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profkmorrell
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 at 12:00pm
Friday, 13 July 2018 at 5:54pm
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Thread: PhD stipend and student loan repayments

posted
13-Jul-18, 18:17
edited about 6 seconds later
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posted about 2 days ago
pm133 is right that stipends are not taxable income, there is an earlier thread on this in the forum where someone seemed in the same situation as you - if you put this phrase in the keywords "recently received a letter from SLC" it should show up. If still in doubt I would suggest contacting HMRC directly

Thread: PhD fellow vs PhD candidate

posted
10-Jul-18, 12:29
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posted about 5 days ago
"Fellow" is a title granted by an institution (I've had both ESRC & British Academy Fellowships). I would not advise self-awarding that title - very likely to get rumbled. If negotiating access, marketing your services, or speaking some people prefer to say "Doctoral" instead of "PhD" and "Researcher" instead of "Student". But many people will consider PhD study prestigious in itself.

Thread: General advice - first year upgrade

posted
09-Jul-18, 19:59
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posted about 6 days ago
Hello - one tip could be to think about structuring what you have done so far using this 7 step method for writing an abstract (you can skip the first minute) hopefully it's ok to post this YT URL - if not I'll take it down of course https://youtu.be/6r6mtFw9RWM please let me know if it helps you thanks

Thread: Dropping out of PhD - what's next?

posted
07-Jul-18, 09:21
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posted about 1 week ago
In terms of procrastinating, one suggestion might be to avoid using this general label and instead try to think more specifically about what is happening at particular times with particular tasks in relation to particular goals.

We can tell ourselves the reason we didn't do something is "because" we were procrastinating. But this is a bit of a trick we are playing on ourselves. There isn't really a because - this term doesn't help to explain anything or give us any insight. All we are doing is using a very generic label to justify to ourselves why we have less than desirable outcomes. The problem is this label becomes "the reason" we haven't done what we wanted to. It then becomes a stick we beat ourselves with making everything feel worse.

It can help if you make your goals more specific. This is helped by planning at the start of the day what you want to accomplish. Often what people do is say to themselves something like "I'm going to spend today on my literature review". That can work but it often isn't sustainable because it's too big a task and it's not a realisable goal in a day. If you break your project into smaller tasks and goals that can be helpful.

Another consideration is the nature of the task. Some tasks require high skill and are highly challenging, it might be you are the kind of person who needs to "warm up" before taking these on. Or you could be the kind of person who needs to do these first while you have most energy. If you have more specific goals (e.g. find 20 relevant articles / read 5 articles / write 600 words on a topic / learn more about the aims and scope of 5 journals / work out how many words needed in each section of my project) you can schedule tasks in ways that suit you. Tick them off when done as it feels good. That can also help build momentum - if you exceed your day's goals then great.

Thread: Dropping out of PhD - what's next?

posted
06-Jul-18, 14:48
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posted about 1 week ago
It's great you are getting help. Thanks for the feedback, I'll try to add more.

Often in my view the 2nd year can be the hardest. It's difficult to generalise but often the first year is all new and a bit more structured so it can go by fairly quickly (also you have an end of year exam to concentrate on). By the time you are in the later stages 3rd/4th year you have a block of work behind you and can feel the pressure of deadlines coming up so it is still anxious but drives focus. It's hard to generalise but the 2nd year can feel like drifting which is a different kind of anxiety and often more uncomfortable for some.

When you say you can tell from their facial expression... it is perhaps better to get clarity and I would suggest be quite direct about your concerns - it's your life so don't rely on mindreading. It's their job to help you and it's in their interests too. You can do this in a way that manages your image still - ie you don't want to give the impression you really want to stop.

If you were doing well initially you definitely have the ability and the question seems partly about motivation. One positive thing you should be able to do with a PhD is steer and shape it in the direction of things that give you interest. For instance, if you are really keen to talk to some people you could look at bringing in that kind of data source. If you like reading and secondary data sources you can steer things that way.

Another positive on procrastination this might sound a bit crazy but the best general suggestion I can offer is really work hard on your morning routine. If you get the first hour right it helps so much. And also start this the night before writing a 2-3 minute plan for the day. Again I can try and say more just let me know :)

Thread: Dropping out of PhD - what's next?

posted
06-Jul-18, 13:23
edited about 27 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
It's difficult without knowing more about your situation but my experience has been that most people who do a PhD think of quitting at some stage. They also do tend to find it very isolating. Doing a PhD especially in the social sciences or humanities is almost like becoming a monk. It does sound like you have been struggling for some time with this, I feel for you. If you really think other kinds of work would be very dissatisfying then it may be worth persevering with your PhD because you will have greater autonomy in academic study than in many occupations. One of the things about an academic career (assuming you could have one) is that there is a lot of potential variety - teaching, research, administration - more accurately there are several kinds of academic career open to you. However based on what you say, it may be worth seeing if you can seek some counselling because you do sound low. One thing I would say is that it isn't necessarily your routines that are the place to look for a solution, it might be more fundamentally that you have some fixed ideas about what success looks like and these could be at the root of some dissatisfaction. Often when people are deeply dissatisfied there is a lurking "should" belief. One thing you haven't mentioned (I think) is what your current supervisory team thinks about your progress and prospects. If they have a lot of faith and confidence in you that is certainly a factor to consider. One think you could consider is asking for a suspension of studies (the terminology varies at different institutions but there's usually an option to take a complete break usually for pastoral reasons). I don't think necessarily that a week or two off is going to help you solve the question. Happy to try to offer more thoughts if that's helpful.

Thread: PhD Upgrade Viva Presentation

posted
30-Jun-18, 18:19
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posted about 2 weeks ago
In my area what a panel want to see basically is whether you are on course to complete ... or more specifically: evidence that you have done some work, evidence you have a good handle on the literature, they will want you to have or nearly have a well defined topic and research questions, a good account of methods and data, an idea about likely contribution, identification of potential barriers or risks (like access issues or whether you have the required skills in methods). They will want an idea of timings too. Good luck.

Thread: “you'll be well looked after there”

posted
29-Jun-18, 23:16
edited about 21 seconds later
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posted about 2 weeks ago
As a UK academic I would unquestionably see this as a very good sentiment to express. In fact she sounds lovely. Unfortunately not everywhere does look after students well. Even someone who is fond of euphemism would not use it in this context because it is such a significant milestone - congratulations to you. She is clearly very happy for you and proud. It is a shame that you are doubtful of such praise and encouragement, it might be worth thinking about why you doubt this because you are going to get far more ambiguous signals than this in academia. You're clearly very talented. If I may make a suggestion - please don't take this the wrong way it's meant to be helpful - it may help you to read up on Impostor Syndrome. Don't let this get in your way... congratulations again!!!

Thread: originality in the social sciences or humanities

posted
28-Jun-18, 18:38
edited about 6 seconds later
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posted about 2 weeks ago
What you do is build on other people's work in a rigorous, precise way - you have to do this or else how are you adding to the existing state of knowledge? If no-one has done anything like what you're studying before then maybe it's not such a great idea! Of course what you do has to be your own work and it is original and new in that sense, but one common problem is overestimating what 'counts' as a contribution to knowledge. Precisely what that means for you and for your PhD is something you need to work on with your supervisor.

Thread: Tips for an excellent confirmation report and presentation

posted
23-Jun-18, 16:29
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Hello Jane - as you've asked about format, you might find some of this short video useful (from about 1.20), I have just launched it to promote a new book. If you have a clear abstract that can really help because it imposes clarity and communicates purpose. Good luck :)

Thread: How do I bulk up my CV for the next round of PhD applications?

posted
21-Jun-18, 18:05
edited about 5 seconds later
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Would agree with Tru - one other thing you could do (I guess) would be to work on a personal statement that either goes in a cover letter, or is an opening paragraph or two of text at the beginning of your CV. In that, show that you understand and follow the research of the people in the department whom you would want to be supervised by. Rather than applying to a dozen places with the same approach it could be better to target 2 or 3 carefully. Also, many institutions would not consider someone with a 2.2 for a PhD so perhaps you could have a good explanation for why you did well in your M-Level but not at UG. The final suggestion would be to see if you can somehow initiate a conversation with faculty before you apply. At worst that could save you time applying to somewhere that would reject you or did not have opportunities.

Thread: First-year PhD upgrade advice

posted
20-Jun-18, 23:16
edited about 27 seconds later
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi Larennaise - not sure what your system is there exactly and it varies from institution to institution, but speaking from my perspective as someone who examines these and where we have a mini-viva, you are unlikely to be back to square one. What you will have done will have shown at the very least potential (and most likely, a lot more than that). Having said this a 3 year funding window is quite a challenge in many systems. It would be as well to plan ahead for the funding side of things as well as consider the various changes you make. You do not want to come unstuck without a source of funding. One piece of advice I would offer is that when talking about the mini viva to your supervisor(s) you should sound very positive about the process (without minimising the idea that it would involve a lot of work and was critical). This will communicate to your supervisor that you are serious and have listened & learned, it will also make it easier for you to argue down the line that you responded to their comments constructively. Part of how well you do is inevitably going to be about the impression you create with your supervisor. One other thing would be to listen out very carefully to your supervisor's impressions of the mini-viva, hope that helps/

Thread: New inexpensive ebook: Finish Your Thesis or Dissertation! Tips & Hacks for Success

posted
20-Jun-18, 12:19
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Hello!

This is to share some news with you - about my exciting new ebook which can help you if you are doing a Dissertation or Thesis.

It was published this month and is available on: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DH96LFT

It takes a new and unconventional approach to help people finish in a time effective way. As well as the usual tips on WHAT to do, this book covers the (just as crucial) part which is HOW you work.

I have published several books and chose to write this as an ebook to be able to offer it at a much lower price than publishers would (you can actually get it completely free if you take out a trial with kindle unlimited and then cancel the trial).

Writing an ebook also meant being able to focus just on your needs. It allowed complete control over the content, so this builds in 15 years of tips and hacks that have proven to be effective and help people with their Postgraduate projects. As a full-time academic over that time I've been a Director of Doctoral Programmes at two Universities and supervised hundreds of projects.

You could also benefit from a series of free YouTube videos from the ebook to help people, below is advice on choosing a topic, more in the series are available and coming soon
It would be great to hear from people this helps and thanks to the forum administrators for advising me it was ok to share this with you.

Kevin
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