Please help me decide what to do next

posted
06-Oct-13, 14:41
Avatar for cyanidebaby
posted about 6 years ago
Hello,

I'm looking for some advice.

I graduate from my MA in November (with a Merit in Creative Writing) I'm 22, and I want to do a practical PhD (a lot more honed and specific obviously but I won't bore you with specific research ideas here) but I am not ready, my research skills are not up to scratch. The thing is, I don't know how to get ready. I'm severely physically disabled, so I am not able to hold down a job yet until my health and mobility improve.

I'm freelancing right now, and I've had my poetry published ten times this year so the creative side is coming along nicely, but is there something I can do to become more confident in post-graduate research side? I want to be confident that my idea is viable and the people looking at it aren't going to think I'm woefully undereducated.

What should I do next? I was considering an Mres but there aren't any appropriate ones in my area. Any ideas?

Thanks,

Laura
posted
07-Oct-13, 12:30
Avatar for metabanalysis
posted about 6 years ago
Hi Laura. There are many different types of research method, and teaching materials to suit each, and you need to know which type is most suited to your research aims. Given that your interest is poetry and literature, you are probably looking at using - broadly speaking - qualitiative methodology (content analysis etc). You can brush up on these or other skills by reading books or online material. Depending on your research aims you might also want to use some quantitative methods (Chi Square etc), so the first thing is to know which research skills you need to meet your research aims.
posted
07-Oct-13, 12:59
edited about 17 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 6 years ago
HI, sounds like a facinating area of study and well done on your MA results. First I would check out the universities where you think you would apply to and check out their entrance criteria, you don't want to end up taking a course that doesn't meet the entrance requirements, like metabanalysis says, you may be able to take one or two specific courses. Also, many unis do a 1+3 phD where you do the Mres as part of the PhD. Good luck x
posted
07-Oct-13, 18:53
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 6 years ago
Also bear in mind that a PhD is about learning and training. Most of us start a PhD with absolutely no idea what we are doing and just pick up things along the way.
posted
08-Oct-13, 00:14
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for cyanidebaby
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Also bear in mind that a PhD is about learning and training. Most of us start a PhD with absolutely no idea what we are doing and just pick up things along the way.


But then how do you know your proposal has legs long-term?

Thanks for all your input so far guys :)
posted
08-Oct-13, 10:23
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 6 years ago
To see if it has legs you can do that by checking out the research interests of academics you would like to work with and see if you can get a dialogue going with them before application. Tell them your ideas and see if they would be interested in supervising you. If they like your ideas you can submit a formal proposal, if that's accepted you can be as certain as you can be that there is enough in the proposal to work on, of course your proposal will change once you are in the door. The nw researcher development framework will mean you get opportunity to undertake relevant methods training as part of a PhD. :)
posted
08-Oct-13, 12:11
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for cyanidebaby
posted about 6 years ago
Ok thanks,

Is it common to try and get journal articles written (and maybe published) before considering a Phd?
posted
08-Oct-13, 17:28
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 6 years ago
Not really. Most people don't have articles before they start a PhD. Actually a lot of people don't get articles published until they've finished either!
posted
08-Oct-13, 21:55
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for cyanidebaby
posted about 6 years ago
Ah ok, thanks. The fact I shouldn't already have stuff out there is a relief.
posted
08-Oct-13, 23:37
Avatar for cyanidebaby
posted about 6 years ago
Oh, and one more thing. How often are Phd students in the vicinity of their base university? If my physical limitations are going to hinder my travel to a far away uni often, should I stay local or does the amount of independent research mean I could conduct most of it away from the uni?

I ask because based on my preliminary searches, my feeling is that my research interests might be more in line with the research themes of unis that aren't local.

Thanks again for your support.
posted
08-Oct-13, 23:45
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 6 years ago
If it's in the arts or social sciences I don't think it matters too much how often you attend the uni. For my case in the sciences I need to be there every day. Can someone not in the sciences comment on attendance?
posted
09-Oct-13, 10:05
edited about 6 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 6 years ago
Totally depends on what your offer is and what your supervisor is like. Some funding (even for arts and humanities) requires you to send a certain amount of time at your uni e.g a graduate teaching scholarship. Some supervisors want to see you in the office a few times a week, others are happy to see you jsut for supervision.
posted
09-Oct-13, 12:55
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for HazyJane
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From cyanidebaby:
Oh, and one more thing. How often are Phd students in the vicinity of their base university? If my physical limitations are going to hinder my travel to a far away uni often, should I stay local or does the amount of independent research mean I could conduct most of it away from the uni?

I ask because based on my preliminary searches, my feeling is that my research interests might be more in line with the research themes of unis that aren't local.

Thanks again for your support.


It is possible, particularly in arts/humanties subjects to work more remotely. To that end, have you looked at the Open University? I'm pretty sure people are able to do PhDs with them. I don't know whether they'd have any suitable supervisors for your specific topic though.

Are you aiming for a career in academia in the long run? That might affect your decision, as to be honest there are very few arts/humanities jobs out there, and not having contact with a department (and the networks that extend from it) could make the job search more challenging. But if you're doing it more for interest/pleasure, then not being located in the department isn't so much of an issue. You would potentially miss out on interesting seminars/departmental activities though.

Edited to add - might be worth seeing if you could base yourself with a primary supervisor at a local university but see if it would be possible to have an external supervisor at another university who was more focussed on your topic. I'm not sure how acceptable that is though - different unis may have different regulations on that.
posted
09-Oct-13, 14:42
Avatar for cyanidebaby
posted about 6 years ago
Thanks,

I was looking at going into academia, though I'm also looking at FE teacher training NVQs so that college teaching would be an option if there are no viable tenures at unis. I suppose there is no harm in liasing with York St John and York to see if they're interested. I would be self-funded anyway I would imagine because my former Head of Programme has already told me there's no funding, as has someone at York uni.
posted
09-Oct-13, 15:44
Avatar for HazyJane
posted about 6 years ago
That sounds like a good plan B to have. Unfortunately quite a lot of people go into PhDs with no idea of how bad the job market is at the other end, so it's good to be prepared.

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