New to Full-time PhD

(6 Posts)
KosmoKramer Fri 10-Jun-16 10:22:17

I enrolled on a full-time PhD on 1st of June. It's a social work PhD, and a graduate teaching assistant post, so comes with full student stipend. I had some of my Masters research published last year and the PhD will allow me to build on this and expand my research area / sample.

I have my first supervisory meeting next week. We are currently still on school holidays here so making the transition from working to full-time studying from home (with frolicking children) is proving harder than I thought.

Am I right in thinking that, prior to my supervision, I just need to be re-visiting my previous literature review and reading new publications in the field? I'm also trying to get my head around the Philosophy angle also so am reading around this also. I've also booked on to various one-day refresher courses within the uni, such as Endnote etc.

Any advice or tips most welcome.

BravoHopeful Fri 10-Jun-16 10:31:03

Hi there, and congratulations. I've just submitted my doctoral thesis, and waiting for viva. I would say that the important thing to be doing now is thinking about your research questions. Presumably you had a research topic in mind - for the application to be accepted you'd need that, I think?

So, I would say you need to have the working title of your thesis (which might change as your research progresses), a hypothesis that your research is going to investigate, and the three or four main research questions (which are likely to translate to chapters of the thesis) that you are going to investigate, along with an idea of what research materials & methods you'll use to carry out that investigation.

That way you'll have a much more meaningful discussion with your supervisor.

KosmoKramer Fri 10-Jun-16 11:01:31

Thanks Bravo!

I co-wrote the PhD REF application for funding with my supervisor, therefore I know exactly what I am intending to research. I think my first deadline is in about three months time when I have to submit my proposal.

I will start to have a read around the research methods also, as whilst I understand how / why I'll be conducting the research I cannot recall any literature I have read!

Did you study full-time? I was wondering what the expectation of working hours were...am I meant to be working 35 hours a week, 52 weeks a year? How did you find your time management?

BravoHopeful Fri 10-Jun-16 11:28:18

I started full-time with several interruptions (maternity leaves and special circumstances) and then switched to part time. So it took a lot longer than I envisaged.

Not sure about sociology as I was humanities. Working hours were very much left to me. I think a lot depends on how focused/clear you are about what your research is. I got 80% of my thesis done very efficiently and the remaining 20% took bloody ages - because, with hindsight, I hadn't outlined it clearly enough at the start.

I found that with all supervisor meetings it was very much up to me to put forward what I was doing/working on, and get supervisor's feedback, rather than them setting the agenda IYSWIM. So the more prep you do for the meeting, setting out what you intend to do and when, the more useful it is as then you get really targeted feedback. Took me a while to work that out, so really useful to start off that way I think!

Right, off to continue rereading my thesis for the viva. Never mind forgetting the literature, I seem to have forgotten what I've written about it!

KosmoKramer Fri 10-Jun-16 11:31:18

Good luck with the Viva and thank you very much for your tips. I have just ordered Rowena Murray's book so hopefully this will break down the journey for me into achievable segments.

emmaluvseeyore Sun 12-Jun-16 16:41:09

I'm on my last month of thesis writing. I'm a climate scientist, so can't help with the specifics of your field. In terms of hours, I was fully funded for 3.5 years, but it's actually taken me an extra year to write up. I've really struggled with mental health issues throughout, which is why it's taken me so long to finish. I was expected to do 37.5 hours per week, but I was entitled to the same amount of holiday as the staff. My supervisor expected me to be in the office every weekday. In the last year, I've mostly worked from home as I can't afford the travel costs to get into the office. I pretty much worked normal office hours so I could still have a life away from my PhD. I'm glad I did that throughout otherwise my mental health would've been even worse!

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