Signup date: 16 Jun 2010 at 10:21pm
Last login: 18 Dec 2010 at 11:32pm
Post count: 432
Mine is in psychology too, learning/cognition. 20 experiments sounds like a ridiculous amount of experiments, especially if only 9 were included. Did they have a small sample size? Were some of the experiments pilots? If so then that would make their total seem artificially large.
Alternatively they could be counting the groups they ran in each experiment as experiments in their own right. I ran 7/8 experiments over 3 years, with two very small pilots. If I counted the individual groups from each experiment as one then I'd hit the ~20 mark. Regardless its a bizarrely high number of experiment to say you have carried out. From my experience, and those of others in the department the average amount of experiments in a thesis is nowhere near that high.
The way of planning that you've mentioned seems more sensible to me. And closer to what I did. The planning and ethical approval was done for one experiment, and I had inklings as to maybe one or two experiments that could be done afterwards depending on the results. When the results came in the next experiment was approved and ran, and so on. My second supervisor was from outside of psychology and this approach puzzled him a little because in his field it's possible to have a clear idea from almost the very start of where you'll end up and what experiments you should run to get there.
As for the absolute ideal number of experiments you should aim for...well, just as many as it takes. Not very helpful I know :( but it's possible in some cases to run a couple of experiments and have enough data and results to make up a thesis, and in other cases it takes more. I remember my supervisor telling me that a thesis doesn't have to be doorstop size, nor does it have to change the world. It just needs to provide evidence that you can do research, that is publishable and that it is, in some way, original.
Mine is similar
1) Summary of research aims and relevant results
2) Detailed look at the first research aim and the experiments
3) Detailed look at first attempts to address main aim and the experiments involved
4) Detailed look at final experiments and how they addressed the main aim
5) Discussion of the relevance of the results to both the aim and the theories and literature surrounding the area
1 was fairly brief and descriptive "To look at X experiment 1 was run which found Y, leading to the need for experiment 2. Which found..."
2, 3 and 4 went into greater detail and discussed problems, strengths and possible criticisms of the experiments. Related them to the theory. Went over a lot of old ground in those parts but I thought it was better to do that than have the examiners have to flick back to work out whether I'd mentioned something or not.
5 was the most important and longest part for me.
It could all be rubbish though. I've not had full feedback on my final chapter yet.
I love mendeley. I wish I'd used it all through my PhD rather than just the last bits.
I've made a folder that the program scans so I just drop everything I have in there and it picks it up. It acts as a backup for all my files too.
I don't think theres much that can be given in the way of tips. It's fairly simple and skipped most of the instructions. All I would say is that when your collection starts to get on the large side then it's time to start organising lists with the function. I've got one for my general area, sub topics with in it, a couple of other area's I'm interested and then lists for those that would be useful for teaching.
2 I think. It seems unbalanced to me if gender is a major factor rather than just a sort of aside to the main aim.
The difference might not be too much but depending on the test (and version of SPSS they use) analysing factors that are unbalanced like that can throw off the accuracy of the data. SPSS sometimes tries to make the numbers equal by averaging them out before it even starts anything else. Which isn't much use.
I tried to lose weight during various points of the Phd. I've never been slim but I really started to notice an increase with all the sitting at a desk and stats snacking!
I initially tried to work in an hour of exercise in a day into my routine. I'd get up use my exercise bike for ~45mins and then fill the other 15 with something else. I tried not so much cutting down on the food but changing it. So I made lots of soup and so on, tried cutting out bread etc. I can't say it had a massive effect though. I felt more toned, I felt fitter but at best I was slightly less bloated. I lost some weight but it didn't take much to put it back on :(
Since I've moved away from Uni though I've been on a diet of sorts. My Dad and his partner are on the slimming world diet and because they're kindly putting me up I've joined in. And so far it's really worked. I've lost at least 2-3 inches off my waist! It took about a month and a half to really notice it though. It sort of crept up on me until I notice some shorts that I'd avoided wearing months ago because they pinched actually needed a new belt because they were falling down of their own accord!
If I ever get a job and move out I think it's something I'll carry on with. I've not been doing my previous exercise routine because the bike's in storage but I'd be interested to see what effect that'll have with the diet.
Sorry to hear about that Moofa :(
What about your mum's supervisors? Can they get involved and lobby on her behalf? I imagine they, and the department, would be eager for her to continue without this getting in the way considering how close she is to finishing.
Milly_Cat, I'd recommend using Mendeley or a program like it. I've only started using it the past few months but I wish I had known about it earlier. It really does make organising and note taking easier, and all without drowning in a sea of print offs as well.
I basically download all my papers into one folder, the program scans the folder and then adds them all to the program. From there I can organise the papers into different groups, for example I could have a collection of papers that look at theory X, one for those looking at Y, and a folder for those comparing the two. The same paper could potentially be in each one so I don't miss it later on.
Which might be useful for you. You could have papers organised into methods, lit review etc.
It also lets you highlight and add notes directly onto the papers. So if you find a quote you might need later just highlight it and move on, and it'll save some searching later. I tend to add post it notes to the paper as well at key area's as I read through, summarising findings etc. So if I need to come back to it later I can speed things up by just checking out my summaries.
Before hand I'd collect all my papers into individual folders by topic or I'd alphabetise them by first author. It was very clunky but I managed. From there I'd write summaries of the papers as I read them and added them to one big word document for certain topics. I had a reference list of all the citations as well that I colour coded.
I think posters might be more useful for the Sciences because there's more in the way of results to show. Graphs, designs, materials etc can all be used to create quite a visually striking poster that's easy on the amount of text you have to read to get an idea of what's been going on.
For the Arts though I imagine there are only specific area's that could manage a similar effect (I could be very wrong though). It'd be difficult I think for many topics to steer away from being a 'wall of text' and make an effective poster.
The idea that Sciences prefer posters to peer review is silly though. I've found posters to usually be a means of showing off research that has just begun or hasn't been published yet. It's not instead of peer review it's just in place of it in the interim. And like you say they play a crucial part in the research process. They show others what you're working on, what you've found and actually the grilling you get from viewers can be pretty rigorous in itself! You can get all sorts of criticisms and suggestions that you can use to improve the research. It's a very effect two-way form of communication.
The end part feels like the hardest to me. In terms of the content and the writing. I actually found it easier to do my final discussion chapter before I went through and drafted the others again because then I knew what sort of target and tone I was aiming for with the rest.
The actual prep and formating I've found really satisfying, because any progress you make is really apparent, and you're still working on your thesis but not working *directly* on your thesis. I've been using LyX so once you've worked out how to use it (maybe 30 mins of going through a tutorial) it's actually really quick. I had everything on word before, a seperate .doc for each chapter but I think using word to compile it all into one consistently formatted document would have been a chore. With LyX I had a full, rather beautiful and almost 'real' looking pdf of the thesis in a couple of days. It would depend on how many graphs, figures, formulae etc you had to add though.
I'd definately get in touch with him. You don't want it to drag on any longer than it has to.
Have to say I'm suprised you don't already know who are, or who are likely to be, your examiners. I've not submitted yet but I've already had approval for my external examiner given. And that's the one you really need sorting out first I think.
Maybe email them with a list of potential exmainers, external and internal, to see if it jogs them along?
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