Signup date: 06 May 2011 at 12:18pm
Last login: 11 Jul 2013 at 10:50am
Post count: 151
I totally feel your pain! I'm working on my (qualitative) Methods chapter at the moment and it's driving me round the bend. I've looked at other people's to get an idea of how they went about it but they're all so different from one another that it's really not much help. I was struck though by how little theory people generally included, eg explaining the philosophy and central tenets of their analytic approach, but how it was straight into the actual 'hands-on' detail. Makes sense from the point of view of an examiner having to get to the facts quickly, but I was surprised nonetheless. So I've tried to stick to that too - will see what the sups make of it when I give them my first draft!
If I get stuck tracking down a paper I often simply email the author, explain why I'm interested in reading their paper and that I can't get a hold of it at my end, and would they mind sharing the pdf with me. 99% of the time they reply swiftly, pdf in tow. This is great because:
1. I get the article I desperately want
2. Someone relevant to my research now knows that I exist and what I do (and you never know when that might come in handy)
3. I save myself some pennies not having to use the Interlibrary Loan service
Give it a try! There's not really any reason for anyone not to help other than laziness or disinterest in replying, because at the end of the day they have published their research to be used by others and if you specifically ask for it then there's a good chance they might get a citation out of it, so it's in their own interest to help. Good luck!
======= Date Modified 14 Apr 2012 18:15:09 =======
There's also free Pomodoro apps for mobile phones now as an alternative should you not be able to get the Internet one working again. Handy for those reading or writing sessions in random cafes around town!
I guess this will be different for different people depending on whether your research involves experiments or is purely theoretical and such like. Personally, doing qualitative research in the social sciences, I did lots of literature trawling and reading as I knew very little about my topic area before starting, met with a number of professionals in the field to better understand their role and also to help me get my head around what might be the most useful inclusion and exclusion criteria for my later participant recruitment, did a couple of informal 'pilot interviews' to help me work out my interview protocol, and I also sorted my ethics approval which took a good couple of months in itself. I only did little bits of writing like a few 2-page summaries here and there of my reading on a particular sub-area that I'm hoping I can draw on later. In hindsight I wish I'd done more of that! Other than that I attended quite a few courses offered by the University like generic PhD courses or research methods related to 'prime' myself for the latter stages of the project. What is funny is that like you I didn't feel I'd done much in my first year at all, but now that I've written this I'm thinking I did quite a bit really! 8-)
I guess it depends where you want to go with your career. At my end here there are plenty of 'jobbing' researchers who are perfectly happy to plod along without necessarily aiming to climb the career ladder or to stick out from the crowd with their achievements. Of course I'm not suggesting that they are not in fact very able, but they are basically good, reliable researchers contributing to papers, first authoring the odd one as per their job requirements, but have decided for themselves not to join the rat race for the next bigger or better job. Using that approach, all of them have been part of the same research team for 10+ years now (albeit on successive short-term contracts but that's just how it is these days).
I guess what I'm saying is there is much competition for jobs in research, that much is true, but there is also a role for people who for whatever reason don't try to to keep up with the overachievers of this world but are simply solid, dependable team players making their own important contribution to the work of their research team or department. Whether you feel you're capable or not (which you are, let's face it, you don't get a PhD and a post-doc for being just so-so!) there is no reason to think that there's no place for you in research in the long run. Good luck! 8-)
Massive congrats Sneaks, that's amazing news! You can't get better than that!!! I hope that you won't disappear from this forum too soon though, I always enjoy your tongue-in-cheek comments and have learnt a lot from your pearls of wisdom.
Must dash. Kinda busy with folks wanting to interview me at the moment... :p
Yes, putting a comma after the complete author title will work. That's what I do too.
On another note, I wonder if I can ask another EndNote question while we're at it? Does anyone know how to select specific fields to print off from the database? What I mean is, I'm trying to print out an overview of my literature only featuring the actual reference and the abstract, and none of the other stuff like URL, 'accessed' date, comments box, etc. This seems like such a basic function to want to use but I've hunted high and low amongst the drop down menus and it's certainly not obvious how to do this (although seemingly it is possible according to someone I spoke to who, frustratingly, couldn't remember how!). Any ideas?
======= Date Modified 01 Feb 2012 14:56:59 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============
I'm afraid I can't offer any real advice here as I'm nowhere near this stage of my PhD yet, but can I just say that I LOVE that phrase 'to s%&t and get off the pot'! Ha, that's totally made my day. 8-)
*goes off to analyse what it might say about self* :$
Well I've sort of covered goals 1-3 even though I didn't really achieve goal 1 as neither participant was home when I called. Does leaving messages count as catching up? :$
Anyways, the rest of the day will be spent on goal 4, refreshing my foggy memory on all things analysis as I can't see the wood for trees anymore! Tada!
Good to see that everyone's making good progress, but my, does it create pressure to keep up! ;-) I've unexpectedly a little more office time today than expected, so time to get posting some goals again to give my day some structure.
Goal 1. Call 2 participants for catch-up
Goal 2. Hunt through old emails to find the one by sup giving a really good synopsis of my previous data
Goal 3. Attempt to write up similarly clever insights from my new data
Goal 4. Re-read analysis papers to get my thinking back on track
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