Signup date: 31 Oct 2011 at 3:18pm
Last login: 10 Jan 2013 at 12:46pm
Post count: 95
Having experience of working from home doing the whole PhD, I think the best things you can do is to regularly seek feedback from supervisors and find other academics who can give you feedback on your work as well maybe in the same university or hopefully experts in your field at other universities. Getting feedback on your work is a big motivator I found when you are just working by yourself most of the time. The worst thing is sitting for months at home with no good feedback. You need to create as much interaction as possible with academic colleagues even if by email, phone calls etc and hopefully regular face to face meetings as well. Do talk to other PhD students as well about what they are reading and what they are doing. If you don't have many students working on similar things to you in your department, postgrad conferences are a good way to find similar PhD students who you can share what you are reading with, the kind of tasks they're doing etc - obviously this will differ between topics and disciplines.
You should be able to identify potential weaknesses and questions partly by thinking about where various people have critiqued your work in the past - e.g. have supervisors raised concerns about particular issues or passages, or have questions been raised about certain parts of your work or your arguments in conference papers? Any questions remaining that were asked at the first year/Masters viva panel? The better you know your thesis the better you will be able to handle any questions they throw at you. I'm sure if you think carefully you will be able to come up with answers to likely concerns and questions that the panel will have if you are familiar with some of them from previous panels. You will know what their prejudices/concerns/interests are likely to be and you can cater to them. If you know that one of them is likely to ask for a particular correction given your knowledge of their interests well you can craft a response in advance.
Definitely do get someone to give you a mock viva. If your supervisor won't do one then get someone else to, and even make up some questions for them to ask you if necessary. It will be practice answering the questions out loud and help you see weaknesses in your answers by presenting them to someone else. Get the Rowena Murray book 'how to survive your viva'. When is your viva?
I completely agree Pushfor10 - it really is an under addressed issue that so many people experience depression and ill health during a PhD - far more health problems than would be expected for the age groups of the majority of PhD students. I've never seen any thorough research on it or universities making very significant attempts to address the issue, but the issue certainly warrants attention - ideally practical attention though some accurate data about it would be interesting. There's a book called 'Focus' by Wolff which has a section in with practical ways to address procrastination - I've used it a bit.
I completely understand why you perceive the process at your university as being so cold and slow. No one seems to be helping you at all. You really are entitled to have received your corrections by now. I'm rather curious what university and department it is, though I don't expect you to want to reveal it given the circumstances!
When I made my later post I hadn't noticed that you were also trying to tackle a similar problem. I agree the Salford website article about the conceptual framework is helpful. It can be difficult to translate it to your exact situation though can't it. I think I have the reasons in my head why I chose the concepts I did and constructed the research in that way, but trying to make it into a framework when I am not totally familiar with what a framework should look like is hard.
I think now's a good time to leave if that's what you want to do. Giving the PhD a year to see what it's like is a good enough investment of time to know what it will be like. The problem of deciding to leave after a year and a half or two years is that it can seem you have to finish just because you've already invested so much time. If I had quit, I would have done it at the end of the first year. It really is a good time to make that decision.
Hello I've been asked to add a conceptual framework at the end of my social science literature review. Does anybody have advice about what should be included in the conceptual framework. The purpose of the framework is so I have a theoretical/conceptual reference point to return to in evaluating contributions to knowledge in the discussion. Thank you for your help.
Hello, I have to draw two key diagrams for my thesis. I'm wondering what package would be best to do this on that I might be able to access. Obviously most of the thesis is written in Word 2010 but I've found the diagram tools on there are not satisfactory. I don't need anything terribly complicated, but something a bit better than that I think. I need a funnel diagram and some influences acting on it from the left and right outside of the boxes of the funnel - shown by arrows and text. The funnel diagram on Word was too limited. I wondered if anyone could recommend appropriate software or other hints or tips. I also need to draw a flow diagram. Thanks very much for your help.
Beefy: I think associations with top universities are sometimes linked to elitism in the public's mind. But frankly I think in general the PhD is just seen as being a superfluous, geeky and not a meaningful qualification or status symbol outside of academia rather than elitist as such. The fact you see the term PhD being used in the media as being pointless suggests exactly the kind of values and attitudes that are prevalent in the UK.
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I agree it sounds a bit crass to say one has a PhD. But I wonder to what extent it is cultural. If someone said I have this industrial management experience at X prestigious company, people would likely accept it and say yeah that's interesting in the light of the conference. Somehow academic experience is not really rated in the same way. In America compared to UK I think a PhD is sometimes seen as a more useful qualification to carry credibility outside of academia - e.g. it's regularly used as a sign of credibility for a rent a quote in popular media shows. I think a more useful way of stating the relevance of the PhD is to say "I've spent X years researching this topic we're discussing and found out Y".
Hi Swetcha, I completely agree, it's so hard to remember points about details in the thesis that occur when you read through it. I'm hoping to read through at the least the key chapters once more before the viva. I'll have to make notes too otherwise I'll forget the points!
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