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how you manage papers?

Endnotes a lifesaver. Specially with how you can organise papers into different lists.

For the actual pdf's I name them 'Author, date, brief title' and then alphabetise them in folders (A to C etc), normally backed up across a couple of drives. If I need papers covering a certain area I can check endnote and then find them in my folders. I tend to only print out or have physical copies if I need to make notes on the move.

Predicted MSc outcome on CV?

Hi, I wouldn't put down a self predicted grade unless it actually matches with the prediction of your supervisor (which no longer makes it self predicted I guess). They'll be contacting people for references and it won't look great if they talk to your supervisor and the grade you've predicted doesn't match (unless they think you'll do better than you think!).

Writing up away from Uni?

bumping this a little but then I'll leave it alone. After heroic work by my supervisor the funding cock up has been dealt with and I have another 2 months grace :) So fingers crossed I'll be done before I even need to move out!

phd supervisors benefits?

There are a fair few benefits, and from what I've seen there are costs to balance it. Not seen or heard much about what Goodboy has mentioned, I may just be lucky. My experience and view is more inline with what stressed has said. Our department, the largest in the Uni, has two 'staff rooms' that are basically boxes consisting of old fridges, kettles so old they are more or less complete lime scale. Can't say I've seen any funnelling of funds like that.

I'm not sure whether they get extra money directly but I think departments are able to squeeze more money out from general funding if they have more phd students. They add to the research profile, bigger profile equals more money.

1) Looks good on the CV. It might not be something they are all required to do, but it's expected really at a certain point.
2) If they get a funded studenship it counts as a big grant they can again list on the CV. A full 3 year studentship including fee's can reach around 50k.
3) They get to extend their research without having to be hands on. They get more publications and a better profile.
4) Networking - All being well they get a newly qualified and appreciative colleage that they can collaborate with again or use for contacts.
5) Citations. Links with 3 and 4 really but often the phd student stays in the field and even if they work independantly they'll often end up citing their supervisor
6) Certain positions like research chair more or less demand prior and continuing phd supervision in a lot of areas. You're unlikely to see a professor as well who hasn't supervised extensively.

1) Supervising takes a lot of time and effort. Especially towards the end stages where there are huge drafts and documents to read, several times.
2) It's risky. There's no guarentee that the phd student will be any good, or will come out of the process well. If they've been selected properly then it should be okay but it's possible for someone to supervise a student for years and have it comes to nothing.
3) Your name is attached to anything the student does, publishes, says etc. If something goes wrong then your rep is likely to take a hit.
4) Paperwork. Insane amounts of paperwork.
5) Differing opinions on this :) But for all the effort they put in and grants they get I've never heard of a supervisor getting a penny.

didn't get the job...

That sucks :( Sorry to hear that. But as others have said, rise above it and keep applying. My supervisor was telling me that it's often a case of volume when you first start out. Keep applying and eventually you're going to get there.

It's just wrong that a) seemingly had no intention of really interviewing for the position, and b) gave such terrible feedback.

Are they honestly trying to suggest that if you're given an interview, and asked to perform a presentation, that is doesn't matter? Could you imagine the look on their faces if you had turned up and just said, 'I'm not going to bother with the presentation. It's not going to count." Gits.

I've always been told, and thought, that the presentation and your questions are key. As much as if not more than their questions. Those alongside your CV/App give them an idea of what you're about and if they have any areas they want to look at they can question you. But the idea that it's based soley on their questions is absurd.

Why couldn't they have just said, "Your interview went well, we were impressed and certainly considered you appointable. Unfortunately though we went for another candidate with a different background/experience that we felt in this case was most applicable." ?

Did you at least get to claim travel expenses?

I need to learn statistics

Quote From DrJeckyll:

I am not in psychology, I am in a Science PhD. I ve read about SPSS in previous threads. Why is SPSS so popular? ( I am not a smartarse, honestly wondering). I found this list on wiki

I've seen it used in other areas as well, like biomedical sciences. So it might still be relevant.

Basically I think the reason it's so popular is that it can handle most quantatative data, and a range of statistical tests from the most basic of descriptive stats to mixed ANOVA's and regressions etc. The user interface is reasonably friendly as well. Say you want to run a correlation then you select the test menu, go down to correlation and select want you want there. You might need to play around to get exactly what you want but it's not so complicated that you have to sacrifice a goat every time you open it :) That said I'm sure the latest version will probably come with a chicken's blood add on to improve speed.

It normally plays well with excel too. So if you set out your data properly (rows for subjects/entries, columns for scores etc) it's just a matter of copying and pasting across rather than having to re-enter it all.

It can make plots for you to double check data and comes with lots of little extra's. Want to know the statistical power? Got a hankering for knowing the effect size? Want to eliminate all the extreme outliers before the analysis, or split it on sex? All doable with a few clicks.

Hmmm, what else :D Starting to feel like an SPSS salesman. It comes with AMOS as well usually which is used for factoral modelling (I think. I've yet to see anyone use AMOS). Also when you get more confident with SPSS you can bypass the user interface and use the syntax/code to save yourself hours.

The only problem I find with SPSS, and I know a few who feel the same, is that it hasn't improved much since the earlier versions. In fact the newer versions seem more unstable/awkward to me. I think it's on version 17/18 at the moment.

What stressed and bilbo say though. Check with your supervisor, you don't want to learn one package and then have to start again. Also, maybe check with the grad school for courses? There might be a few that are helpful and you can use the credits to go towards a post grade certificate or even diploma if you put enough effort in. I've got a PGC in research training, I wish I'd collected some more of my easier credits (you can get 10 for doing a presentation, 5 for a poster, 10 for going to a conference etc) and bumped it up to a diploma.

I need to learn statistics

======= Date Modified 30 Jun 2010 01:50:22 =======
Don't worry. I think stats is pretty overwhelming for most of us :) It definately takes a lot of effort, or did for me, but once you get the knack the sense of achievement is amazing.

Do you know what programs you'll be using? Or which ones the department has access to? If you're in the social sciences then I imagine you'll be using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). There are a lot of online tutorials that are pretty good but you'll probably need to work through them step by step. SPSS can take some getting used to but it has a lot of features that can be very useful - it's just a matter of finding them.

There are a few books I've used that have helped. Two of them are psychology based so I don't know how much use they'll be. 'Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology - Hugh Coolican' and 'An Introduction to Statistics in Psychology' - Howitt and Cramer. There's a third that I've used for advanced stats and is more theorectical but I've left my copy in the lab and I can't remember it's name.

This link might be helpful too:

Perfect PhD slipping through my fingers help!

What Bilbo said :)

I think a lot of people are fine with being asked for, and giving out, feedback. It's a reasonable request. So long as you're not emailing them everyday you'll be fine!

I recently had a job interview and missed out and I asked for feedback. It can take a little while for them to get back to you but so long as you're patient and polite they seem happy to do it.

Need some advice on PhD

Is there the chance of upgrading from the MA to the PhD at the end? I know you can potentially from the MPhil to the PhD but I don't know if the same is true of MA's. If it is though you might be able to do the MA as your first year of the PhD and then upgrade. Perhaps that's what they're suggesting with the re-applying for the PhD?

As for University the name and general reputation is always a bonus, and some people put a lot of emphasis on it. However at PhD level the rep of the university doesn't have a massive impact, I don't think so anyway. It doesn't matter whether you're at Oxbridge or a new institution, the rep isn't going to effect the work and research you put it and it's originality.

Writing up away from Uni?

Quote From stressed:

I'm not at the writing up stage yet, but I work exclusively from home - I don't use our postgrad office - its noisy, quite a distance away, and I figure the extra couple of hours here working are better than being stuck in traffic :-) With my sup I tend to send in work (I do see him regularly too) and he will use the word comments facility, scrawl all over it and email it back with an email with extra comments so we don't even use the post! its the way I've always worked with him since he was my sup for my BA dissertation.

You don't need a desk but do be careful - when I was moving last year my desk was packed up and moved ahead and I wrote a paper on my laptop on my lap - I somehow strained the muscle in my shoulder which in turn trapped a nerve running up my neck and into my head and I spent the whole summer in agony - make sure if you work without a desk that you move v regularly and that you ensure that you sit correctly - the nature of my chair meant that my shoulder was slightly raised continually and that's what did it apparently - I suffered big time for months - its no fun.

Thanks :) I hope my supervisor is savvy enough for using word comments. In the past he's sometimes highlighted and then sent back a document with general notes on but I'm not sure that'll work for something the size of a thesis, certainly not with the amount of mistakes I'm bound to make! Word comments could work then, I might mention it to him when it's time to leave.

Normally my meetings over the past 3 years have been to discuss results and brain storm for research. Occasionally it's been to go over some theory that I might have been lacking in (I began as a staunch cognitive psychologist and these theory meetings have converted me into an associative learning theorist instead!). But I'm hoping now most of those reasons for meeting will have passed, I don't even have end of semester reports to deal with anymore. So I'm thinking all electronic could work, and it'd certainly make it easier for me.

Writing up away from Uni?

Quote From BilboBaggins:

My supervisor was very reliable, both at just processing the material quickly, and posting it back. Sending it in the post added very little delay onto the bigger time needed by a sup to read and write proper feedback on your work.

In the early stages of my writing I was working on a pair of chapters at a time, and once I'd sent those off to my sup and he worked through those I'd move onto the next 2 chapters. So there wasn't really a gap. But after my first full draft I was shattered, and took full advantage of the opportunity for a break!

You should still meet with your sup, but you don't need to meet so regularly when you're writing up. More when you have produced a big chunk of work, so a full chapter or two. Then you have something substantial to discuss. In the writing up stage I found the sup meetings - even if I had relatively few - boosted my morale no end.

Thanks :) Meetings should still be doable I think. 'Home' is only 70 miles away from Uni so I should be able to handle the occasional train journey. Im hoping I don't need too many meetings though.

Quote From pink_numbers:

I'm currently writting up my thesis, and I can tell you from personal experience, you don't even need a desk to do write up!

of course I didn't choose to do without my desk, but my elderly cat who is going senile gets very VERY upset if I work at a desk... any desk. After trying to work in lots of places around the house, it turns out that she is ok with me sitting on the bed to work, so that's what I've been doing! It took me a couple od days to get used to it, but I enjoy it now.

Oddly a cat recently paid me a visit whilst I was writing. A random cat jumped in through my bedroom window, took one look at me and my work and clambered back out!

I think I'm stuck to the desk for the most part. Ive got very pads for writing notes on (and a special one for research ideas!) but my laptop has issues. If I try and move my keyboard onto my bed I first get stiff and uncomfortable and then I fall asleep! I wish I had voice notation software though. That would be fantastic! I'd definately work from my bed then.

Writing up away from Uni?

Thanks Q and Bilbo :) Congrats Bilbo on graduating! It's those kind of things that I need to hear!

Quote From queerface:

If you have a uni in your home town, you can usually join its library for a small fee and then use its facilities. being able to get started on work as soon as you wake up, without having to make your way into uni and having access to all the free tea you can manage should not be underestimated!

it depends on the environment you have to work in now, the one you would at home, and whether the stress of struggling to stay where you are now outweighs the inconvenience of not living where you study.

good luck with the write up!


Brilliant! Thank you thank you thank you! I hadn't even considered the library at home. It's a fair bit smaller than the library at Uni but it should do the job. I'm past the stage of needing much in the way of books etc from the library, it's more a case of needing it for printing and access like you say. Definately something I need to check up on.

I don't really need anything in my office/lab, or much in the way of books. I've got most of the pdf's I need backed up as chapters 1 and 2 have been done, and WoK and my supervisor should be able to help with any I'm missing even from home. The work environment is the key thing, I've not really got anywhere at either parents that I can really work at. I mean I'd just need a room, a desk and a plug socket but there's nothing like that at home as it stands. But, if I can get access to the local uni library I could basically camp out there during the day to get things done.

Staying here at Uni, as much as I like the place, will I think become rapidly stressful. I have packing/moving to deal with as well as the writing. Part time work outside of Uni on top of that would not help the writing, especially not the amount I need to cover rent and bills.

Quote From BilboBaggins:

I'd email in drafts near the end to my supervisor, and he'd post them back to me.

I'd wondered about this. I enjoy my face to face meetings with my supervisor (even the one today that he'd forgotten about!) as we get on and they're normally very productive. I'm thinking though once he's seen my first drafts of everything, and any major problems have been dealt with, via email/post might work fine. I know this might vary alot between supervisors but when it came to posting things back were they a) okay with it? And b) reliable? I'm guessing post adds and extra day or two on to geting things done. Was it a case of planning for the gaps and working on something else in between or, dare I say it :D, did you make use of the delay for a bit of a break?

Thank you both again. You've been really helpful and honestly just knowing others are doing it, and have done it, takes a bit of the stress off. I'm just vary weary of getting into a situation where I've not got the time or facillities to get it finished and it ends up dragging on for a long long time.

Congrats again on graduation Bilbo, and good luck with your write up Q! I feel your pain!

Writing up away from Uni?

======= Date Modified 28 24 2010 11:24:32 =======

I'm at the end of my third year, and tether. All the research is done and dusted, papers are in prep and now it's just a case of writing up. A potential cock up in regards to my studentship (they think I started and was paid from June 07, I'm pretty sure I wasn't even interviewed for the post till mid-july!) means that money might suddenly become very tight and being able to stay on at Uni might not be workable.

My time table for writing up has me at the 2nd or 3rd complete draft thesis stage at July 30th, and my bank account unless I hear good news has me out on my ear about a week later. I've got a few options, a friend and former housemate who lives here says he'll put me up for a bit rent free, I could try and get a job and finishing the writing at half speed, or I could go home to my family and finish writing up there. Another possible option is that one of many academic job applications come good and finish up before I start teaching/researching for them, but it's a long shot.

I'm looking at the first or third option there but I was wondering what people's experiences were with the final stages of writing up. Do you think I even need to be in and around Uni any more? Have people managed to move home and finish writing up promptly or would I be better off finding a way to stick it out here?

Thanks, and sorry for the wall of text!

The One Goal Thread

Morning all - hope the goals are going well.

my goal today was to survive a meeting about feedback on my first couple of chapters, but as my supervisor forgot I'll have to move onto something else. I don't know, do I count that as a completed goal today?:) I was ready after all!

Please tell me it will pass...

I don't really know you, so I'm not sure how much use this will be but....It'll be okay :) You'll get through it.

I've got relatives grappling with bipolar issues and academia and from talking with them I can tell it can be a tough slog. But you're on track by the sounds of things, the review went well, you've got a supervisor who's trying to help and seems to understand and more importantly you've got some time to chill. You can recoup and launch back into it with a clearer head hopefully. Better for it too.

You've written and noted a lot of positives up there and they're worth revisiting when your mood is low. Especially seeing as the positives largely seem to be your doing :)

I hope you start to feel on more of even keel as the week goes on. All the best.