Negative PhD Feedbacks. Only 4 months left

posted
15-Mar-19, 15:06
edited about 12 seconds later
by Yehia
Avatar for Yehia
posted about 5 months ago
Hello

I am in my writing up year, that is the final year with no other possibility for an extension.

So far the plan has been set for me to submit my final versions of my PhD chapters and every time I get devastating feedback that seem to consistently miss my points. The issue has always been of "clarity" which is something I understand partly due to me being a non-native speaker and partly because of the topic of my thesis.

I am a self-funded student having paid 47000 £ to date and the notion of me failing gives me suicidal thoughts (this shouldn't necessarily be taken literally) having my family hopes right at the back of my head.

Shall I interrupt my studies claiming extenuating circumstances such as lack of funds or just continue with my struggles to the point of no return and see what happens.

I don't know.

This is a very negative thread but I need help, advice....etc

Thank you
posted
18-Mar-19, 12:07
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 5 months ago
Do you supervisors have problems with the work or the writing? If you can explain your research verbally to them and they agree that the work is good, you will be fine. Your writing just needs improving and you can try many things to improve that. There are plenty of Dr's out there that had trouble writing up and it is a common problem so don't give up.

If it is the actual work, I would have a sit down with your supervisors and have an honest chat about what you need to do. Work out what needs work, what is good and how long it will take. Make a plan and then decide if you want to quit.
posted
18-Mar-19, 16:55
edited about 22 seconds later
by Yehia
Avatar for Yehia
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From rewt:
Do you supervisors have problems with the work or the writing? If you can explain your research verbally to them and they agree that the work is good, you will be fine. Your writing just needs improving and you can try many things to improve that. There are plenty of Dr's out there that had trouble writing up and it is a common problem so don't give up.

If it is the actual work, I would have a sit down with your supervisors and have an honest chat about what you need to do. Work out what needs work, what is good and how long it will take. Make a plan and then decide if you want to quit.


I think the whole problem pertains to something i read somewhere else that more often the problem is not one of fluency but of progress. The project, they claim, gives a general feeling to being "very impressive" (to quote both of them) but not clear enough to give such concept the solid grounds appropriate for a research seeking completion. Honestly the very notion that my "lack of clarity" may just owe to the fact the my language does no more but obfuscate gaps in research kills me. To attain "clarity" in this case posits itself as no more but approaching the impostor part of me. I am considering an interruption to my studies more in the way of being first true to myself than reasoning over some sort of a genius-complex.
posted
18-Mar-19, 22:34
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 5 months ago
So the overall work and conclusions are good, which is good. I would take that as a massive positive and use that to help justify your worth. It sounds like you have something like impostor syndrome were you doubt you if you are good enough for a PhD. I have had it and I dismissed all my achievements as no good enough or flukes. But embracing the positive words from your supervisors could help motivate you to finish.

With the thesis, do you have a clear structure? You might be able to find the gaps by plotting out each chapter and the key points. By simplifying it you might be able to find the gaps yourself or with the help of your supervisors so you know were you need to improve.
posted
28-Mar-19, 17:19
by Yehia
Avatar for Yehia
posted about 5 months ago
Have just had my interruption authorized for 7 months. No, the overall work "feels" promising for them but the orientation of the argument is unclear. More like a loose research lacking structure that cannot reach a state when it could be submitted as complete. I am quiet concerned however that they keep stressing on me not conducting any research on my break, when in fact my main reason was not only to take some rest but to radically sort out the milestones of my thesis. I understand I am not allowed to contact my supervisors with regards to anything that has to do with my studies during my interruption, but they definitely don't mean that I should not be found out to have done any progress on my break. or do they?
posted
31-Mar-19, 03:55
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for newlease36
posted about 5 months ago
No they won't know if you work on your thesis and why would they mind if it progressed the work.

It sounds like, from your post, you have the meat (ie results), you just need a clear theoretical framework, i.e a rationale for the work that fits with your findings and your interpretation of the findings.

My advice is to take 1-2 months completely off. go on holiday, visit friends, try a new hobby you have been putting off. a complete switch off. then come back to it, maybe just 4 hours in morning, 5 days a week to for the first month. and do some reading that would help find a clear theoretical framework, within which to situate your work.

I feel if you don't take a break, a good clean break, you will just go around in circles of stress, confusion and burnout. I pretty much have done that myself. breaks are vital sometimes.

I think Rewt's advice is very good, regarding, writing out in clear bullet points, (just for your own clarity of mind) the key points of each chapter. I think aim of chapter, methods of chapter, rationale for method of chapter, findings, interpretation of findings, is helpful, but you might need a different guide for more theoretical chapters. One thing someone said to me and it sounds so simple, is that the examiner needs to be 'hit' with a clear, 'this is what I did_ this is why i did it_ this what I found_ ' this needs to be clear, very clear.

You need to show them, you know what you did, you had clear reasons for doing it that particular way and you have a clear and consistent reason for interpreting your findings in the manner you did.

they may read your thesis, some late night, while having a head cold, and distracted because their kid is sick and due to other work/life demands, and if it seems unclear, they may just decide you don't know what your doing.
posted
31-Mar-19, 17:11
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 5 months ago
Take some time off. Long term stress seriously affects your abilities and you don't realise it. 7 months is a long time but you can find a temporary job, rebuild your life and not have to constantly worry. I would recommend tidying up your notes and take 3-4 months off. Like a 1-2 months before you restart, you make your theoretical framework like newlease suggested. If you build your thesis on a good foundation the rest should be easy.

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