Final year support thread

posted
25-Apr-16, 10:38
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Zutterfly:
Well guys I have been to the doctors as I was bed ridden with nausea and sickness for the past few days after feeling unwell generally for two weeks and it seems I have a nasty ear infection! Thankfully I have anti nausea tablets now so I may be able to make some progress on the PhD this week finally! I have shifted my deadlines back a week to compensate for the lost time.

What are your aims for this week everyone?


Oh no, poor you, I hope you feel better soon!

This weeks aim is to submit chapter, and start on the next one.
posted
25-Apr-16, 17:12
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for Zutterfly
posted about 4 years ago
Thank you for your well wishes Hugh :) Illness never comes at the right time!

How many chapters do you have left after this one? My initial aim was to have this one I am writing submitted but giving myself two extra weeks to finish it and carry out my 'combing'!
posted
26-Apr-16, 09:52
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 years ago
Hope you feel better soon, Zutterfly! I had time off sick recently and although it's not ideal, I found it was much better just to take the time and recover than to try to work through it.
posted
26-Apr-16, 09:58
edited about 9 minutes later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From MS86:
Hello all,
I’m new to this forum- and think this thread is brilliant, and may just be the motivation and support that I need to get my PhD finished! I am currently in my last year of funding (final payment end of September) completing a health sciences PhD.
I am really struggling on how to write, I feel overwhelmed at the amount there is to do. Recently I’ve been feeling that I won’t be able to finish, let along finish before the end of my funding.
I do have most my data (I have to complete data collection for my last qualitative study- hoping to by the end of May. But I still need to analyse two quantitative studies (data collection already completed), and another short qualitative study (data analysis completed).

I’m hoping the study chapters will be easier to write? As there is a formula I can follow (and these chapters will all have a clinical context that I can draw on).
On average how long does it take you all to finish a first draft of a chapter? Do you find that your writing style has improved? How does everyone else stay motivated and get over self –doubt?
Any advice would be appreciated!


Hi MS86! It sounds like you are in a very similar position to me, with regard to funding dates and what's left to be done. I am also finalising data collection and still have analysis to do. I find that my writing style for each chapter improves just with taking time, re-reading it and spotting things that I didn't see when I was writing it. Motivation and self-doubt are on-going battles and at the minute I am trying to work with mini-deadlines to demystify what's left to do, eg setting myself a word count to write in a fortnight and then breaking that down into words per day, to make it manageable. Looking forward to hearing some of your ideas and how you're getting on!
posted
26-Apr-16, 09:59
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for Zutterfly
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From chickpea:
Hope you feel better soon, Zutterfly! I had time off sick recently and although it's not ideal, I found it was much better just to take the time and recover than to try to work through it.


Thank you Chickpea and agree with you there one hundred percent! In previous years I would have just tried to muscle on through but I think when you become a bit wiser during the PhD you realise that rest is important :)
posted
26-Apr-16, 12:02
edited about 9 seconds later
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Zutterfly:
Thank you for your well wishes Hugh :) Illness never comes at the right time!

How many chapters do you have left after this one? My initial aim was to have this one I am writing submitted but giving myself two extra weeks to finish it and carry out my 'combing'!


I think that's a smart move. You'd rather get it perfectly right, then submit something half done. It puts supervisors off reading your work too (I know from past experience!).

I have another 4 chapters left to do, but they lower in word count than the ones I have done. Literature review is the big one. I need to decide what exactly will go where, so need to do a bit of brainstorming too.
posted
26-Apr-16, 12:05
edited about 1 minute later
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From MS86:
Hello all,
I’m new to this forum- and think this thread is brilliant, and may just be the motivation and support that I need to get my PhD finished! I am currently in my last year of funding (final payment end of September) completing a health sciences PhD.


Hi MS86 :) It is lovely to have you on board!

I think it does get easier to write, and the more chapters you write and get corrected, the easier it becomes to spot mistakes. I found making a specific plan for the remaining months quite useful, and it also removes the stress a little.

Its hard to say how long it takes to write a chapter. If all data collection and analysis is done prior to writing, than one month is sufficient for me.
posted
26-Apr-16, 12:40
edited about 25 seconds later
by MS86
Avatar for MS86
posted about 4 years ago
Hi Chickpea and Hugh, thank you for the reply and tips :)

I updated my timeline at the weekend, even if I worked 12 hour days for the next 5 months, I wouldn’t be able to submit by the end of my funding (September), so now I’m trying to focus to complete before Christmas- really don’t want to be writing the thesis in 2017! Also I struggle to work longer than 8 hours, as I stop being productive.

My writing is slowly improving (Feedback from supervisors is no longer about writing style). Plus I will finally be able to submit a paper for publication, which has taken me some time to write (as the methods are so complex).

I find if I work slower, I write better- but it can take me about 3 weeks to finish a draft chapter. The chapters I’m currently working on are the hardest in my thesis, so once I come to the study chapters hopefully I’ll get faster.

I know most focus on a word count or breaking down the number of words to write per day but for now I’m just focusing on getting the chapters done for the two deadlines I have May. I give myself 2/3 sections to work on in a day, often this may involve re-reading my notes or paper sources, to clarify the points I want to make. My supervisors have said for me to get all my chapters done in draft and to resist the urge to start editing when they give me feedback, as this can be done once I have all chapters written. Hence why I don’t think September is feasible for me. Editing can take me weeks- as often I have to re-write chunks.

How are you both manaing the data collection, analysis and writing all at the same time? I also work part time so I have to factor my shifts in. I’m lucky at the moment if 4 days of my week are productive. I’m trying to get this to be 5/6 productive days. On days that I’m struggling with writing and analysis I try to work on my figures and tables and checking my references are up to date etc. I will be scheduling data collection for 2 days per week (hopefully will be done by the end of May).
posted
26-Apr-16, 14:52
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 years ago
I find the combination of data collection, analysis and writing a big challenge, MS86. To some extent, analysis and writing can fit together (especially in qualitative studies), but on data collection days I struggle to do anything else at all, as my data collection involves going out and about and meeting people and I just feel there's so much 'dead time' in travelling! I've discovered I'm not very good at juggling different types of task, and am so looking forward to there being only writing to do.

It does sound like you have a good system - three weeks for a draft chapter is not at all bad! I'm also aiming to hand in by the end of the year.
posted
26-Apr-16, 15:58
edited about 21 seconds later
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 years ago
Chickpea, I agree, data collection and writing up at the same time is definitely more challenging. Data collection takes up so much time and energy.

I think we also need to go easy on ourselves. I don't know anyone (except one person) who actually submitted their thesis on time. Every one I know goes over 3 years, and I know someone who submitted after 5 years full time.
posted
26-Apr-16, 18:50
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Hugh:
Chickpea, I agree, data collection and writing up at the same time is definitely more challenging. Data collection takes up so much time and energy.

I think we also need to go easy on ourselves. I don't know anyone (except one person) who actually submitted their thesis on time. Every one I know goes over 3 years, and I know someone who submitted after 5 years full time.


Yes - I went into my last supervision prepared to defend my choice of extending my deadlines beyond the 3 years, only for my supervisor to say, 'good idea - I handed mine in at about the 3.5 year stage'!
posted
26-Apr-16, 18:57
Avatar for Zutterfly
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From chickpea:
Quote From Hugh:
Chickpea, I agree, data collection and writing up at the same time is definitely more challenging. Data collection takes up so much time and energy.

I think we also need to go easy on ourselves. I don't know anyone (except one person) who actually submitted their thesis on time. Every one I know goes over 3 years, and I know someone who submitted after 5 years full time.


Yes - I went into my last supervision prepared to defend my choice of extending my deadlines beyond the 3 years, only for my supervisor to say, 'good idea - I handed mine in at about the 3.5 year stage'!


I completed data collection before my third year rolled around and I would struggle to write anything at all during those times. It would take hours to travel to my participants and back again and sometimes whole weeks were taken up by data collection. During this time I had 3 teaching jobs too so my travel time was spend marking assignments and lesson prepping. It was an exhausting time!

My funding ends in October and I do not expect to have the full thesis done and dusted by then, just the full draft. I will likely be having my viva in 2017 as it will take time for the supervisor to read it and for me to make amendments. I spoke to an old tutor recently who is the most organised person I have ever met and she took 3.5 years too as she wanted to ensure it was as good as possible before submission. Only one person in my department finished under 3 years and they used secondary data so no data collection was involved.
posted
28-Apr-16, 11:27
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 years ago
Hi, have you all decided on your PhD title and main research question? I have the research question I think but I'm struggling with the title, any advice? Thanks :)
posted
28-Apr-16, 16:33
Avatar for Zutterfly
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Hugh:
Hi, have you all decided on your PhD title and main research question? I have the research question I think but I'm struggling with the title, any advice? Thanks :)


My main research question has remained the same since the beginning, but my title will certainly change due to the way my thesis took shape. This is something my supervisor has agreed to speak to me about though in the future. Could you do some mind mapping and then maybe discuss with your supervisor?
posted
29-Apr-16, 09:23
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 4 years ago
I'm leaving the final wordings of my research questions and title til near the end, so that they fit well with the overall feel of the thesis.

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