PhD support thread

(6 Posts)
chinamoon Tue 29-Jul-14 10:05:19

Hi,

Came on to see if there was one, as I couldn't find a current one online. Saw ocelot's PMT thread and thought maybe we could come on here and cheer each other on, let off steam, give advice etc.

I'm just coming up to my 2nd year AP, about to go into yr 3 and am terrified I won't pass Yr2. I'm doing a practise based research project. the practise has gone fine (but still needs that final year push.) But now I have to show 5k of academic critical commentary alongside and I'm stalling. I thought this would be the easy bit. I loved academic writing during my BA (decades ago) but my head is so full of data, I can't find a way in.

Supervisor has suggested one area of exploration for this chapter submission. But even though it's an area I know well, I just can't find a way into it. Panicking. DH took DC out on Sunday so I'd have a day clear and I just stared at the walls. A friend who completed in same field a couple of years ago sent me her academic paper and it was so startlingly good and flawless that I just got dizzy trying to match it with my rough first draft.

OK that's my whinge. What's yours? smile

ladybyron Tue 29-Jul-14 14:01:19

Can I bookmark a place on this thread? Thanks for setting it up china moon.
I will be starting a PhD in English lit in Sept. Don't know what quite to expect, but gather it can be quite a lonely and stressful experience....

TheWanderingUterus Wed 30-Jul-14 13:09:54

Hello, I'm just at the end of my first PT year of my PhD.

It's been the steepest learning curve ever, but it has been years since I did my MA so I had forgotten LOADS.

My time management needs a lot of work as does my note taking and management. Has anyone got any tips or ideas, I feel like I am always stressed and overrunning deadlines and drowning in a sea of paper!

I have a few weeks now to sort it out and get myself a system.

chinamoon Wed 30-Jul-14 23:34:59

Wandering I was given a great tip about note taking if you do it by hand (can also do it on computer but tiny bit fiddlier) Buy a set of different coloured pens.
Use one colour for quotes, one for quotes within quotes (e.g. you've found the relevant stuff from someone else's quote/ref to them.) Another for précising other people's ideas and a fourth for your own ideas that spring from the research. Sounds like a faff but you soon get used to swapping pens or highlighting text and changing its colour on the laptop. And it is SO much easier when you come to write up.

Also (and I know you know this but it's worth saying) do citations, quotations and bibliography as you go along, even in the roughest notes and stuff you don't think you'll use again. If I'm typing up and refer to a book I have at home, I still add the foot note and just write in caps INSERT REF HERE so it's easy to find later. Saves hours. And hours.

Had a better day today. Yesterday ended on a high with an invite to give a paper at a conference. First I've applied for as my work until now has been practice-led. Very excited and a bit nervous as it's a conference not in my field but in a related field.

TheWanderingUterus Thu 31-Jul-14 12:17:28

Thanks Chinamoon, I am definitely going to give the pen thing a go, that's a good idea.

I had to learn the quotations thing the hard way. 247 references from three full box files of notes. Which is when I realised I needed a new system grin.

chinamoon Thu 31-Jul-14 16:57:26

Hi Ladybyron. Congratulations. I was thinking today (would be interested to know if anyone else agrees) that good advice for anyone starting out would be to aim to complete your research by the end of the second year (or PT equiv) because you really need that final year to reflect on it and work out exactly what you want to say now you have done all that research; then how to say it; then who to quote and finally how to say it edited to read really fluently. Don't assume final year is a research year. Mine won't be.

I've started saying 'No' to my supervisor when she comes at me with searches of 77 more journal articles on a subject which takes up five pages max in the overall thesis.

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