Overview of Pepps

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Am I behind schedule?

I would agree with the post below. I am a sociology PhD student. Just finishing up now and within my 3 years. At the beginning of my third year and in fact until about 4 months ago I was still analysing my interview data.
I think that collection, analysis and write up are very closely intertwined processes in social sciences so when writing up you are constantly referring back to your original data and refining your analysis and thoughts etc.

But anyway - no point worrying about it as it's not constructive. Best just to get on with it. (this is coming from someone who has spent many un constructive hours stressing about looming deadlines!! :)

Postdoc applications

Hi sleepyhead,
Having recently gone through the ESRC post doc route I advise you to pick the mentor who has a good reputation - as your application is partly judged on that plus the degree of 'fit' between your work and their experience. Plus go for the one who will be able to give a bit of time to it as they have to write a good mentors statement and check your application form. Oh and if you get rejected you can only reapply if your application is substantially changed - which I think basically means no!
It is a lengthy process. Writing the actual application form takes time and also chasing everything up such as mentor statements, head of department statements, costings etc. But good practice for real life research I guess.
Definitely worth going for though! Good luck with it!

Is it possible to finish writing and field work in 14 months

That's a bit of a subjective question and depends on so many things e.g. how productive you are each day, how long certain tasks take you etc etc.

I suggest that you start by working out exactly what tasks you have to do to complete and break down into manageable chunks and then just work through each day. It might be that some days you achieve a lot and other days you don't.

Is it possible to finish writing and field work in 14 months

Anything is possible. People naturally work at different speeds and encounter different problems along the way. I know someone who did a qualitative PhD and did data collection and write up in 8 months and passed with no corrections. I know that this is highly unusual but does show you that things are achievable if you put your mind to it!

Transcribing interviews - it takes ages!

Hi timefortea,

I had about 40 hours of audio to transcribe. When I started it took me on average 4 hours of typing per hour of audio. Then I got a foot pedal from my department and that sped me up to 3 hours of typing per hour of audio! Whoop!!! Definitely worth getting one if you haven't already.
But bottom line is it takes forever. My right shoulder will never be the same again after suffering repetitive strain injury induced by transcribing!!!

Publishing & PhD - Query

I recently asked my supervisor (who is the head of my department) about the issue of self plagerism i.e. if I publish an article which is basically copied and pasted from a chapter of my thesis is this self plagerism? And he laughed at me like i was insane!
He said that he had never heard of such a thing and that it is fine to publish as it is my work. So I am taking that green light and am publishing a paper that is taken from one of my findings chapters.
If it all goes horribly wrong I will blame him!

Telephone Interviews Anyone?

Hi there,
I have done about 25 telephone interviews now for my research. I have also done face to face interviews. So a mixture of the two depending on what the participant prefers and how easy it is to get to them.
I actually find telephone interviews very good. I use a digital recorder that hooks up to the telephone. The data is then transferred to the computer into a program called PCmemo scribe which I then use to transcribe my interviews.
Both face to face and telephone interviews have pros and cons. Some people actually prefer telephone interviews and can be more open with me as there is a greater degree of anonymity. However they can be difficult in terms of reading people and knowing when natura pauses have occurred.
I say go for it though and make sure you do a test of the equipment before the first interview as I didn't and my first 4 didn't record! Doh!

Student Mortgages - advice and pointers please

I managed to get a mortgage last year with Sottish widows. They took my studentship into account but I had to provide supporting evidence about what I would do after the PhD etc.
Don't know whether they will still give these out what with the credit crunch. I went through an independant mortgage advisor anthey were great at finding the best deals.
Good luck

2 questions about PhD

I've had a part time job throughout my PhD. I'm in my third year now (it's a social science PhD). Personally I think it's been beneficial to have something that is a total break away from the PhD each week. Yes it eats into my study time but it also means that I am much more focussed and productive during my study time as I know that it is limited.
Plus the extra money helps!

Does anyone have experience on using Grounded Theory?

I am using the principles of grounded theory analysis for my research, although not a full grounded theory approach. I am finding this way of analysing my data, whilst EXTREMELY time consuming, means that each line has been covered and conclusions are not jumped to.
As for how difficult it is to categorise the data, it's just as difficult as any method of qual analysis.

Advice needed on how to manage a bursary!

I get the same and find it a real struggle. 1k a month goes no where towards mortgage, cost of living, etc...
I do a bit of part time work in between. Find that it is quite a nice relief to do something a bit different to the PhD each week.
It is hard though.
I never thought i would be excited about getting a full time job and a salary at the end of this!

Holiday, anyone? [filling to comply with the rules of the forum which require more than three but less than 25 words in the Topic Title

Is that true that most supervisors don't like you to go on holiday?
I must have quite lenient ones then because they are always telling me to go on holiday and take breaks.
They also get cross with me if i say I have been working weekends, telling me to treat it like a 9-5 job instead. That works most of the time except when I can't get my brain into gear and then the 9-5 goes out the window.

Advice needed on how to manage a bursary!

Not sure what type of bursary you have applied for but for the ESRC bursary you don't get it in one lump sum. It is paid directly into your bank account every 3 months.
I tend to move it into an ING account as they have high interest rates and you can access it whenever you want. I do this then give myself a third of it each month to get me by. Plus temping work too to top it up.

Data collection - Interviews

I think I will have about 50 at between 1 to 2 hours each. Plus onbservations over 8 month period.
It does depend on your topic. Some people in my department have done 70 interviews, other have done 15. It depends what you do with them after.
I think your supervisor is the best person to guide you on this.

stress of a PhD - is it normal to feel like this?

Welcome to the rollercoster that is doing a PhD. My emotions have been all over the place and I always thought I was such a stable person!
I think the pressure comes from the fact that it's a personal project, with little peer support and you are putting yourself out there for exposure and criticism.
I am 2 years in. At the moment I feel okay. Extremely stressed but coping - just.
But before I started my PhD I was doing an extremely dull job where some days there would be nothing to do, so I just keep reminding myself of how soul destroying having nothing to do is. And then I feel grateful for where I am now.
It's natural. You'll have good and bad days/weeks/months.
But fingers crossed it will be worth it in the end!