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chapter titles

Hi Ady,

I just brought forward some thoughts, that was all.

So, you are saying you would like "more imaginative" titles, yet also want to make sure they are not too informal ("chatty")?:-)

chapter titles

Hi Ady,


"What is already known", "What does the literature tell us", "Historical overview on......", "Background information on.....", "First things first" etc.?

Post viva- no summit or finishing line in sight :(

Hi Pineapple,

congratulations for coming this far, you have done well and you are nearly there.

Perhaps I can help you, as I am quite good at writing succinctly.

Firstly,  I think it is important to try and take some distance from what you have written. Be prepared to throw out large chunks of text. I know this is hard, as a lot of effort has gone into writing things up and it is difficult to scrap things, I know it probably breaks your heart.

Secondly I think it is useful to write a summary of a chapter, but to do this by heart! Really just write the things that you can remember, but do not look at the original text. Once you are happy that the chapter covers the real essentials, do the same for the other chapters.

Thirdly, once you have the summary of all chapters make sure that the whole forms a coherent piece of writing. You now have the crucial part of your thesis ready.

Fourthly, like "painting by numbers" add the essential colours to each of the chapters. Paste this from your "old thesis". Avoid the full details. Once you have done this for all chapters, you are probably ready. If not, do this again and add in the missing bits.

Sounds like a lot of work, yet in reality I think it is a lot quicker than you think and it is a much easier and better than sticking to the old format and fine tuning the minimal details only.

Good luck


Publication advice needed

Hi Miss Piggy,

a few issues come to mind looking at your posting:

1. Is the publication a major issue in your PhD? If yes, it would be best if you would be the first author and it I think it should mainly be written by yourself.

2.It really helps if you have an eminent clinician / professor on board to get things published in the medical journal. Editors like clinicians to write papers.

3. Indeed one needs to be careful in giving information to other people (in this case the clinician), as in the academic world all kind of unpleasant things happen, including stealing of your ideas / information! This does not have to be the case, but I think it would be important to have a clear agreement, making sure that things are documented regarding authors  / co-authors.

4. From an ethical point of views journals want all authors to be involved in the paper, not "just" to provide the information. As such I think it would be useful that you write a draft as well and / or at least be heavily involved in the drafting of the paper. This would also be good experience for your PhD.

Good luck.

I passed!

Congratulations Keenbean,

very pleased for you. Have a great party!!!:-);-)(up)

Got the job :)))


you are a star!:-)(up)(up):-)

Presenting a poster that's not really my own

Hi Verena,

difficult dilemma.

I think it would be OK if the people who are involved in the project, are aware and agree that you are going to present their work at the conference. As long as that is the case and you really want to go the conference, that it may be worthwhile. However, if it would be the opposite, if you feel that things are done behind people's back, if you have a bad feeling around the whole thing, I would keep my fingers off. I think it would be good to address these issues first before spending several weeks on the data analysis.

If you decide not to do it, be careful in how you present this to your supervisor, probably a good idea to be diplomatic regarding why you do not want to do it. Good luck!:-)

PhD submitted!!

Good show Keenbean,

must be a pleasant feeling!

Actually very good that you will have your viva so soon after submission, you will remember the thesis extremely well.


Well done, Corinne,

very pleased for you, congratulations!!:-)

Discussion chapter

Hi Sneaks,

I am in the medical field, so things may be different. I think normally one does a research project, for example do apples taste better than pears? Field study, results blah, blah, blah. Conclusion: 80% percent of people think that apples do taste better (based on what you have found in your project only). Discussion: Potential explanations, potential study implications (often speculation regarding what things may mean, so not all based on identified facts, so beyond the conclusion).

In practice one often sees a combination title, for example conclusion and discussion.

I think your scheme contains all the important elements. In my opinion your findings of the study is your "conclusion", the rest are elements of the "discussion".

Again in practice these parts are often intertwined and one could then use "Conclusion and discussion".

Viva Confusion

Hi Batt21,

first of all congratulations. You have passed your viva and as such you have your PhD. Reading through your post I think you have done very well and I think you should be proud.

That said, I understand that it is frustrating that you have to do the corrections, that you are "expected" to use six months (while you think you may only need a month) and pay 250 pounds. I can understand that you are upset with this.

Obviously it is up to you what your next course of action will be. Perhaps the following may be helpful:

1. See whether you would be able to get the 250 pounds, and if so I would pay.
2. If it it very difficult to get the 250 pounds to bring this forward to the relevant body of the university and explain that you cannot pay it as you have not got it.
3. Write down explicitly regarding what you think the corrections are.
4. Try and obtain the report which states what corrections you have to make.
5. Give yourself a bit of time, get a bit of distance, perhaps a week or so, and then start with the corrections.
6. Once you have completed the corrections, submit.

Good luck:-)

At the end of my tether

Hi Keenbean,

sorry to read about your latest troubles with your supervisor, yet also nice to read that there may opportunities in this other department.

I think you have a very good way of coping, by looking at it as just three more meetings with the sup, and that is it! Indeed you have worked hard for several years and have overcome many high hurdles, those small last few ones you will manage as well.

You indicate that your sup may be mentally ill, which is difficult to judge. However, I think that that should not be your concern, I think your first worrry should be to look after your own physical and mental health. As you know that means making sure you sleep enough, to be able to express your emotions, to speak to friends and family, avoid alcohol etc.

Regarding you sup I think you have chosen the right approach by not getting into an argument. Just keep the relationship very business like and dry, just ignore things and walk away when she starts shouting. Use of irony may be helpful too. Remember, you are nearly there, you have done the work and deserve your PhD!:-)

Need to vent

Hi B,

must be a difficult situation, but perhaps not that unusual in the PhD process. Although I personally think that it is very poor if one does not receive proper supervision and if the supervisor does not seem to have proper communication skills, several of these issues are brought forward in the various postings on this forum.

I think you should give it a bit of time an look at what your options are. I think it is important to give things a bit of time, often the intensity of your emotions then gets less and it is easier to see the full and rational picture. As such I think it is good that you have contacted the other two people and have to wait for their reply.

Also look at what your options are. If it very easy to get another job, in a field that you like, then obviously you can change. However, I understand that it no so easy to find employment (I presume you are in the UK) and the last thing you want is to loose your PhD and being unemployed. Have you got someone with whom you can physically talk? Often this really helps to put things into perspective. :-)

Getting published in an academic journal

Hi Nomad,

I think it is an interesting, yet also challenging idea that you bring forward.

Indeed I think nearly all journals have their own style. Usually if you go to the website of the journal there is a part with "author instructions", which indicates how the paper should be written. it is very useful to read this before you start writing and this could save you a lot of time.

The question regarding the kind of papers journals want, is hard to answer. I think most importantly is that it should be something new, that it brings something forward that is not known already. That is why most authors first try to read a lot about the topic. Often their questions has been answered in the literature already, and then it would be a waste of time to write first, to find out later that the questions have already been answered in books or published papers. So advisable to do a literature review first. Be aware that this often takes a long time.

Finally as an individual researcher, I think, it would be unrealistic to write about a very large subject, so try and focus on a small answerable question. Perhaps it is a good idea to discuss the issue with a co-researcher / someone who has research experience.:-)

The Happy Thread


I mean: the weather!! is fantastic. Perhaps I should join this new dyslexia programme!