PHD survival book recommendation

posted
28-Nov-17, 11:36
by Liah
Avatar for Liah
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi guys,
I've been planning to embark on my PhD Journey in computer science a year from now (once my hubby is finished with his). looking for some advice and book recommendations on PhD survival as I have plenty of free time at the moment. I know it wont be the case once I start my PhD while raising a young family. I had benefitted a lot from this forum during my Masters few years ago. So any advice, book recommendations at this stage will be valuable and very much appreciated. :)
Thanks.
posted
28-Nov-17, 15:50
Avatar for newlease36
posted about 2 weeks ago
I reccomend "how to write a thesis" by Rowen Murray. And also Writting for Academic journals" also by Rowen Murray.

I find these books very useful and go back to them often.

Best of luck!
posted
28-Nov-17, 22:57
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
Personally I wouldn't read any books at all about "PhD survival" because none of them will relate well to your specific PhD experience. Most importantly, nobody is a PhD expert anyway. You could ask 100 of us who already have our PhDs to wrote a book and you would have 100 completely different books.
To be honest I am not a big fan of these books and prefer to go woth gut instinct as I go through new experiences.
For me, PhD survival books belong in the trash can along with books on babies, general parenting and weddings. Just enjoy the experience and trust yourself that you will figure things out as you go.
posted
29-Nov-17, 09:02
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
I must say that often these books can sort of brainwash you into a particular view of being a PhD student that isn't healthy. I say that from experience of having read lots of them in my first year and only now in my third year realising that so much of what I read was utter rubbish. Written by people who had made it through and seemed to want to instill fear and create or perpetuate some sort of PhD student myth. Just my view and I cannot comment on those newlease has recommended. Some are more helpful than others - the more practical kind.

I came across this recently on the Yale website (not my university!) and found it super helpful:

There is some really useful and interesting stuff in it. For example: "Nothing elicits dominant behavior like subservient behavior. Expect and demand to be treated like a colleague." If I'd read that before I'd started, I'd have been a much happier PhD bunny!
posted
29-Nov-17, 10:37
edited about 19 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
I must say that often these books can sort of brainwash you into a particular view of being a PhD student that isn't healthy. I say that from experience of having read lots of them in my first year and only now in my third year realising that so much of what I read was utter rubbish. Written by people who had made it through and seemed to want to instill fear and create or perpetuate some sort of PhD student myth. Just my view and I cannot comment on those newlease has recommended. Some are more helpful than others - the more practical kind.

I came across this recently on the Yale website (not my university!) and found it super helpful:

There is some really useful and interesting stuff in it. For example: "Nothing elicits dominant behavior like subservient behavior. Expect and demand to be treated like a colleague." If I'd read that before I'd started, I'd have been a much happier PhD bunny!


There is some great advice in that article. There is some absolutely laughable tripe in there as well though. Just got to be careful what you read.
posted
29-Nov-17, 14:38
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 2 weeks ago
I found that the PhD books mentioned by newlease are very helpful. They provide a glimpse into the necessary frameworks that are expected in the different parts of the thesis product. It is good that you are preparing this far in advance. I also prepared 9 months before by gathering literature, making notes, learning about different methods. Due to that, I'm almost a year ahead of my colleagues, which helps if you plan on graduating earlier to save money/get into the job market. It is also helpful for you to learn different notetaking techniques and see which one works for you the best.
posted
29-Nov-17, 17:16
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago

There is some really useful and interesting stuff in it. For example: "Nothing elicits dominant behavior like subservient behavior. Expect and demand to be treated like a colleague." If I'd read that before I'd started, I'd have been a much happier PhD bunny!


What was absolute tripe in your view? I haven't read the whole thing yet. I liked the part I quoted though.
posted
29-Nov-17, 17:42
edited about 7 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:

There is some really useful and interesting stuff in it. For example: "Nothing elicits dominant behavior like subservient behavior. Expect and demand to be treated like a colleague." If I'd read that before I'd started, I'd have been a much happier PhD bunny!


What was absolute tripe in your view? I haven't read the whole thing yet. I liked the part I quoted though.


The part you quoted was great.
The author has managed to get a bit carried away in the sections entitled:
"Start publishing early" and "Publish regularly but not too much".
These two sections are ridiculous in my opinion and apply far too much pressure on the student. Although you really need to get published during the PhD, it should not be something you are thinking about early on. It IS possible to get academic jobs without much in the way of publishing so that is simply incorrect and unhelpful. The focus for a brand new PhD student should be to master an area they are interested in. They should not even be THINKING about publications and certainly not "as early as possible". The PhD is there to build the foundations of a career not decorate the apartment. In my opinion, academia is simply wrong to perpetuate this.

He also talks about getting published in "good journals". Again this is nonsense. There is no such thing as a "good journal". If you tell everyone people a specific journal is "good" for often enough people will believe it and send their work there. It's a self fulfilling prophecy which causes stress, anxiety and utter misery for countless generations of perfectly good researchers who should be spending their time producing excellent work instead of pissing their time away stressing over meaningless impact factors. Of course there is such a thing as a BAD journal but that is a different conversation.

Honestly between obsessing over university league tables and impact factors, I wonder whether there is room for commonsense in academia.

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