Signup date: 21 Jun 2010 at 3:01pm
Last login: 23 Dec 2010 at 1:21pm
Post count: 50
I submitted on Friday too! Well done! I am hoping for relief to follow the Viva, but for the moment feel quite delighted that I dont have to think about it anymore. I was getting really bored with it and falling behind on my other work. To be able to actually do my job and work is a novelty for me! and goodbye to the 12 hour workathons and the no weekend weekends! How/when are you going to prepare for your Viva?
I am in the same position as you and am doing my final corrections on my final draft, which I received back from my supervisors with the green light to submit last week. I also started a new teaching job and postdoc last week so to say that I am on edge is an understatement. So... The three month thing at my university is a formal requirement. You have to submit an examination entry form to the exams office so that they can put in place your examiners. You can take more than three months to submit if you need to, but you cannot submit sooner than three months so you should ask your supervisors about this if it is the same at your uni. I can tell you that I thought I had finished three months ago, but having had that time to re-read, re-think, consult with others etc, I am still amending now, and I intend to submit at the end of October, so if you do have to wait the whole three months I am sure they will come in handy.
How do you know if it is ready? I have no idea. I have lost all sense of perspective with this now so I am just going to hit and hope. My supervisors said it was ready, so I am just going to trust them. If I carry on any longer, I may well implode. If anyone else knows how you know it is ready then I hope they enlighten us because I have no idea.
jobs... well... Like I said I have just started mine and I was applying for RA posts where a PhD was not an essential requirement so that meant that the level of experience of research they expected to have was less. I also say yes to everything; teaching, conferences, writing research bids, book reviews etc etc in the hope that by always being seen to be keen I get myself known and people will offer me things as well as giving me the chance to gain experience (I was able to draw on experience of organising and writing research bids, for instance, a lot in my last interview and I got the job, I would not have had that experience had I not agreed to work 12 hours a day for two months doing them).
It is really hard work but it is the academic cross we bear! Keep ploughing on and speak to your supervisor ASAP about submission, You will feel better once it is all cleared up.
Thanks both of you! I have just come back after a gruelling two hours and reckon that the health warning went OK. I used the university student support services website on my references so people could go there. Will definitely check out that special issue, as I am sure there are other ways of doing it too. Many thanks for your help.
tomorrow I start teaching on a module called criminology and its controversies. It is a first year module (and I have sought and received advice about it here before!) I am a bit concerned because the subject matter necessarily requires consideration and discussion of sensitive topics, sexual assault, violence, infant deaths, homophobia etc (and that is just lecture 1!) and I want to start the lecture by telling the students that there may be discussion of some topics that they might find stressful or upsetting in the course of the module, but that it is fine, and we will all be respectful of each other and if they want to leave they can etc etc. does anyone have any ideas about how to handle such a 'health warning'? I don't want to scare them off, but equally I think it is irresponsible to march in a talk about difficult issues unprefaced. Anybody got any similar experience/ideas??
I have been away from the forum for a bit actually grappling with my theoretical framework. Yes Sneaks what you have said is basically a theoretical framework; an analysis of the range of approaches to the project - the epistemology - that you have adopted in order to help you to achieve your research aims. It can be whatever approach you used, so mine is a feminist deconstructionist, intersubjectivist framework, because I am analysing emotion in the humanities/social sciences (put very simply). I love theoretical frameworks and would swap writing methodology chapters for writing theoretical frameworks any time!
I think that the length/breadth/depth and content really vary from discipline to discipline. so see what your supes advise? the purpose of it is to establish how you thought about your problem, so obviously it will be different for everybody. enjoy!
Thanks for all your messages. and for some really great ideas purplecat. I think that using the bits of paper is a really good way of achieving what I was trying to do with the text messages, but without the risk of my number being mis-used. Without having a dedicated work phone, I think that idea is unworkable, and as you have all identified, a bit problematic.
Thanks again, its been very helpful to get your feedback. I will go ahead with the film/video in the break and during that time they will be able to drop bits of paper in to me if they need to..
This is the first thread I have composed but I have been lurking in these pages for some time and know how helpful everyone can be, so I hope some of you can help me with this ponderance:
I am going to start teaching a module I have not taught before in a new university to a much larger group of students than I am used to (200ish). The subject matter is something I am OK on and as they are first year students, I am confident that content-wise I will be able to meet their needs. BUT the lecture is 2 hours long followed by a one hour seminar. I am going to need to schedule a break obviously. Is 15 mins long enough? Or should it be longer/shorter? They will be in the first semester of their first year so I think 2 hours of learning is LOOONG. but am I underestimating them? When I was a first year undergrad I only did 1 hour of lessons, so I am just using my own experience to suggest that 2 hours is long. What do you think?
Anyway, then I was thinking that during this break I would play some film/TV/iplayer thematically related to the lecture, but otherwise completely non-essential to the lesson, to provide a bit of light relief and so that if they dont go and get a cup of tea etc their brains have a full rest. I will have the technology to do this in the room.
And I was thinking that at the beginning of the lecture I would give them my mobile number so that they can text me any questions that arise in the lecture, I can have a look at them and answer them there and then, so if they are too shy to ask a question, they have another means through which to contact me. We used to have a lecturer that did this and we thought it was brill. Obviously it could completely backfire, and they could use the number in ways which it is not intended, so does anyone have any experience of doing this?
Finally, is all this a bit cringingly trying to be 'down with the kids'? Any advice/experience is greatly appreciated!
Thanks for reading... Q x
mmmm tough. Here are my thoughts: I have done a bit of lecturing and seminar-based teaching and I found the latter much easier to do because it was just easier to talk to a small group and you can do more creative group things that mean that you are not talking for a whole hour etc etc so it takes not 'less' time to prepare for necessarily, just that the preparation is a bit easier, if just as time-consuming. Small group exercises are harder to do in a lecture. And if you run out of material then it is a nightmare. As an inexperienced teacher it was taking me 1 week to prepare for 1 class. so it was ALL time-consuming.
BUT because lecturing is a bit more demanding I have always thought it looked better to have experience of than just seminar leading
HOWEVER the informal advice I have received from friends and colleagues is that teaching experience wont really make a difference to getting a job; if you have a good research record and no teaching experience it is better than if you have loads of teaching experience and no research.
So... maybe you could ask the module leaders of the modules you are teaching on if they will give you a one-off lecture for the experience? this is quite common practice in my uni, or, you could explain the heavy workload to the uni which approached you and asked if you can do half that teaching. Maybe you have a friend you can propose to them to share it with?
It does sound like a lot, though it can be done, and you do have some good reasons not to want to do it, so I would go with your instinct. Focus on that teaching you are doing now and try to get some bits and bobs from other places as it is possible.
Good luck with your submission and Viva! argh!
When you approached your gate-keepers did you tell them how their contributions would be used? I have had the exact same problem -asking people their opinions about things only for them to say things which are racist or sexist etc. This is slightly inevitable in a field like mine (sociology) where you are trying to understand an aspect of society as it is. You may like your participants, but that doesnt stop them saying things that you can be critical of. If you want your research to be ethical, you must make sure you have anonymised them correctly and received notice of their informed consent to participate, and then they have given you permission in this way.
I am sure you dont feel good about it, and I know that I dont feel good about saying critical things about my participants but it is somewhat par for the course. My participants have recieved a copy of the interview transcript so I know that they know what they said. Why do you think they will feel betrayed and upset? do you know them personally? Do you have to show them your findings? Also why do you think that you unintentionally gave them the impression that their voice would be represented by the research? Forgive me if I misunderstand, but how can you do qualitative research with participants where their views are not represented? Surely it is about their views and if their views are ones which you are critical of, then you are representing what they are saying but with a critical slant? this, I would have thought, would be fine as long as they were made aware of what the project is at the outset. You need to be true to your research questions and aims, and you cannot do that if you edit out the bad things that participants say. it is tough, but good luck.
I have just read your latest quandary and it really does sound like you are under pressure, what with this and your word count horror. when is your deadline? towards the end of a dissertation things always get fraught. you have to let yourself off the hook at this stage and take pleasure in your small achievements which contribute towards the final product rather than beating yourself up about how much you are/not doing.
It is a shame that you do not have more support from your employer given that your work seems to touch on their work. The problem with extensions is not so much that they reflect badly on the student, I think, because in theory people get extensions because they could not possibly have coped without them due to matters arising outside of their control, but that, it is actually quite hard to get them. In every uni I have ever been a student at it has been difficult to get an extension, and usually would have to be for something major such as sudden death of a close person, severe illness etc etc. If you reckon you need an extension, I would lay the ground work now with your supervisor and test the water.
If you get an extension and subsequently write an amazing piece of work, I doubt that the fact that you had more time to do it would reflect badly on you, especially if it is a matter of weeks not years, and I would be really surprised if a PhD application assessor would even be made aware of this. Good luck!
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Yes sometimes a lot of jobs are internally advertised but not all. I am working in a uni where I did not study, in a job that was externally advertised, before that, I worked in one where I did study and this job was internally advertised. Having a quick look on *edited by mods* and putting 'part time london' in the search engine, then searching for jobs under £30, 000 you get 44 returns including quite a few admin jobs. I have used this website to get all my jobs, so you should try it. I think it would be good to get a job in the right sector and then make contacts into other departments etc to move over to the academic side. I have never successfully worked for the private sector so I dont know if they have something against PhD students.
The problem at the moment is that there is a recruitment freeze at some universities to re-coup the money about to be lost under our new leaders. but this is certainly the time of year to be applying, as many fixed-term contract starts in Sept/Oct and, it is a quiet time of year for unis (usually -at the moment I am in A Level hell) and so when they get their house in order.
What discipline are you in? if it is vocational you may also be able to lecture?
Well done on getting a fees scholarship! That at least should come in handy. As to whether you can PhD and work at the same time, it is really up to you. I do it and have found it to be fine, but I have an office job in a uni other than the one that I study in and can choose my days and hours more or less. I do 18 hours a week (2.5 days) and take home £800 per month. Some people can live quite comfortably on that. the question you should ask yourself is whether or not you can. Can you live with family (rent free)? If you want to live in a shared house in London, you might find something for £400 per month which gives you £100 per week to play with, which might help. Working office hours has meant for me that I have never felt lacking in social life because of having to work alongside study. I also do some PhD at work when it is quiet. Also working in a university places you in a good environment in which to acquire knowledge and skills to apply to future jobs.
It just depends on how motivated you are to study, to work, and to work when you have to study to study when you want to relax etc.
I am in the same hell with my thesis which at one point was 12000 words over the 100000 allowed. I just keep reading it over and over again, each time paring down more and more stuff that it not necessary -big sections of literature review at first that I added to look good more than to help the argument, cutting out whole quotes from participants and my analysis of them, etc right down to hyphenising pairs of words where I can, rephrasing sentences to get to the point more (eg. changing: 'what is interesting about X is that...', to 'X is interesting because' and so on).
It is a nightmare! I always, always write too much. I have come to see editing as something which is a necessary part of all my writing to tighten it up. I get too attached to my sentences though and usually get someone else to read my work to tell me what to get rid of. Maybe this might help you?
I have 3-4000 words left to cull... it is agony! good luck!
I have been reading this thread with interest. I have never had any reason to complain about my main supervisor but, seeing how thoughtful some other people's supervisors are, I am envious to say the least! I have always liked my supervisor (unlike my second supervisor -but that is not for this thread) and have always thought he liked me -prompt, thorough feedback, support when it all goes wrong etc and he is very experienced as an academic, a supervisor and an examiner, but lately, I have become suspicious that he may be just being nice to me because he cant be bothered to engage with my work. It has been a niggling doubt since I started writing my final draft in September. He would return chapters to me with smiley faces and typos corrected but nothing more substantial than this. I know I am not a genius, I also have only been working for 2.5 years on my PhD so it is not that I am mega-experienced either, so I became worried that he was using the rule of 80% - if its 80% good it will do- and not push me to be any better.
To be honest I still have these doubts and I have tried to ask him if he is just being nice to me to get rid of me (make me submit sooner and out of his hair quicker) but he makes all the right noises about not doing that (although without telling me that i am any good) and so reading this thread I think two things: obviously a good supervisor is one who is nice, but also we seem to want someone who is critical too. but also... a phd process is meant to be a training process to become an independent researcher, so maybe it is part and parcel of the process that as students reach the end, they have less and less interaction with their supervisors as they become more and more expert in their field, have better research skills and 'fly the nest' of studentship, so to speak. Maybe a good supervisor is one who lets you go off on this journey in this way...?
I am planning to submit in 6 weeks and when my supervisors see this 'final-ish' draft, i will ask them why they havent been tougher on me, but maybe his supervision has been so good, and his feedback so tempered to suit me, that i havent really noticed it affecting my attitude to my work.
maybe, to paraphrase, if a supervisor loves you, they will set you free...? or maybe they are just bored and overworked. :p
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