Signup date: 21 Dec 2009 at 4:44pm
Last login: 01 Feb 2014 at 5:15pm
Post count: 200
I was advised at my transfer a few months back that all PhD students hit a wall at some point in their research experience - I don't know if it feels like a wall or a dirty-great hole in the ground! - but I guess he was saying this is normal, all part of the process & just has to be worked/lived through. Have you got time to stand back for a little while to help you take stock, & allow yourself back to the recognition that you can do this?
I had mine back in June, a 30 minute presentation of what I had done to date followed by 90 minutes of questions. The panel consisted of my supervisory team, an internal, independent expert in the field & an internal academic with no idea of the discipline at all! His take on the research turned out to be really interesting.
I gave them a copy of the presentation plus the preparation notes I had made, which they appreciated.
They took turns to ask questions ranging from specifics on wording (they didn't like one of my 'I contend's!), asking me to justify my method & clarify my philosophy (there's another couple of threads here somewhere saying how much fun that is!!). They also gave advice including for me to be less apologetic about my small sample size and make clear my own real-time transformation during the research process.
I made loads of notes - I'm not clever enough to have remembered all this detail!! It was a very useful, if stressful, experience allowing me to consider new avenues. Of course, you don't have to take on board all their recommendations but it's great having new eyes looking at what you've done.
Remember, you're the expert here, you know what you've done & where you want to go - chin up & let us know how it goes. Mog :-)
Hi! Good advice from KB! I took business cards with the title of the poster written on the back as they are small & easily taken away, & remind people who you were after the conference - a tip from this forum somewhere. It was quite useful to stand by the poster & chat to people as they came past. See if you can display yours where everyone will see it - I know that sounds obvious but at my 1st conference some posters were round the back of a partition wall so nobody found them!!
I had my first paper published just before my transfer interview, which was good timing!
I'd like to try to publish another, so my question is should I opt for the same journal or approach somewhere new? Are there any conventions or etiquette around this?
Mine's Tuesday, so I'm starting to feel as you do. I have to give a 30 minute presentation followed by an hour of questioning - sounds like fun!
The only advice I can think of is to know your stuff, & I know that sounds lame & obvious but it's easy to forget that you're the expert here - you know what you've looked at & why, & where you're currently working, better than any of the panel.
Mine is broken into 5 key areas I have to prove, & I'm probably saying what you already know, but they are
1) The research problem: 2) related literature: 3) appropriate method: 4) realistic schedule & 5) original contribution to knowledge, so I've planned my presentation around those.
Otherwise, don't forget to breathe - out as well as in, I always forget the exhalation bit when I'm nervous!!
Good luck & let us know how it goes, Mog (up)
I would acknowledge your development as a researcher; the PhD experience is after all about training to be a researcher & interviewing is a tricky technique that you develop as you progress & learn. Do you have lots of data from a number of interviews? Do the early interviews provide background, or are they all focussing on the same thing?
In my field (education) it is fine to situate myself in the research, can you find out from your supervisor or colleagues if it's fine for you too?
Good luck! Mog
If you know you'll enjoy it you're half way there. I too study part time alongside full time working, no children but complex family commitments. I have taught myself to study into the evenings (as an undergraduate I never studied after 6 pm!) & have 'donated' all housework & chores to my better half. It sounds like you have the right motivation and I'm sure you have an inkling of what's ahead of you from your own experience and the posts here.
Be good to yourself, do something you know you'll regret if you don't and let us know how it goes.
Hi! I've been in a similar position, uncertain of direction & feeling overwhelmed. I'm not sure there's one answer, & certainly not a quick one - in my case I only really got a handle on my research question 2 years in (I'm part-time)! Have you got any data yet?
I would certainly talk to your supervisor now that the practical hurdles have been overcome; talk about how you feel & about all the different strands of information you have & the best way to narrow these down.
I think this struggle is all part of the process!
Good luck, M
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