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Has anyone done an EdD? Or prepared to offer general thoughts on progression to a doctorate?

(18 Posts)
MaybeDoctor Tue 30-Jun-15 21:13:15

I have a recent MA in an education-related field and am thinking of progressing to a doctorate. My first thought was to apply for an ESRC studentship, but I have found it difficult to get my proposal to the right point in the appropriate timeframe. I ran it past a proposed supervisor and they thought the same - potential, but not ready for a competitive process. Not because I am incapable - but really because I feel that I haven't quite hit on the right topic.

My options are:

Apply for an MRres at another institution, do one or two modules and hope that clarifies my thinking. My own institution is not offering the MRes course this year, sadly. Maybe apply for ESRC funding next time round.

Put forward an application for a self-funded doctorate, in the hope that the first year of the process helps me to clarify my topic. Self fund and give up hope of ESRC funding.

Apply for an EdD at my institution. This is looking quite attractive as a structured route to a doctoral qualification. It is also designed around part-time study. Courses + a 20,000 word short study + 45,000 word thesis.

The reasons I want to do a doctorate are:

I feel I am not 'finished'
I want to feel as if I have gone as far as I possibly can
I feel that the title would help me in future years, possibly in doing consultancy either in the UK or overseas
I am interested in opening up the possibility of working on funded evaluations/research programmes - possibly in the third sector or private sector.

I have a part-time job in the field that I would continue alongside my study, all being well. My job is quite 'well connected' with lots of useful contacts, so the consultancy or research route is fairly possible for me.

I don't particularly want to go into academia, be a lecturer or anything of the kind.

So has anyone done an EdD? Would it meet my needs? Or would the more traditional route of the PhD be better?

Many thanks.

MaybeDoctor Tue 30-Jun-15 21:15:26

Forgot to say, the EdD is advertised as being possible in four years and apparently, from asking the provider, the current cohort are mostly going to complete in that time. This is looking quite attractive.

Whereas PhD appears to be five years at the very least.

northcoastmum Tue 30-Jun-15 21:16:46

I haven't done an EdD, but will watch with interest as I loved my doing my MEd and would like to do further study/research at some stage. Unlike you, I'm not actually sure it would make much difference to my 'career' so it's not something I'll rush into doing at this stage.

Also watching with interest...

(Sorry to be no help!)

JeanneDeMontbaston Tue 30-Jun-15 21:47:35

I wouldn't do a self-funded PhD, and I wouldn't go into a PhD hoping I'll clarify my thoughts as I go. I know people who did both and they found it a depressing slog. One has a job (not in her preferred career) and the other is working for minimum wage and trying to hide the fact her CV now looks a mess (that might not be a problem for you, being part time, though?). I know with both of them it really knocked their confidence and enjoyment, so I have a fairly negative view.

I don't quite follow why you need as long as a year to clarify what you're doing, either? Maybe someone on here could help you figure it out faster? I mean, obviously projects change, but if it is something you genuinely want to do and are interested in finding out about, it ought to be possible to troubleshoot the proposal and see what the issue is.

Themoonornot Tue 30-Jun-15 22:07:47

Hmmm...looking at your reasons:

I feel I am not 'finished'
- but you don't have to continue right now.

I want to feel as if I have gone as far as I possibly can
- as above!

I feel that the title would help me in future years, possibly in doing consultancy either in the UK or overseas
- maybe - but it's not necessary for either. Consultancy can mean many things...what, more specifically, are you interested in doing?

I am interested in opening up the possibility of working on funded evaluations/research programmes - possibly in the third sector or private sector - you don't need a PhD of any type for this - many people get into it with a first degree / masters with some research methods content.

Have you done much research? What is it about several years of pure research that appeals?

I agree definitely agree with the above poster: I wouldn't do a self-funded PhD, and I wouldn't go into a PhD hoping I'll clarify my thoughts as I go. Especially if your supervisor doesn't think you are ready. Many great, supervisor-supported proposals fail to get ESRC funding, because it's competitive. I wonder if they are just trying to let you know you're not ready, for any kind of doctorate, full stop?

I also wonder why you are being told the PhD takes five years? The expectation is increasingly that it's three years with a possible writing up year, max, where I am...

Just wondering also what your current job / background is, and whether you enjoy your work / want a change? If the latter, there are other ways of doing that than a PhD...

JeanneDeMontbaston Tue 30-Jun-15 22:09:13

She's doing it part time, though - I think that's why 5 years.

(But otherwise very much agree with you.)

MaybeDoctor Tue 30-Jun-15 23:09:36

Yes, would be doing it pt.

Have a professional background in education, both as a practitioner and in other contexts.

Have already done an MA with some research methods training plus a dissertation based on empirical research, however I know that is not sufficient in itself to work as a researcher - should I want to do so.

Job is great, but that and home responsibilities take up a lot of time/headspace. I respond well to some kind of institutional contact, tuition or supervision, which is why I thought of doing the MRes modules why I develop my ideas.

I want to continue, but if only I knew the best direction!

P.S. I am not in the first flush of youth, hence time being an issue!

MaybeDoctor Tue 30-Jun-15 23:13:00

Supervisor's comments were in relation to developing a proposal under a tight timescale, not general weakness. My 'transcript' is good and I was encouraged to publish from my MA dissertation, so I think that neither my work nor general ability is the issue.

JeanneDeMontbaston Tue 30-Jun-15 23:15:31

YY, I didn't mean to suggest your work or ability was at issue.

I just don't follow why it'd take a year to get the proposal together.

MaybeDoctor Wed 01-Jul-15 06:45:56

More that I feel that I want to do more reading/thinking etc to come to a topic where I say 'yes, I really, really want to research that'. But to do so in the context of also learning something useful around research skills.

I have not been studying this year and fully intended to work all this out, but work, family, relationship problems have all expanded to fill the space - whereas when I do have some kind of face-to-face contact I am pretty diligent. So therefore the structured route of the EdD appeals.

MaybeDoctor Wed 01-Jul-15 06:47:43

Any views on the routes that I have suggested?

Themoonornot Wed 01-Jul-15 09:18:39

My understanding is that the EdD is much more practice-based and focussed, and has to link to your work? - whereas a PhD can be anything. Have you considered applying for PhDs advertised for specific projects, to carry out other people's work? Much more directed and structured.

I wonder, though: do you want to do a PhD, or have a PhD?

MaybeDoctor Wed 01-Jul-15 14:11:19

I do look out for those, but they are not very common in my field and the ones that have come up have been not quite right for me or geographically remote.

MaybeDoctor Wed 01-Jul-15 14:18:09

Do or have?

Well, it's a bit of both! I don't think my precise motivation is hugely important as long as I get it done - it is not like getting ordained!

I am fully aware from reading Postgrad Forum and other sites that there are people out there doing PhDs who, from what they write online, appear to be less literate, less motivated and less organised than I am - so I definitely think I am capable of it.

lljkk Sun 05-Jul-15 15:09:03

"because I feel that I haven't quite hit on the right topic."

then don't proceed, yet. The right topic is crucial, it's a nightmare to try to change or juggle directions about what your research question is. You'll have enough battles with finding that the specific research methods might need juggling.

What is the PhD going to achieve for you, long term?

MaybeDoctor Wed 08-Jul-15 09:22:44

Will keep thinking.
Thanks for all contributions.

Whichplace Fri 10-Jul-15 19:27:35

I'm currently doing an EdD (about to go into year 3 of 5). One thing I would say is that it is very different from a convential PhD so,with the greatest of respect a lot of the advice you've received already isn't actually relevant.

I'm really enjoying it, it's a lot of hard work and difficult to fit around work (plus I've just had ds1 so that adds an extra challenge!). I've also,done a complete change of topic and supervisor at the beginning of year 2 so I wouldn't worry about not being completely fixed on a research question just yet. The one piece of advice would be to make sure it is very closely related to your professional work as otherwise it does become really hard to fit in. By doing this an awful lot of your reading and data gathering can fit into what you would be doing anyway at work, just obviously a lot more focused!

Again don't worry too much about having a specific career goal in mind. I'm seeing this as a way of developing my professional knowledge and skills and becoming an 'expert' in my area. Hopefully this will open some interesting doors, but if not I'm perfectly happy to just carry on teaching and being damn good at what I do!

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