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Literature review tips, tricks and tactics
S

Hi again,
I am glad you found these ideas helpful. Yes, from my experience, it never stops growing and evolving. Your work needs to be as up-to-date as possible. Clearly, it will evolve more in certain periods than in others, depending on your understanding of the topic, your ideas and publications available (just to mention a few key factors) but it keeps evolving. I added a few new sources just before my final submission.
Best of luck!

Literature review tips, tricks and tactics
S

Hi,
I can see that you have already received great suggestions from other members of this forum. I just wanted to stress the importance of taking notes while reading. A PhD project typically takes several years to complete and you are very like to forget useful sources as time goes by. I would suggest that you take notes and include some significant quotes (remember to include the page numbers so that you will be able to trace them back later!). I would organise your notes so that you can easily find them, subdivide them by topic/sub-topics. You won't have a good idea of what you are looking for right now but you will be able to refine these labels/categorisation of the sources as you proceed with defining your project. I have heard great things about software like Endnote or Zotero, which manage your bibliographical resources. I personally subdivided my notes in different folders on my laptop. If you use software make sure to save your work in multiple places so that you do not lose everything if the system crashes (remote possibility but better to avoid it).
My supervisor suggested that I wrote an annotated bibliography, including all key sources and explaining in a few lines what each one of them was about and why I thought it was relevant for my work. I did that periodically and it helped me a lot refining my project and clarifying my ideas.
The literature review will grow with you and your project. Keep that in mind when you choose how to approach. You will need to continue adding to it, modifying it and discarding parts that are no longer relevant. Anyway, I recommend not to delete any parts, as these may become relevant later or for other projects. You never know.
All the best.

Selecting journals for future publications
S

Thank you very much to you all. All the resources and information you shared are extremely helpful. Much appreciated!

Selecting journals for future publications
S

Thank you both for the helpful tools and information. Much appreciated. I am still struggling to decide where I want to situate myself as a scholar but I will use my thesis' bibliography as a starting point for this list of journals. I will also look at other colleagues' publications and journals' descriptions. I hope this will help me move on.

Selecting journals for future publications
S

Hi everyone,
I am a post-doc and I am trying to select a few journals where I could/would need to publish. The main reason why I am struggling to choose is that my research expertise is cross-disciplinary. I have to decide where I would like to situate myself as a scholar and this is difficult for me to do. I feel this is a very important decision and I am not aware of all the dynamics involved in it. I studied and worked in different departments, which were very different but all related to my research projects. Is there any tool that could help me select relevant journals for me to consider and whether they would be suitable to disseminate my work relatively widely? How can I approach this considering my interdisciplinary background and contributions?
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and offer some suggestions.

Waiting for reply after interview
S

Hi,
I second PhDhere. In the UK, you should expect to receive a response, regardless of the outcome. As far as I know, you always get a response. In other countries, things may be different but you should be able to contact them and ask them, just to know. I would suggest that you email the person you were in contact with if an outcome has been reached. I am assuming you were in contact with the departmental secretary who has been arranging the interview? If that was the case, I would contact them. If not, I would get in touch with whoever was in charge of the arrangements. If you get a negative response and they say that decision has not been made yet, I would ask when they expect to finalise it by. You can explain that you are very interested in the project and you are eager to know the answer. If you are, you can also say that you are evaluating other opportunities you have been offered and were particularly interested in their project.
From my experience, decisions often take longer than you would hope and answers sometimes get 'lost' along the way. I don't know which field you are in but I sometimes had to wait for months for a reply on an application (and it was not always because I had been rejected!).
Best of luck!

Pros and Cons of having a summer start instead of fall start at an US university.
S

Hi,
Congratulations on receiving an offer! I also started my MA in June and graduated in August, one year later. I was not at Purdue but elsewhere in the US, studying a completely different subject, so please be aware of this while you read my reply. From my experience, starting in the summer does not make much difference than starting in the fall. One disadvantage could be, though, that things are much quieter in the summer (limited choice in terms of courses offered and limited support available on campus). Nonetheless, this could also be an advantage could be, as it would give you a slightly slower start and an easier time getting adjusted to the new environment. The point you made about employment prospects may be one to consider carefully, although you may still be able to find some options to complete some work. I guess this highly depends on the industry you are able and willing to work in and I am not able to comment on this, as I am not familiar with your field.
Personally, I was happy with my choice because I did not wait long after receiving the offer. I was also lucky enough to find a part-time job opportunity a few months before graduating. This was related to my field and, although it was not in the industry but in my department, I still think it was a valuable experience for me. In retrospect, I probably would not have rushed my choice to start my studies and considered a few more options.
Everyone has different priorities and see things differently. There is no right or wrong answer to your question and what is ideal for one may not be good for others. Also, these choices are highly dependant on your personal situation, field of study and university. If I were you, I would ask your future department to put you in touch with former/current students. Some of them may be willing to share their experience with you and tell you things you may not be aware of at the moment. I would talk to as many (former and current) students as you can and try to understand what the options could be for you and what your priorities are.
My recommendation would be not to rush your decision and collect as much information as possible. You will always discover things you wish you knew before making your choice. Therefore, try to make the best decision you can at this time, with the information you have.
All the very best!

Postdoc responsibilities
S

Thank you for the suggestion, Rewt. I thought the same. It is a small world and, regardless, it is best to be transparent and respectful. We have not already talked about this in detail, but I did mention that I miss teaching. After reading all your comments, I think I should discuss a professional development plan soon and that might be a good moment to discuss teaching opportunities, too. Let's see what they say and go from there.

Postdoc responsibilities
S

Thank you, again, for your reply. It is reassuring to know that you do not think this would constitute a conflict of interests. Even though I would be working for two different universities, the nature of the two jobs would be completely different for a very brief period. I would definitely not discuss my research at the other uni, as it would be completely unrelated. I am just wondering, what impression would I give my current PI if I mentioned that I have also been asked to teach for a few weeks at my old department. Would they be likely to see this positively or negatively? I have no idea but I am assuming other people are in similar positions. I still have to grasp what is considered acceptable and what is not. I surely have long-established personal and working relationships at my old uni that I would like to keep by contributing some short-term teaching. What do people usually do in these situations?

progress report first year PhD
S

Hi, I second the comment by Rewt. I would ask your supervisor or department for guidance on this, too. Every department and uni is indeed different and they may also have some examples to show you. You never know. It is probably worth asking, just to ensure that you are not missing any valuable information that may be already out there.
Have you ever used a Gantt chart? It is basically a schedule of the stages you have already completed and the tasks you will have to work on next. am not sure which department you are in, but I included one in my first report as a PhD student and found it very useful. In the chart, you can list all the steps you foresee as needed to complete your PhD (data collection, analysis, writing-up). You can be as detailed as you wish and you can modify and update the chart as your PhD progress. You can include the milestones you have already reach (e.g. your lit review) and you can forecast how you think it will be best for you to plan and subdivide your future work in the timeframe you have available. Maybe, a chart like this could be a starting point for you to discuss your progress so far and your future plans. It should show that you have a good enough idea of what you are doing and how to develop your research in the time you have left.
Since you have already been working on your lit review, you may also want to include a list of key references you think you will use. Depending on the field you are in, you may want to include an annotated bibliography, with a brief explanation of why each source is relevant to your research.
All best!

Any advice on preparation for job interviews
S

Hi! I would make a list of the undergraduate courses you are willing and would be interested in teaching. I would also be ready to discuss why you would be interested in teaching them and why you think you are qualified to do so. If you can find recent syllabi for those courses, you could also propose a few changes to the materials, topics or recommended reading lists. Nothing major, just to show that you are aware of the current modules and also have the confidence and creativity to adapt the courses to your abilities and preferences. When you discuss your motivations for teaching specific courses, you can take advantage of your own experience as a student to propose some (small) changes to the current contents (e.g. adding an extra homework on a specific topic you struggled to understand as a student). Depending on your department and the nature of the courses, you could also propose a new course you could design and teach. Best of luck!

Postdoc responsibilities
S

Thank you very much for your replies. This is very helpful! I had no idea that you could for a professional development plan and I think it would be very useful for me to have one. I also would benefit from having an external mentor, I am sure. I will discuss this with my PI shortly.
My current contract does not mention anything regarding additional jobs. If I taught for a few weeks at another uni would it be considered a conflict of interests?
I feel it is too early for me to make a decision about this but I am trying to understand what my responsibilities exactly involve and what options I could look into. I do understand that this is a full-time commitment and I would not be looking for anything longer than a month. Given the short length, I am also wondering if there any specific reasons why my PI should be aware of any unrelated teaching commitments I could have.

Postdoc responsibilities
S

Thank you for your reply. A colleague of mine, who is in a similar position, has a 50-50 teaching and research contract. When they hired me (in Computer Science), I did not realise I could negotiate this. Anyway, it would have been difficult for me because I work across disciplines so there is not be much room for me to teach in my current department. Whilst research projects are cross-disciplinary, classes are discipline-specific. The idea would be to look for very short-term flexible teaching opportunities elsewhere. At the moment, this may be relatively easy to manage because of remote teaching. I am not even sure this is allowed, though. I surely do not want to disregard my current responsibilities. I am just genuinely concerned about my very limited teaching experience.

Postdoc responsibilities
S

Hi everyone,
I am new to this Forum and find it very useful. I have recently joined a UK university as a postdoc. I really like my project and my role but I am concerned about not gaining any teaching experience for the next few years since my post is 100% research. Would short-term (e.g. summer) teaching posts a possibility and a good option for someone in my position?
Can postdocs have multiple temporary jobs? Are there any better options I could consider?
Thank you very much in advance for any suggestions you will share!