't consider it worthwhile after our plan collapsed.

I felt being there on the day did round it off for me and my parents got their day out. I thought the ceremony was a little comical at the time, though that said, I'm now glad it was as it made it more fun. I'd say do the graduation ceremony if you can if only for family as it allows them to celebrate with you.

Ian

Thread: Who's doing the weirdest PhD?

posted
27-Apr-15, 12:04
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posted about 4 years ago
Another bump - if you want strange, take a look at this lot!!!

Apparently bats perform fellatio and it extends copulation.

Ian

Thread: Ph.D. registration has been cancelled!!

posted
23-Apr-15, 08:28
edited about 3 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From swapnaguntupalli:
Thank you so much for the kind suggestions.

I am going to meet the vice chancellor of the University tomorrow along with my guide. Hope he would permit me to submit. Fingers crossed!!

I am seriously considering the possibility with some other university as well in the worst case scenario.

Ian..could you please share any information about universities that offer the PhD via published works. I live in Scotland. So I can explore this opportunity.

Thanks again!!


Just do an internet search "PhD by published works" and you'll be able to see which Universities offer this and what the rules and regulations are in each case..

I know some Universities will offer this to external candidates or people who did not graduate from that University, but you'll need an evening to check the rules and regulations for each University. You'll also have to be sure the University has a relevant faculty to your subject.

You may also want to read this:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/looks-good-on-paper/416988.article

Ian

Thread: Ph.D. registration has been cancelled!!

posted
21-Apr-15, 19:28
edited about 48 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Any possibility of a Uni. outside India?

You might want to consider PhD via published works, available at some British Unis. You could use your book chapters and any journal publications in support.

Note only a couple will offer PhD via published works to non-staff members or non-graduates of the University. There was another post on here about this a while back.

Ian

Thread: PhD after 4 years of work experience

posted
17-Apr-15, 15:09
edited about 6 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From daniel1703:


This is what I feared the most. So even with 5 years of working experience prior to your PhD, you found it hard to find a job? Did you eventually find a job then?


Yes, I did back in industry and outside academia though it took nearly a year.

I'll add, however, my problems were compounded by problems on the second post-doc with the senior Prof. and his side-kick. As I've explained elsewhere I was offered the post, then I believe the Prof. had changed his mind but couldn't back out because I'd signed the contract. We were stuck with each other, with me not able to leave as I would be without income (if you leave voluntarily, you can't claim unemployment benefit in the UK).

It says it all when you turn up to start the job and the Prof. says to a third person as though you aren't there, "He's a stop gap measure, very much a second choice, we'll just have to make do." Another person had apparently turned down the contract and the said Prof. had a reputation for confrontation - a previous employee had taken him to industrial tribunal for bullying.

Whilst I saw out the contract, it was an uncomfortable period and I ended up leaving without a reference. A difficult situation was made even harder as a result.

This is how I'm able to relate to those that have had bad experiences as well as good, as I've been at the receiving end of both.

That said, I still don't regret the PhD or for that matter, the first post-doc. But the second post-doc was a mistake (I knew of the tribunal before I signed the contract, but dismissed it as nothing to do with me) and because of that, I am no longer following the career path I thought I would be doing.

However, if the whole process works out, you may have a platform to sell yourself.

Ian

Thread: PhD after 4 years of work experience

posted
17-Apr-15, 11:18
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
I opted to leave my job after 5 years to take up a PhD, basically because I wanted a new challenge. The PhD provided me with that challenge, to contribute something new and original to my chosen field.

I'd had the idea for a while, however, opted to enter the jobs market after graduation as after a few years of undergrad then masters I needed a break. My plan was to return after a year, but circumstances meant this became 5 years (failed applications plus finding time to apply). I eventually succeeded via speculative applications to a few Universities and there was a project that suited me.

Generally, my PhD experience was good, with a knowledgeable primary supervisor. As with all academics, he was a little eccentric but that is par for the course. It was also useful having my predecessor on the project around, but this was not a situation I abused. After four years, I passed with minor corrections.

I then did two post-docs, one good, one not so good. After the second post-doc, that's when I had difficulties. Put simply, I and others have found selling ourselves with a PhD risks us being seen as "overqualified" or "likely to move on as soon as something better comes along". Also, people with PhDs are perceived as not being target driven and more dismissive of deadlines. How to overcome this depends upon the individual's ability to sell themselves, however, being interviewed in the first place can itself be a challenge (i.e. deprioritising education on your CV, targeting your skills - both PhD and non-PhD - to the job your after, etc.).

If you aim to stay in academia, be also aware there is an oversupply of PhDs to available positions, so that in itself is a hard sell.

I don't regret doing a PhD and would do the same if I had my time over again, but problems are there to be encountered

Have a look at my blog on PhDs for more information.

http://www.wearthesis.talktalk.net

Ian

Thread: How to move past getting kicked out

posted
15-Apr-15, 11:48
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
> Would apologising to them allow you to reform these friendships and at least allow you some degree of > support?

Consciously I have no desire to rebuild those friendships. Why would I want fair-weather friends? The issue is the guilt and shame around the fact those relationships have atrophied or crumbled. I don't know how to manage that.

How did you move on? No offense, but you left with the degree, and I have nothing to show for my years of work.


You admitted yourself that your anger pushed some of your friends away. Whilst I take the point on not hanging out with your "old friends", I'm not really in apposition to judge whether or nor they were "fair weather" or not. It may be there are one or two amongst them who could really be of help, know what happened and simply explaining to them you weren't in a good place because of what happened may bring them back on side to support you. I'm simply just trying to make a helpful observation.

As regards your Prof., were there any witnesses to this or was he careful to keep comments verbal? You are describing what sounds like a constructive dismissal case if you've evidence in print.

As to how I moved on, events and "personal" circumstances that followed did not allow me to dwell on what happened as my attention was needed elsewhere. My mind was occupied thus the hurt had time to fade.

Ian

Thread: How to move past getting kicked out

posted
15-Apr-15, 11:36
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From lostandquestioning:
I'm sorry to hear you've had a related experience. I don't think I've moved on from mine. I'm still mired in it, trying to make the best of it.

> As regards the dismissal, can I ask why you were asked to leave?

You know, whenever I talk to Americans they always assume I did something wrong. "Oh, you must have done something. They wouldn't just kick you out for no reason." People from outside America get that bad shit sometimes happens to good people. Sometimes mean people do mean things.

The reasons I was kicked out make no sense: I had an A- average in coursework, and yet the professor claimed I didn't have the grades to stay in. I had passed my comps (15 months prior to being kicked out!) and the professor said ex post that it was only a "marginal pass". I was doing research and presenting at conferences and yet this professor said I lacked the drive to complete original work. He fabricated some interaction in his office--I really had very few interactions with him to begin with--where he claimed I said all sorts of things. Suffice it to say, he wanted me out and had the power to do so.

This kind of thing happens. I didn't ask or judge the reasons things went sour with your professor. Things just sometimes go bad through no fault of our own, and judgments of these kind don't help.


I asked the question to gain clarity on your situation. I was not accusing you of anything or actually making a judgement. I'm actually UK-based, not American.

In my case, the Prof. who hired me apparently changed his mind. However, as I'd signed the contract, we were stuck with each other. If I left, I wasn't entitled to unemployment benefit. If he removed me, I hadn't given any just cause for dismissal as I was doing my job. But it was an uncomfortable situation.

Ian

Thread: Dissertation Help: Smartwatches - How many of you actually use them?

posted
14-Apr-15, 13:57
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Eds:
If you answer 'no' to Q4, is there any real point in continuing the survey?! ;)

Good luck though anyway.


Aye, fair comment.

I'd rethink that question to be fair. :-)

Ian

Thread: When do I actually *finish* the PhD?

posted
14-Apr-15, 13:55
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
You are finished when you sign over the hard copies and PDF of you thesis to the registrar, once the examiners (or internal examiner if minor corrections) have accepted your corrections post-viva.

A letter will then come through the post shortly after to confirm the award of your PhD.

If the worst you have incurred is minor corrections, you can effectively call yourself "Dr." post viva. It's a strange feeling when the examiners say "Congratulations Dr. Nesrine!!!".

However, you don't officially become "Dr." until you receive the letter - I was addressed as "Dr." in print for the first time at this point. The actual certificate and (if you want it) graduation ceremony are window dressing if you like.

Some will argue with some validity that point comes when you sign over the hard copies and PDF of the thesis to the registrars as the examiners have already accepted your corrections.

Ian

Thread: How to move past getting kicked out

posted
14-Apr-15, 11:57
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Having had not too dissimilar experience on my second post-doc (after a good PhD and 1st post-doc), you have my sympathies. I saw out the post-doc, however, there was no love lost between the prof. and myself when I left. Basically, it was largely responsible for the possibility of a research career path.

I ended up leaving without a reference and a mixture of being "overqualified" for various normal jobs and the lack of a reference from my most recent job caused a great deal of difficulty. It took me a year to find employment outside academia and research. That year now means these days I'm simply grateful to have a job. I know there's no going back now.

I can't give an easy answer to your problem, except you have to move on from your dismissal from your PhD. If you don't, it will continue to eat you up inside and you'll find yourself in a vicious circle of depression and doubt you seem to be in. Other personal circumstances meant I psychologically had to move on and stop thinking about what happened, and once I stopped thinking about it as I moved further into my non-academic job then began to feel happier.

As regards your employment situation, can you not sell yourself on skills gained during your studies (i.e. analytical and research skills, networking, experimental techniques if science-based, knowledge gained, etc.)? How can you be an asset to a potential employer rather than just looking to fill a job?

As regards the dismissal, can I ask why you were asked to leave? Whilst you have clearly lashed out at people around you (this is never a good plan), there's an element of you blaming yourself with you mentioning the shame you feel. As I intimated above, you need to move on from this.

Would apologising to them allow you to reform these friendships and at least allow you some degree of support?

Ian

Thread: completely lost interest/motivation for my PhD

posted
10-Apr-15, 11:46
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
You say they are asking you to concentrate on the project description and not the material you find most interesting?

At 2 years, 10 months, I would say you should be looking to write up. At this stage focussing on what is required by the project description (i.e. what the project was originally aiming to determine) is probably the shortest path to completing your PhD. I would not be looking at going off on a tangent at this stage - taking the project in a new direction is normally for an earlier stage if you have, say, a dramatic, ground breaking new finding. I personally would just be wanting to get the thesis written up, submitted and putting the PhD behind you.

This may seem a little contradictory, however, your supervisors' absences are not helping and I wonder if suspending until at least one of them is fully available might be an idea, as clearly you need to discuss the differences you have with them face-to-face rather than by intermittent e-mails. This will at least give you a break and a chance to fully think through what path you want to take. Whilst I would want to push for the finish at 2 years and 10 months, not having either present and you having different ideas from them could be the difference between minor corrections and a revise and resubmit decision come viva time. As a last resort, you may want to ask about a change in supervision, however, given they know your project this is not something you should do unless you have to.

Ian
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