Masters dissertation extension just as im about to start a PhD - ?? confused

posted
01-Jul-15, 19:14
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for academicadam47
posted about 4 years ago
I have a dissertation to write by end of September, but due to numerous academic and personal issues, i don't see me being able to finish on time. I have been notified that i am able to receive a month's extension if needs be. However, i am starting a PhD on 1st of October.
I am just wondering how would this be received by my PhD supervisor, as i will essentially be starting my PhD whilst also trying to finish my MA dissertation. I don't see this going down well with her at all to be honest.

Have i just screwed things up for myself?

Any advice greatly appreciated.
posted
02-Jul-15, 01:21
Avatar for Nautilus
posted about 4 years ago
Hi Adam,

I had a quick look at your previous messages at this forum and I feel sorry for you. I can imagine how overwhelming it must be for you.
As some other people suggested before, I think 1-2 months is enough time to write-up Masters. The only problem is you need to know what to do. Is your database complete? Do you have interpretations in mind? Do you have outlines of your chapters ready? Try to put a document somehow, make an outline as detailed as possible, and then start filling up the gaps. Prepare your tables and other "easy" parts. You may find easier to start with introduction chapter, methods, review of previous investigations or the results. Personally, I find literature review and discussion parts difficult, because of we need to put our research in a "bigger picture". Think which strategy is better for you. Even if your writing progress is slow, it is still a progress.

I think, if you have 1 month overlap of your Masters and PhD it is not a big deal...
Are you going to do PhD on the same subject and / or with same supervisor? if yes, do you really need it?

Feel free to ask questions. We are here to support each other.
posted
02-Jul-15, 06:23
edited about 1 hour later
by RinaL
Avatar for RinaL
posted about 4 years ago
Hi,

First of all: Don't panic. I have written my master thesis solely in my spare time between a full time job and caring for a one year old toddler - the worst part for me was the discussion, for which I reserved one week of holiday. So its doable in your timeframe.

I second the suggestion that you start by organising your work in chapters - and from there in subchapters. Its way easier to write a small chunk of text when you have limited time - and you can escape the feeling: "I need at least 3 hours of work to do this chapter so I won't start until I have those three free hours."

Furthermore, I have read that you suffer from depression and have the same perfectionistic approach that I have.

For the perfectionistic approach: Be careful that you don't spend most of your time editing the same sentences again and again. Won't help with your wordcount. I have read somewhere a really helpful advice: Create three post-its, one with "Writer", one with "Critics", one with "Polishing". When you start writing, you stick the Writer Post-It on top of your monitor (or somewhere you can see it). Now you are in writing mode, so just write and try not to edit things - only if you have another idea that you want to add. After a writing session, you switch to critics post-it/mode and let your inner critics loose. But he is only allowed to give helpful feedback - "Your sentences are trash" won't help. Normally you will find out fast whats bothering you with the sentences, so now you are allowed to change it. Polishing comes last, when you have to stick together chunks of text that you have written on different sessions.

Hope that helps a bit!
posted
02-Jul-15, 08:57
edited about 18 seconds later
by pd1598
Avatar for pd1598
posted about 4 years ago
I don't think it's a major problem at all - if you're sure you can finish in the month? I found I didn't really do a lot in my first few months of PhD (just reading), although I may be in a different field.
posted
02-Jul-15, 10:55
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for academicadam47
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Nautilus:
Hi Adam,

I had a quick look at your previous messages at this forum and I feel sorry for you. I can imagine how overwhelming it must be for you.
As some other people suggested before, I think 1-2 months is enough time to write-up Masters. The only problem is you need to know what to do. Is your database complete? Do you have interpretations in mind? Do you have outlines of your chapters ready? Try to put a document somehow, make an outline as detailed as possible, and then start filling up the gaps. Prepare your tables and other "easy" parts. You may find easier to start with introduction chapter, methods, review of previous investigations or the results. Personally, I find literature review and discussion parts difficult, because of we need to put our research in a "bigger picture". Think which strategy is better for you. Even if your writing progress is slow, it is still a progress.

I think, if you have 1 month overlap of your Masters and PhD it is not a big deal...
Are you going to do PhD on the same subject and / or with same supervisor? if yes, do you really need it?

Feel free to ask questions. We are here to support each other.


Thanks for your reply Nautilus.

My PhD will be at another University from where I'm currently doing my Masters degree.
This is why I'm nervous about asking my phd supervisor. Because i want to be up front with her and inform her that i might need an extension for my dissertation, but will this mess thing up for my phd? Because essentially i will doing both (finishing my dissertation and starting phd) at the same time.
I'm getting very overwhelmed at the moment. I haven't started on my dissertation due to various reasons.
posted
02-Jul-15, 12:16
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for Nautilus
posted about 4 years ago
Glad to be helpful.
I believe there is a way to start your PhD 1 (or more) months later. You may try to find it out. It is hard to predict your supervisor's reaction, but hopefully she will understand.
However, it might be a bit too early to inform her. Are you sure you cannot finish on time? or that 1 more month will make a change?
how much have you done for your Masters?
posted
02-Jul-15, 17:18
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for academicadam47
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Nautilus:
Glad to be helpful.
I believe there is a way to start your PhD 1 (or more) months later. You may try to find it out. It is hard to predict your supervisor's reaction, but hopefully she will understand.
However, it might be a bit too early to inform her. Are you sure you cannot finish on time? or that 1 more month will make a change?
how much have you done for your Masters?


I'm torn between telling her now, or leave it until later on. What should i do?
I have done nothing on the dissertation. I have a pretty good idea regarding the topic, but in terms of any writing or research, i have done absolutely nothing.
posted
02-Jul-15, 19:03
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 4 years ago
So from your post 2 weeks ago you still haven't started your dissertation? Are you sure you are actually going to do it?
posted
02-Jul-15, 23:11
Avatar for academicadam47
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
So from your post 2 weeks ago you still haven't started your dissertation? Are you sure you are actually going to do it?

My life is pretty hectic at the moment. A lot of stuff going on and I have a work placement project as part of my MA to do as well
posted
02-Jul-15, 23:44
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for Critchley
posted about 4 years ago
I'm sorry but I'm going to have to call bull on being too hectic. I'm currently on sn MSc by research and I finish at the end of August. I have over 15k words written up (and I have a 2 year old who takes up all my time of the evening). I plan on finishing on time and that's after my equipment went missing 3 times and knocked me back 6 weeks. Add to that I need to pack up the whole house (and it's alot-took 3 vans to get it here) as we move mid-august. You just need to make time amd not excuses. I'm up at half 5 mon-fri to be in for half 6 so i know i can get enough done. Just about putting the effort in, so i don't biy into the whole 'not enough time'. Sorry if theres any typos, done this on my phone.
posted
03-Jul-15, 06:05
edited about 40 seconds later
Avatar for Nautilus
posted about 4 years ago
Critchley, that's impressive. How much time in total have you spent on your Master's? I am not in a good situation regarding my PhD thesis. I have had a lot of delays, and my writing is very slow (also English is my second language). But thanks for sharing. I think I need to improve my organisation skills.

Adam, sorry to disappoint you, but I think that 1) you need to work really hard this month and keep your worries away, and 2) if you will make no progress within this month, I doubt you can finish by the end of the year. It depends on your project, of coarse. Master students that I know spend 1 year on their research or more. If you do not have data by August, you cannot finish by October for sure. This is only my opinion, your field of research and situation may be different. What do you think?
posted
03-Jul-15, 09:31
Avatar for Critchley
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Nautilus:
Critchley, that's impressive. How much time in total have you spent on your Master's? I am not in a good situation regarding my PhD thesis. I have had a lot of delays, and my writing is very slow (also English is my second language). But thanks for sharing. I think I need to improve my organisation skills.


Thank you Nautilus. In total, I really wouldn't like hazard a guess. On an average week I spend between 40-50 hours. Some weeks less due to family things (illness, days out etc), interviews etc but some weeks when I have a lot to do and (especially now it's near the end) it can be between 50-60 hours. And delays are a pain, but so long as you get your organisional skills good then it can be worked around. Hopefully it all work out well for you in the end. My writing isn't the best either (english is my first language), so the scientific writing this year has been a steep learning curve ( I find it easier to write up as I produce the results rather than waiting until everything is done).
posted
03-Jul-15, 10:31
edited about 26 seconds later
by clairaN
Avatar for clairaN
posted about 4 years ago
Hi Adam

I second what everyone else is saying, you need to organise your time and get this done. It sounds to me like your biggest issue is self-confidence, you clearly don't have any and it's possible that your putting off starting this so that if you fail its because you haven't done it and not because you're not good enough.

As hard as it is you need to push them thoughts to the back of your mind and crack on, start off small, do the easy bits, but make sure you find time to do something on your dissertation every day, the more you do on it the easier it will get.
posted
04-Jul-15, 06:32
Avatar for Nautilus
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Critchley:
Hopefully it all work out well for you in the end. My writing isn't the best either (english is my first language), so the scientific writing this year has been a steep learning curve ( I find it easier to write up as I produce the results rather than waiting until everything is done).


Thanks. This is a good strategy. Also important to write up methodology part while still in a lab. I bet it makes you feel a lot more confident, when you have something written.
I always wait until I get the results. Same with methodology, it is not complete, as it did change a lot during data acquisition. I would even say, I get frustrated while waiting for the results. However, I do try to interpret things while waiting (produce graphs, read articles etc). Now, after struggling for a while, I realise that writing the results part should come first or at least in parallel with interpretations.

Adam, how is your progress going? As I have problems with meeting my deadline too, I had a meeting with student counselor (maybe you need one too?). They advised me not to think about deadline. Otherwise, we get overwhelmed. Cut your work into chunks, and set up deadlines for them. Good luck!

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