Need advice on the thesis

posted
02-Aug-18, 10:39
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
Hello people (those who have already done their thesis),

My PhD work is all higgledy-piggledy. Instead of it being like Study 1 is the foundation for Study 2 and 3, which lead on nicely from it, making it a coherent and interesting read, as I had planned... it is more like: Study 1 is a good foundation for Study 2 and 3, but then for some reason Study 2 and Study 3 don't really pay attention to what was learnt in Study 1...

This happened because I went back to Study 1 and re-analysed it and made it so much better - but by then it was too late to change Study 2 and 3 (one of which was an experiment / intervention) so that they would be informed by it... so as the reader, I can't help thinking "hmm, why did she do this when she found this in Study 1? Surely she should have done THIS instead...".

In other words, it lacks coherence when you try to understand it as a linear succession of studies.

I've thought about maybe putting an introductory note that explains that although Study 1 is labelled as Study 1, it is actually a renanalysis that happened when the data for Study 2 and 3 were already collected. Could this work?

I'm going to ask my supervisor too of course but any advice appreciated.

Thanks!
posted
02-Aug-18, 11:54
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 2 months ago
Then perhaps leave the original study 1 in place and add after concluding study 2/3 that study 1 fault/flaws can be addressed by x leading to y which could be futher studied to indicate x, y and z ??
posted
02-Aug-18, 11:56
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 2 months ago
If you can don't go back and change things and just put the finished 'glossy' results into your thesis. Your phd is a body of work you carry out and what you learn through your studies. Your supervisor should help you.
posted
02-Aug-18, 12:26
edited about 5 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
So it sounds like the reanalyzed study one is very good, which is why you want to keep it.

So can you say that your methodology for studies 2&3 proves that you should use the methodology from study1. With a section explaining that 2&3 had to be started before you fully analysed 1, therefore using the results of 2&3 to partially validate 1. It might make it more coherent but at the expense of demeaning the results of 2&3.
posted
02-Aug-18, 12:55
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
OK, the message here seems to be transparency. That makes sense. I am doing an alternative format thesis though, where the three (or four depending on how you look at it) studies are written up as papers in their own right (in paper format - not necessarily published or publishable). So, how do I get this kind of narrative in? A little section before each paper explaining? Or maybe a bit in the Introduction that explains the planned sequence of studies and then states that an additional analysis was done after the planned studies were complete, and this is at the end of the thesis?
posted
02-Aug-18, 15:20
edited a moment later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
I don't know if this is applicable but i have seen a thesis where he had 4 published papers and his chapters were like;

Chapter X
Paper abstract
Preview (explained why he did it and experimental issues and reviewers feedback)
The paper copied and pasted
Discussion (talked about how paper fitted into his overall PhD project)

Though this was engineering and he had fully published the papers
posted
02-Aug-18, 15:37
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
Hmm, this is helpful because it shows me that I can put some sort of commentary in my thesis. The only theses I've seen are either a set of chapters or papers with no explanations about development and feedback in them. Mine is going to need something like this in order to make sense.
posted
03-Aug-18, 09:40
edited about 3 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 months ago
Hi. I would agree with kikothedog. Study1 (1st version) then study 2 and 3 were based on it. At conclusion or just before it, the reanalysed study 1. Also try tp publish the new analysis of study 1 in a paper.
posted
03-Aug-18, 11:39
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
Thank you eng77. The original version of Study 1 was rejected from a journal. I could have just submitted it elsewhere, but I preferred to take on board the criticisms and go back to the drawing board and make it better. Do you think it could be worth putting the reviewers comments in to show what led to the change in plan?
posted
03-Aug-18, 11:47
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
I can ask my supervisor about this as well.
posted
03-Aug-18, 13:22
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 months ago
Hello. I meant the better version of study 1 to submit. Anyway, you have already good reasons to change plans (the re-analysis which proved there were better ways to go than study 2 and study 3). In my opinion you should have a coherent thesis which is expected not to be perfect. I suggest you start with study 1 (original) and say it led to study 2 and study 3. After analysing the results, you can mention study 1 (modified version) and conclude that it " might" be better in further work to go "study 2(modified) and study3(modified).
In short, in thesis you just write a coherent "non perfect" thesis but in your viva you can say that you have analysed this and found better ways to do this but I am afraid they might recommend to redo experiments and resubmit? but hopefully not.
I heared from one PhD students that they like you to critise your work in viva and say it could have been better.
posted
03-Aug-18, 13:46
edited about 3 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
Thanks eng. Ah I now understand the format you are suggesting. Still, perhaps inserting the reviewers comments after Study 1 (original) would help explain the origins of the reanalysis later on. Will ask sup.

Thankfully, I've no issues with receiving criticism about my work, especially when I already recognize some of them and agree with them. I imagine that the viva will be an interesting discussion about the weaknesses of my work and how to do it better next time. I don't think they will ask me to redo any experiments as the experiment was an intervention in schools - it would take an awful long time to re do it... and it wasn't flawed as such - it still tells us something about the effect of x on y skills (i.e., that there doesn't seem to BE an effect when measured on these outcomes). It is only that in hindsight I would have designed it differently - mostly with the benefit of having seen that it didn't work (as well as having learnt more from the reanalysis of Study 1).

I wish I knew some examples of people who had a crap thesis (as indexed by the publish-ability of the research) and yet went on to be successful researchers. That's what's bothering me here. But that's for another thread I suppose!
posted
03-Aug-18, 14:08
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 months ago
Hi queen. I look forward to your topic about crap thesis and successful reseachers. By the way, you would be surprised that your thesis won't be crap at all. You may find yours ways above average. Believe me, very few theses are perfect.
posted
05-Aug-18, 02:52
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 months ago
Hi, Tudor_Queen,

Have you had a look at Dora Farkas's Finish Your Thesis on https://finishyourthesis.com/? Might be a handy resource for you.
posted
06-Aug-18, 14:14
edited a moment later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
Hi Tru, Thanks! I've had a quick look but will look better later. Is it for general tips on writing up?
Hope all's going well.

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