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Pjlu
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 at 8:10pm
Monday, 29 January 2018 at 7:37pm
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Thread: PhD or return to employment - need help in working through thought process

posted
01-Nov-17, 07:11
edited about 20 seconds later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Quote From marigold:
Thanks a lot for your very sage advice Pjlu. You have clear insight where I have none! I think I will, for now, continue with the PhD - unless I fail the next end-of year review and the decision to leave is made for me -whilst keeping my ear to the ground re. jobs. During this period, my motivation to continue will either grow or diminish....and there will be my answer. Thanks. And huge congrats on your PhD achievement. Part time whilst working....hey, you definitely did it the tough way:)


Thanks Marigold. That is a really nice thing to say. I am still waiting on examiner's reports and these will involve corrections, of that I have no doubt, but fingers crossed they are only minor. I think that you have a great deal of insight. However given your situation, there are many competing issues swirling around and when you are in the middle of them, it can be hard to determine priorities. Best wishes, P.

Thread: How long did you wait after R&R/Major Corrections?

posted
01-Nov-17, 06:21
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Congratulations! Must be a big relief. Well done on achieving your PhD and completing the process of corrections and waiting. Hope you have a great celebration. Btw, did you manage to get in time for the graduation or do you have to go into the next round?

Thread: Getting started tips?

posted
30-Oct-17, 11:45
edited about 3 minutes later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
When I first put my proposal in, it was based on an extension of my Master's thesis. After about 2 months of vague reading, I realised I had 'finished' with my Masters thesis, even if there were potentially a few fields to mine yet. I went back into my supervisor (we had meetings every 8 weeks-was part time student) on my second meeting, so it was two months or so since I had first met her and begun the thing and said, "I don't think I can bear to do the topic I proposed but I am really interested in this other area instead-what do you think?". We had a conversation and she asked a couple of questions and then suddenly it was there-the broad question and we both went "oh, that's it" and that broad question, that came out of a rambling conversation, after reading about other matters entirely (but still in the same general area) became the basis of the now completed thesis.

While parts of the thesis journey are very much a logical or empirical process, especially the methods, other parts seem to just come after a great deal of reading, thinking and sort of following vague hunches. Small chunks definitely help you progress and also to manage the anxiety of not seeming to do a lot at times and so do lists that you tick off-provided you actually do follow them.

The thesis seems to work in peaks and troughs...sometimes you are just working round the clock and other times drifting along seemingly doing very little and getting frustrated with yourself, your supervisors and the whole process. I think quite a few of us go through this process; its not unusual. It can be a real pig to go through though ( apologies to all members of the pig species out there-just a figure of speech-pigs are awesome animals and so too is the Phd).

Thread: PhD or return to employment - need help in working through thought process

posted
29-Oct-17, 11:42
edited about 2 minutes later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Marigold, even though you might not want an academic career, would completing the PhD give you further opportunities and experience in the lab? Is it really an either/or situation? You sounded like you were passionate about learning about this particular topic and skill and knowledge set when describing it in your post.

I understand really well that having an income and a relatively stable home is important though and how one's age can have an impact on your life choices as well.

If working on this PhD for the next 3 years will jeopardise your chances of security with no definite outcome or reward, then walking away now might be appropriate. If though, the three years are unlikely to place future lab work at risk and the study currently provides you with a regular (albeit modest) income and further research experience and opportunities, completing it might be worthwhile. Not everyone works 24/7 on their PhD when a full time student. Many full time candidates work weeks that are more in line with a 40-50 hour working week and regularly take time out on weekends and some evenings.

I have almost completed my PhD, just waiting on reports (and what corrections are recommended). I completed it part time while working and it was tough. My age now is a little older than you will be on completion. I do not think that I will now have an academic career from my doctorate. However, I do think that it will enhance my capacity, experiences and expertise in the work I do do. So I am glad I have pretty much completed it now-though there were many moments when I wanted to walk away.

It's a complex decision you are making with no real right or wrong answer, so it's understandable why making a decision is so difficult and circular in process. Why don't you stay with the PhD at least while you apply for industry jobs. If you get a job that appeals and you really want to take it, then you will know what it is you want.

Thread: Accountability buddies - studying/working from home

posted
27-Oct-17, 20:06
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Do you think re-ordering your daily priorities, so that writing is first, and placing emails last might make a difference to your productivity?

I found that making writing the first priority really assisted with productivity. I won't be a regular buddy who posts on this thread as I'm really almost done and just waiting results, but I did use this forum for similar purposes over the long journey, and for the community and alternative perspective it provided at times, and it has been really helpful. I wish the same for you. Best wishes, P.

Thread: Getting started tips?

posted
27-Oct-17, 14:49
edited about 25 seconds later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
You are reading with a purpose. While it may initially seem like you are reading a range of material that is quite broad and diffuse in relation to your general topic, you are essentially surveying the field and ascertaining where there are gaps and where these gaps may feed your into your curiosity and potentially help frame your research questions. It is a very difficult task you are undertaking even though you may feel you are just bumbling along and not doing much.

The other thing of course is that, once you do sniff the elusive gap and start honing in on your question, you rarely get the same opportunity to read so broadly as you have to narrow down your focus into the specific topic-going from macro into micro. So, while it seems a bit ironic, try to savour this part as it soon passes and there is a point on the horizon that will be upon you soon, whereby your reading will be notably focused and quite narrow in range. Best luck and best wishes, P.

Thread: Is a supervisor who takes more than a year to examine your manuscript a good supervisor?

posted
26-Oct-17, 21:08
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
As Chickpea wrote, it is a really long time if this reading is something that is part of an essential PhD check or review. Past behaviour can be a relatively reliable indicator of future behaviour, although not not foolproof as people can and do change their behaviour and habits.

Is this a decision you need to make now? I ask this as I wonder whether you might wish to make this decision closer to submission time. If your supervisor's tardiness delays your submission date in any significant way, you may really wish to have a different postdoc supervisor. (Plus sometimes it is nice to work with a new person, irrespective of how well you get along with your current person. Just provides a different experience and perspective, rather than more of the same).

Best wishes with your decision and your project.

Thread: Depression, PhD, being a wife...

posted
23-Oct-17, 20:59
edited about 15 seconds later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi Statictraveller, I think the PhD journey is a tough one. The list of to-do's can seem overwhelming. Most of us take these one little step at a time, (rather than looking at the whole looming mountain ahead) and this helps. Miraculously, the small steps build over the years into a PhD. However, many of us would go 'over time' or have extensions or leave periods at times to help manage the workload and the stress build up. Are you comfortable enough with any of your supervisors to have a chat about your feelings over managing your current work load?

I'm thinking from reading your post, that your concerns regarding your partner's mental health and your own responsibilities as his wife are also part of your current stress load as well.

My advice would be to seek help from a counsellor, psychologist, support group and/or your GP around your depression and current feelings of stress and low mood. In doing so, you will be given emotional support and will also get the space to explore your feelings about where your responsibilities lie and what realistic support you can provide your partner. Perhaps your partner has what would be classified as a mental health illness or perhaps he is struggling due to current environmental issues (substance use or toxic workplace culture) and/or life circumstances or previous trauma ( a medical or mental health professional can usually distinguish between these).

However, before you support your partner you need to be able to ensure your own needs are met-both in terms of emotional support and with regard to your PhD. I would encourage you to seek support for yourself and not to feel guilty about doing this. Going to a GP and explaining your low mood and some of the difficulties you are experiencing could be very helpful as a first step. Please consider this, as your wellbeing is important. Kind regards, P.

Thread: please can any one fill my survey ( its urgent ) its my final project survey

posted
23-Oct-17, 07:20
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Completed earlier-best of luck with it.

Thread: Second supervisor pressure

posted
20-Oct-17, 22:29
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Universities have fairly strict guidelines about processes-and while the thesis tends to follow it's own organic and meandering pathway in our own lives, it is still subject to the universities guidelines and processes and timelines externally.

If your second supervisor were reading this, maybe she would be fine with giving you a day or two beyond the week to make a decision, but as ToL has pointed out, the admin time around switching universities and supervisors is going to take probably some time to process. Hence her strong encouragement to make a decision and then act.

If you need time out (or need to take much longer to make a decision) for stress related purposes, again, your supervisor's position may be that you might need to request time out by taking a short period of leave. (I'm not recommending this necessarily...just thinking about how these processes often work at the admin end of things. In my day job I work in a secondary school and we have very similar processes around managing our senior students and their assignments and examinations in their final years.)

Morally, no your supervisor can't force you to make a decision. However, with regard to managing scholarships and other matters, she would be remiss if she did not make you aware of how things might pan out if you procrastinate with this decision at this point of your PhD.

It's a really tough decision-make no mistake- and you do need to consider it carefully and are right to do so. However, I think giving you a time frame to make this decision is probably not a bad idea. If you talk to her and say you need a few days longer, I am sure she would be fine. In my opinion though, it is a decision you might need to make within a few days of her deadline. Best of luck with it.

Thread: Submit PhD Thesis without supervisor approval

posted
20-Oct-17, 21:19
edited about 1 minute later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
I also think that the regulations are that supervisors sign off on the thesis before submission.

At my university both supervisors signed off, and then I found that the Head of School (or their stand-in as No 2 sup was the head of school) also looked at it and signed off before it was accepted for examination and sent to the examiners by the research admin staff. There is a rigorous process around submitting the thesis. The faculty and supervisors want to maximise both your chances of receiving a good result and for this to reflect well on the university and on their supervisory experience.

What does your supervisor say about going over this deadline?

Often the deadline is financial-as in if you are being financed or receive some form of benefit (even if it is just access to resources, such as the library, office space and photocopier), these entitlements are subject to the deadline or extension deadline. However, it is usually still possible to submit the thesis after the deadline without academic penalty, just not to receive an extension on these entitlements or resources.

How comfortable are you with raising the issue of deadlines and submission with your supervisor and discussing your concerns?

Best wishes during this time; it's can be very challenging and frustrating I found, P

Thread: PhD interview

posted
19-Oct-17, 20:28
by Pjlu
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 2 years ago
Sorry to hear about the disappointing interview Nige. I'm wondering whether your proposal needs further references to the literature of the field. For example:
@Has your proposal identified a bit of a gap in the research and provided a justification as to why this topic is worth exploring?
@Have you included references to the research out there that back your claim or proposal?
@Have you identified your major players?(The handful of experts in this area whose work has a strong influence on your field).
@Have you included information about the methodology you propose to use? (Again, not in detail but just given some indication as to the type of methods you are interested in and matched these to the type of questions you are asking).

Good luck with it all, P.

Thread: PhD pass with Major corrections! :-( ....

posted
19-Oct-17, 07:36
edited about 21 seconds later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi Newlease-I just put some things together in a pm-it includes a couple of references to journal articles as well. Back to you Jamie :)

Thread: PhD pass with Major corrections! :-( ....

posted
18-Oct-17, 21:35
edited about 2 minutes later
by Pjlu
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posted about 2 years ago
Hi Jamie, I've been reading some material on how academic examiners award PhD's, including reading a fair few guidelines for examination published by universities themselves (for examiners and for students) and a couple of things stood out to me.

The majority of the guidelines reiterated that almost all examined PhDs will receive a minor or major or R & R amendments recommendation. Very uncommon to rare to receive no amendments and equally very rare to be awarded no PhD or a lower award. So the guidelines tended to reassure candidates that receiving any of three results from minor, major or R & R, was okay and most of us would fall in these categories. And that pretty much all candidates on working through and submitting the recommended changes, would then receive their PhD almost without exception.

The second point was that a couple of universities stated that if examiners disagreed on the category, the university always went with the lower category. So if one examiner was adamant that the lower category was needed, then that is the way the university would go-no matter that other examiners believed a higher category was more accurate.

I understand why you would be anxious and worried and disappointed but I don't think your PhD is in any form of jeopardy. It is going to be a little delayed though. This is very usual from my understanding and most of us go through a version of this, so I don't think it will impact on your employment. They will also be used to this process. Best wishes though and hope there are some things you can do to help get through this next stage without too much anxiety.

Thread: Should I quit the PhD

posted
17-Oct-17, 12:34
edited about 18 seconds later
by Pjlu
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 2 years ago
Is your supervisor referring specifically to your writing in your chapter drafts? When we first start writing up our data, we can stay in the reporting mode (being descriptive of the data and the literature) rather than going that next step and critically engaging with the impact our data has on the literature and current thinking regarding the problem/issue we have chosen to research.

I think this is a fairly common problem and it might be that your supervisor is not telling you that you are 'not phd material' but instead encouraging or pushing you to engage more critically with the data and the literature in your writing up. You can do this (if this is the issue). Look at the impacts of your findings...what is this saying about the problem or issue? How does this fit in with what the literature says? Are there any implications for practice, policy, or how we view or understand X or Y? (Not sure if this helps but best of luck).
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