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How many experiments should you aim to complete?

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.

Mendeley tips?

File-> Watch Folder

And then you should be able to choose which folders it automatically checks :)

Final Discussion Chapter - How to construct this

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.

Mendeley tips?

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.

Would this be an unbalanced design?

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.

Weight! How to lose weight gained during phd.

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.

Supervisor saying "give up"

Quote From jojo:

The thing is I am in a really good job which I enjoy and have realised I no longer even need the PhD as I do not want to work in academia. Maybe I should just "give up"?

I worry for you because of your attitude shown above. it's probably this same thing that makes your supervisor say you should give up.

Jojo, I worry you've got the wrong end of the stick. When I read what Pamela has written I get the impression this 'Maybe I should just 'give up'' comes after the knock from the supervisor, not before. It's an effect not the cause.  If attitude was the problem then I doubt Pamela would have gotten to the 4th year and writing upstage, and that they'd disagree with their supervisor so. That fact that someone's contemplating stopping a PhD under such circumstances isn't really the sign of a bad attitude or work ethic. I dunno', maybe I'm wrong.

Pamelaspage, I can only echo what some of the others have said really. Keep going. You've gotten this far and you're right based on what you've said to expect to be finished writing up by 2014, even part time. Try and find out why your supervisor thinks you should give up and if there's any way to address it then do. Otherwise keep going. It's your PhD and your work.

PhD Funding

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.

Organising your material

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.

Posters for scientists

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.

5 chapters done, last 2 to do but what a slog!

Quote From dunni73:

Thank you Peljam, I have asked my supervisor about using the LyX software for the thesis or if the uni suggests any others!  I have alot of graphs to add in but may do them on a separate page after the text so the examiners do not have to flick through to the back of the thesis. I think the 'wrap-around' text option may get very awkward to do in Word with so many to add lol.  I also have each chapter written in a Word doc so have been slotting them into the large thesis word doc once I have addressed feedback comments. I am looking forward to the editing stage as at least it is almost done by then, and am glad to hear that it doesn't progress as slowly as I had imagined.  Did you used the LyX software for a science/experiment based thesis?

Thanks again!

Yeah mine is science/experiment based (though some would disagree :P ). It's experimental psychology. I've got just over 50 figures in it, including graphs, and about 15 tables. It handles them all fine. It tries to automatically put them in the most sensible place it can so that it doesn't end up breaking up paragraphs or putting figure 1.1 in chapter 2, and that sort of thing.

If you suddenly take a figure out as well it then automatically renumbers the rest.

2 decimal places

I think so. It's used often enough for p values so correlations should be okay too I think.

5 chapters done, last 2 to do but what a slog!

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.

2 decimal places

I'm with Algaequeen. <.01 is what I use.

No info on examiners two weeks post submission or viva date

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?