Signup date: 27 Sep 2017 at 7:48pm
Last login: 04 Feb 2018 at 12:27am
Post count: 20
Thank you for your reply, pm133.
If pages per hour were the only way I measured progress, I might agree with you, however, if I am trying to walk from Cape Town to Cairo and only have 3 years full time to do so, then there will be a minimum number of paces I need to take each day. I find that the best way of getting a rough idea of this is to speak to people who have walked there. This does not discard the notion that I may have to divert because it is flooded in a certain area or that I like the view from Mount Kilimanjaro and decide to enjoy the view for a few days...
If I learn that I have to walk 30 miles a day and I know that I am only capable of walking 5, then at this current point in time when I am still in the Cape Town suburbs, I may then need to come up with some aids to get to Cairo on time. Had I not compared or at least enquired about other people's experiences, how would I have known that at the end of 3 years, I would only have gotten to Tanzania. I would rather know that now instead of having to try to cram 1/2 PhD into the last 10 percent of the time available.
I don't find that brutal. It is just time management and planning.
Why do you think it is damaging to try to get an idea of these things?
It's not that half my time goes on admin, only that being part time does not seem to reduce the admin loadto half that of a full time student...
As I work between 30 and 40 hours a week, and have a couple of disabilities, I cannot do more than 20 hours and I have weeks when I don't manage 20 hours. 😐 Unfortunately, there is currently a fair bit to do with forms and funding applications and especially one supervisor needs a lot of follow up before things happen. Similarly, admin staff need chasing.... but I will try limiting it a bit...
Thank you for your reply.
I am a part time student and I am in the UK, so I don't have classes. My supervisors recommend I spend 15-20 hours on my studies currently (next to a nearly full-time job).
Of this time, I find that admin, form-filling, contacting people and all that stuff can easily take 3-4 hours each week. That then leaves 16 hours at best.
As I do not have classes, I have to find other ways of getting input on how to do research. A combination of seminars, conferences, supervision meetings and a number of MOOCs and online webinars takes up on average 6 hours a week.
This leaves 10 hours.
Of those, working on a couple of papers for conferences takes up another 2 each week. Contacting people and setting up research interviews currently takes about an hour, while working on my research database and research design takes another hour each week at the moment (this kind of just has to fit in).
That leaves 6 hours for reading. At my current speed, I manage about 10 pages an hour if it is difficult, or around 30 pages an hour if it is fairly easy overview material. Now, that gets me to around 120 pages a week, which is nothing and it worries me. I feel that I should be reading 500 pages a week. But it is a question of 'how long is a piece of string' as there is always more to do, more that I could delve into... As my topic is interdisciplinary, there's no real way of determining when something is enough.
However, let us say I take 5 weeks of holiday in a year, that then means at the end of a year, I will have read around 5500 pages (only). This doesn't sound realistic to me. That's only 11,000 pages over a full year of studies. The introductions I have on my desk already cover about half of that. Then I have an equal amount of articles and book chapters, and this is before I do any serious searching in great detail. On the other hand, getting much above 40,000 pages and it starts getting ridiculous the other way around, but I have a feeling that I should not be able to write a PhD based on only 50 pieces of work.
I am an MPhil/PhD student in my first year (so still MPhil technically) in an arts/social science area.
I am trying to juggle work, health and my postgraduate studies like so many of us. Sometimes I find it difficult to know how much pressure to put on myself. Due to a problem with my head and neck, I feel that I read very slowly.
Could someone let me know a bit about how much time they spend reading and/or how many pages or different materials they have read in their first year?
I am collating material to base my lit review on, but I am also still searching for the best angle on my topic.
I'd really appreciate your input although I realise it will always be different. My institution does not have many PhDs at my level and/or on my campus...
I think if you do a search to see whether these authors have been cited by others, and try to work out whether they have been the cause of any debate in your field, then you will know more about how to progress. In my field, the literature review has an emphasis on REVIEW, not literature, if that makes sense. That means that if the source is SIGNIFICANT, it gets included, if not, it is minor and doesn't make it... My literature review needs to be analytical, selective and synthesised at the end, while of course also not being biased or superficial. I think that if other scholars have engaged with these authors, then either you should too, or you should have a good reason which you make explicit of why not to. I'm also of the mind that you could do a 50 word summary for your own records of these less than ideal sources with a reason for rejection at the bottom. This will help you later if you change your mind, gives you an overview over the material you have encountered, it might give you a basis for snowballing some references, and when you get to the period before your viva, you can review these too, and be ready for any questions challenging why these authors were largely excluded from your review.
Thank you very much, everyone, for your thoughtful and informative comments. I have read them all.
I think that at this point in time, I have had a bit of a knock to my confidence and I am fairly busy in work as well. I think I may withdraw but look to sign up elsewhere next year or the next year. I am comforted by your comments that it was not meant to be like this. I look forward to hopefully having a break and a less frustrating time.
I have not asked to be a distance learner, you see. I live within an hour's drive of my university and would gladly attend on the 2 or 3 days of the week when I am not working. I visited the university before applying and everyone was excited and polite and they mentioned some other PhD students and the distance student. I had no reason to believe that it would be like this.
If I were to give up now and look for somewhere else, I don't think it would help my case to have already 'failed' at doing one MPhil/PhD... ?
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