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Mark_B
Friday, 30 August 2013 at 12:52am
Tuesday, 14 May 2019 at 11:38am
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page 1 of 9 recent posts

Thread: Postgraduate Forum 'refresh'

posted
14-May-19, 11:38
edited about 29 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 1 week ago
I think that's definitely something we'll look at - thanks for the suggestion!

Thread: Upcoming viva - any tips?

posted
24-Apr-19, 10:30
edited about 27 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 1 month ago
I'd echo most of the advice above. The one thing I'd add, based on my own experience is kind of obvious, but perhaps easily misunderstood: be prepared to defend your thesis and don't panic when you have to.

Despite knowing more than most about the PhD process (it goes with the FindAPhD Content Ed' role) I still slipped into the trap of thinking I had to carry my thesis through the viva unscathed and that a successful examination was about confirming the perfection of my research and ideas. It isn't. It's about making sure you can explain and justify the decisions you made and the approaches you took, even if the external disagrees.

I faced a pretty tough question early on: 'your thesis is about x, yet I'm surprised not to see y anywhere in your bibliography'. For a few seconds that felt as if I'd started a driving test by pulling out of the car-park, speeding and failing to indicate. In fact all I needed to do was say 'yes, but my objective with this project was to move away from y and examine x in the context of z'. Which was exactly what the examiners wanted to hear. I don't think they actually agreed with me that x can be discussed without y, but they recognised that I'd made a plausible decision and was able to justify and explain it to them.

Basically, don't panic when you get the tough questions. Dig in and defend your thesis. You'll probably do a lot better than you think you are. I got minor grammatical corrections in the end (ironic, given my day-job).

Good luck!

Thread: Postgraduate loan scheme - good or bad??

posted
27-Feb-19, 13:17
edited about 28 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 3 months ago
Hi Jane,

I'm a bit of a Postgraduate Loan 'geek' (someone has to be) having been responsible for the resources over at FindAMasters and FindAPhD since George Osborne (remember him?) first announced the loans back in 2014.

You're right that the Govt can change the threshold and rate. I'd personally say that they're unlikely to make the terms worse. The most recent big change to student finance was a threshold rise for undergraduate loans (from £21k to £25k pa). It's more likely that the same would happen for PG (though not currently on the cards) than that they'd lower the threshold. Never say never, of course, but perhaps that can offer some limited reassurance.

Mark

Thread: Postgraduate Forum 'refresh'

posted
27-Feb-19, 13:13
edited about 1 second later
by Mark_B
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posted about 3 months ago
Thanks Rewt - we'll definitely pass these on. And yes, the blog section and 'hall of fame' are likely to be refreshed as part of this.

Thread: Postgraduate Forum 'refresh'

posted
22-Feb-19, 10:29
edited about 29 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 3 months ago
Thanks Ian - we're certainly hoping to make posts look a little nicer / feel a little more flexible.

Other suggestions welcome!

Thread: publishing in academic press

posted
09-Jan-19, 17:47
edited about 22 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 months ago
I also published a couple of times during a Humanities PhD, but I think it's fair to say that there's less expectation for students to do so - which is perhaps what rewt is really getting at? All peer-reviewed publications should, of course, be worthwhile contributions to their field - by definition ;)

Thread: Reassure me- I’m about to quit!

posted
07-Jan-19, 14:08
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 months ago
Hi,

First up, people have definitely quit and gone on to lead full and happy lives. I know a few. You're also at a very early stage so getting out now won't leave you with a large amount of wasted work, or an odd looking gap in your CV. Some reassurance there, I hope.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you're not enjoying the actual work and don't feel an academic career (or other career 'with the PhD') is for you. There's no shame in that, but do sit down and discuss with your supervisor. PhDs evolve quite a bit and your experience three months in won't necessarily be a good indicator for the remainder (the first three months of my PhD were probably the dullest and most 'grindy', for what that's worth).

I'd also suggest chatting to some other students in your field. How did they feel after three months? Did they ever feel like you do now?

Best of luck with the decision.

Mark

Thread: Turning a chapter into the whole thesis (whilst half-way through PhD?)

posted
22-Nov-18, 12:07
edited about 20 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 6 months ago
Thanks pm133,

Really though, it's the scope of the argument and projected outline of the project that's being identified as (potentially) sufficient here, not the total amount of material researched. In my case there was plenty of further research required before the thesis itself was ready.

3-4 years is typical for a full-time UK PhD. I'm aware of one person who managed it in 2, but they were fairly exceptional.

Thread: Turning a chapter into the whole thesis (whilst half-way through PhD?)

posted
20-Nov-18, 12:16
edited about 23 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 6 months ago
Hi Camparisoda,

This very much happened to me, actually - and I don't think it's all that uncommon.

In my case it became apparent that there was simply far too much to cover in my first chapter and that the argument I was constructing there was sufficiently detailed and significant for a PhD. This was about two years into a part-time PhD, so a little earlier than the point you're at.

However, if you've got sufficient material and feel confident that you can write it up as a thesis, I don't see that you'd necessarily have a problem making this switch. I'd definitely discuss with your supervisor though; they should be able to say whether the new plan for your thesis works as a PhD and advise on how much (if any) additional research is now required to expand the chapter material.

I'm sure others here will also share their own advice and experiences.

Mark

Thread: Doctoral student loan success

posted
07-Nov-18, 12:47
by Mark_B
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posted about 6 months ago
Thanks for sharing your story here William. It's great to see that the application and approval process is working well.

We've covered the PhD loans in detail over at FindAPhD, producing what we hope is one of the most comprehensive FAQs around.

https://www.findaphd.com/funding/guides/uk-phd-loans-scheme.aspx



Student stories and experiences are also something we're always keen to share on our blog. I'd be up for chatting if you're at all interested in that - you can reach me at editor[at]findaphd.com

Cheers - and enjoy the PhD!

Mark

Thread: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing Hoax

posted
13-Aug-18, 12:46
edited about 36 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 9 months ago
Thanks for your contribution Hansalagoa. As one of the original participants in this thread, I feel obliged to respond.

It's not my place to say whether or not LAP is a legitimate academic publisher and there's no need for me to reflect on their business practices when a quick google search will turn up plenty of well-written analysis from those who've spent more time on the subject.

As a moderator on a forum for current and prospective postgraduates who might be approached by LAP I would simply point out the following:

1) Make sure you understand the rights you're giving any publisher of your work. You'll normally need their permission to republish the same research with an(other) academic journal or press and they aren't necessarily obliged to give it.

2) Make sure any publisher or publication you do place your work with is recognised in your academic field. If you aren't sure, ask a supervisor or similarly experienced researcher.

Cheers

Mark

Thread: PhD and disability

posted
24-Jul-18, 09:49
edited about 34 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 10 months ago
Hi Witching Hour,

You mention that you've already looked at some blogs on this topic, but just in case you've missed it, I thought I'd share a page from FindAPhD that brings together different students' experiences:

These were actually drawn from some very helpful folks on the forum a few years back. Perhaps they'll be helpful.

Thread: Studying PhD in the UK as a EU student?

posted
13-Jul-18, 12:08
by Mark_B
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posted about 10 months ago
There isn't much to add to the (very helpful) replies here already, but one thing that may be encouraging is that the UK has recently extended fee and funding guarantees to EU students starting a degree (including a PhD) in 2019-20.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that access to domestic fees and public funding (including loans, RC studentships, etc) won't change during a student's course, regardless of Brexit.

I can also confirm that Chaotic1328 is completely correct: the new doctoral loan only affects eligibility for other public funding (RCUK, NHS, etc). It won't stop you applying for funding that's provided directly by your university, or awards from other organisations (charities, trusts, etc).

We've recently updated our PhD loan guide and FAQ (if that's useful):

https://www.findaphd.com/funding/guides/uk-phd-loans-scheme.aspx

Thread: PhD Government Loan

posted
21-Jun-18, 16:55
by Mark_B
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posted about 11 months ago
Hi folks,

Just to double confirm (from a funding geek) that you're still eligible for the doctoral loan if you have funding from a source that isn't derived directly from public funds (main examples being full or partial Research Council awards or NHS funding). Charitable grants, university scholarships, etc, all fine.

Details in our guide (which is currently being updated) and more info / advice to follow on the FindAPhD blog over the next few weeks.

https://www.findaphd.com/funding/guides/uk-phd-loans-scheme.aspx



Cheers

Mark

Thread: PhD loans - what do you all think?

posted
17-May-18, 16:08
by Mark_B
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posted about 1 year ago
Apologies - missed your reply here. Yep, that's the limit. As with the Masters loans, the intention is for the money to make a 'contribution' to a student's costs. Remains to be seen how useful that ends up being. . .
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