This short post is by Dr Danya Hodgetts, sport manager, lecturer and researcher and reflects on an issue which eventually will afflict us all… We’ve all been there. Go on, admit it. You’re working away solidly on your PhD and then starting to daydream… about being a doctor. About how life-changing those two little letters […]
Recently @indecisionpersonified asked me a question in the Thesis Whisperer feedback forum: “… I have just moved continents and been accepted into a PhD program and have six free months before I start. I was wondering whether you had any advice to give people like me on how best to use the time before starting […]
Jerry Booth is a sociologist who was a Head and Faculty Director in departments of art, design and media until joining a medical school. He is particularly interested in the organisation of learning through practice, and is writing a PhD on how learning outcomes are translated through the curriculum into clinical placements. The title of […]
This post was written by Linda Murray who recently submitted her PhD on Maternal Mental Health in Central Vietnam through Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Her thesis was completed on nine desks, in four cities and two countries. She now lives in Hobart, Tasmania and works part-time at the University of Tasmania teaching Global […]
Last month one of my dearest friends had a fatal heart attack while sitting at her computer at home. She was only 54. Flick (whom I never once called by her actual name, Felicity Jones) was 12 years older than me and, although I never thought about it this way when she was alive, she […]
There is no post this week because I’ve been at the UK council for graduate education’s international conference on developments in doctoral education and Training, filling up my sporran with all kinds of new ideas. I’m running two student workshops while I’m here, at the University of Edinburgh and at Herriot Watt University. Hope to […]
I have a friend, let’s call her Jenny.
Jenny is about six months into her degree and just beginning to discover the true extent of the literature which might be relevant to her topic. By which I mean – she’s completely and utterly freaking out.
At the start of her journey Jenny read a few things her supervisor suggested and then went off exploring. She did all the right things. Her journey started with a meeting with the subject librarian who taught her how the databases in her area worked and how to use Google Scholar properly (not everything is in there, just so you know). She learned how keywords work and, most importantly in my view, how to do citation searches. Jenny trawled through the databases and discovered a vast amount of stuff which, although it was interesting, seemed only peripherally related to her topic.
She read the literature she found, discussed ideas with her supervisors and some of her peers, wrote a bit, then read some more. Her ideas about her thesis changed; becoming more sophisticated and thoughtful. As she read on she started to recognise the same names started appearing in the bibliographies. She started to see how people were linked together in skeins of thought. Being a social type of person she did a bit of academic networking and started to know, socially, some of the people who wrote those papers. This made her feel more confident. Comfortable even. Part of the community.
Until she downloaded THAT paper.
This post is by Evelyn Tsitas, who is, amongst other things, completing a PhD at RMIT about werewolves, vampires and the nature of being human (yes, I have Topic Envy). The idea for this post emerged when we were having lunch one day and I complained that some of my academic colleagues didn’t like blogs […]
This post is by Cassily Charles from Charles Sturt University – a fellow thesis Whisperer. Cassily is the academic writing coordinator for Higher Degree Research Students in the CSU Academic Support Unit. Cassily discusses misunderstandings about writing style and how they can lead to conflict between students and supervisors. This post is enlightening to me as an educator – I hope you will be enlightened too.
This is a story about a doctoral student named Laura (a real person, but not her real name) and how she came to pull her hair out (well a few hairs anyway).
Laura began her PhD this year and really hit the ground running – within a few weeks, she was giving her supervisors many many pages about the literature on her topic. Laura’s supervisors are conscientious, organised and well-intentioned. They gave her masses of feedback on her drafts, with many helpful comments about content, style and structure, including comments such as: ‘good observation – now relate this to an over-all argument’ and ‘engage critically with these definitions’.
This is where things went wrong and Laura pulled some hairs out…
Last week @lanceb147 contacted me on Twitter looking for advice on doing a PhD part time. @lanceb147 is not alone. There’s a surprising number of students doing their PhD part time. At RMIT where I used to work 50% of research students were enrolled part time and this institutional profile is not unusual in Australia. Some are self funded students from the beginning; others have been forced to take up part time study after their scholarship rans out.
Many academics have the impression that part time students are troublesome and take ages to finish, but a study by Pearson et al (see reference below) showed that students who study part time for their whole degree finish sooner and have better results than full time students. Clearly they are doing something right!
I did my research masters over three years part time and worked for 2 days a week for all but 6 months of my PhD. So I know a lot about managing study part time – for me. If there’s anything I have learned about PhD study in all my years of whisperering it’s that everyone is different. So I asked on Twitter if part time students would share their time management secrets with me – and what a rich treasure trove of information they gave me!
I reckon part time students could teach full time students a thing or two about how to manage a long term research project. I have enough from my Twitter conversations for about ten posts, but I will confine myself here to five