Can I please ask what you did within the first 6 months of your PhD? What did you achieve? Hours?etc

posted
11-Oct-16, 16:07
Avatar for Maria212
posted about 4 years ago
As a part time student, I would really like to know what you achieved within the first 6 months?

And as a full time student too please...?
posted
11-Oct-16, 18:10
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 4 years ago
The first year or so of my PhD I was just reading about my topic and thinking about my main hypothesis. You need to know what others have done and said in your specific field in other to know what remains to be done. Basically, your first year amounts to the 'literature review' of your thesis, where you explain the broader field to which your projects belong and the kind of questions that are pertinent.
posted
12-Oct-16, 09:56
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 years ago
I was really stressed because I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing for the first 3 months. Yeh, reading etc - but it felt a bit random. I was already familiar with my topic so if I could turn back the clock I would get myself out collecting data as soon as poss, instead reading bits and bobs and not really doing much.

It helped because my uni requires a 3-month literature report (just to check you have some understanding of the area, where your project could go, and that you can write in an academic way). That at least made me feel like I was doing something, although I got really stressed because it felt like something major, when actually in hindsight it was more of a tick-box activity.

So what I achieved - got my bearings a bit, got the 3 month report done, started the ethics application so that I could start to collect data for my first study (although some of my friends are still doing their first ethics application now - in their 2nd year - it depends on your project).

How are you getting on?
posted
12-Oct-16, 10:00
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 years ago
Ps. I was full time. And reading what I've written it sounds like I achieved quite a lot in the first 6 months. At the time it felt like I was doing nothing.
posted
12-Oct-16, 15:22
edited about 19 seconds later
Avatar for Maria212
posted about 4 years ago
@Tudor_Queen – I really enjoyed reading your detailed response. Thanks very much!

As a part time student, I started in April and so far I have completed the Group A Courses, the student registration form and also the ethical approval which I need to submit this month but reading wise I haven’t done that much which is why I am completely panicking! How many books do you read a week…? I feel as though I haven’t done much for my literature review so quite stressed out!

We don’t really have a 3 month literature report, I have my annual review in April 2017 though which I am also stressing over….

Any advice??
posted
12-Oct-16, 15:24
Avatar for Maria212
posted about 4 years ago
@ Mattfabb – Many thanks for your email. When you were reading about your topic did you used to read books from cover to cover or did you used to do selective reading…? And if you don’t mind me asking how many books did you used to read each week…? I am a part time student and do selective reading from about 5 books but I have found it exhausting and quite challenging as I like to spend more time understanding what I am reading as opposed to just reading for the sake of it but at the same time I feel as though I am not doing enough….!! Any insight you can give me on how you approached your literature review would be very useful to me. Hope you can help. I’m finding it a daunting task!!!
posted
12-Oct-16, 21:16
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 years ago
Hi Maria212 - I haven't read any whole books - just chapters from good ones - very selective. But this probably depends on how familiar you are already with your area. My advice would be don't stress over anything (easier said than done, I know... but it is only counterproductive). If you feel that you should be reading more, or that reading more will reduce your anxiety, why not make a planner of the reading you will do over the next few weeks. You could tick off chapters/papers you've read and write small summaries on them. I think that writing the ethics application will help, as I imagine it needs a bit of background/a mini lit review. That would be a really good place to start. Stay chilled!
Tudor
posted
13-Oct-16, 14:47
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for Maria212
posted about 4 years ago
Hi Tudor_Queen - that really helped me! Thank you so much for your kind words!
posted
15-Oct-16, 09:36
Avatar for Teaddict
posted about 4 years ago
Hey Maria,

While I am still within my first year, I thought sharing my experience thus far, and my plan for the coming months might help.

I am doing a full-time PhD, alongside an MA in teaching in higher education, which is compulsory at my University. I am also taking two second year undergraduate classes this semester.

As you can expect, therefore, most of my time is dedicated to completing the MA and to teaching. Alongside this, however, I am merely scoping out data sources and cases for my research.

I won't start on the literature review until nearer the time when I am required to submit a document for progression. As I have done similar things in my undergraduate and masters dissertations, I am quite familiar with the literature already.
posted
16-Oct-16, 00:58
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Maria212:
As a part time student, I would really like to know what you achieved within the first 6 months?

And as a full time student too please...?


I was fortunate enough to have a paper published and to be close to finishing a second.
I was full time though.
I would say that its probably not that relevant to your situation though because our areas of research are probably different. It sounds like you are comparing yourself to others and that is one guarantted route to madness. The more important question is what does your supervisor expect by 6 months?
posted
16-Oct-16, 19:41
edited about 36 seconds later
Avatar for Mattfabb
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Maria212:
@ Mattfabb – Many thanks for your email. When you were reading about your topic did you used to read books from cover to cover or did you used to do selective reading…? And if you don’t mind me asking how many books did you used to read each week…? I am a part time student and do selective reading from about 5 books but I have found it exhausting and quite challenging as I like to spend more time understanding what I am reading as opposed to just reading for the sake of it but at the same time I feel as though I am not doing enough….!! Any insight you can give me on how you approached your literature review would be very useful to me. Hope you can help. I’m finding it a daunting task!!!


Hi Maria

I like reading and I think, to an extent, that I spent too much time reading at the beginning of my PhD. Always be selective with your reading. I think that you need to read stuff that is pertinent to your field, and try to see if there is anything that you can see that has not been addressed yet. You should be reading with a purpose: see what has been said, and, more importantly, where you can make a contribution.

So: read a whole book from cover to cover if you must, but only if you are looking for evidence that can lead you to think further about your topic.

The problem for me was that I kept reading without really knowing what I was looking for, so everytime I read something, I would get sidetracked, and it would take me a week to get back to what I was originally looking for. ALWAYS ask yourself, as you are reading "how is this useful for my project?". Can you use some quotes to strenghten your argument, or as a target against which you can aim your criticism?

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