Starting PdD this September - any top tips?(10 Posts)
I have finally been brave and am starting my part time PdD in September! I am so excited I cant tell you!
Any top tips? Is there anything apt for a parent doing a PdD? Anything you wished you had done from the begining?
I am going to sound really silly, but what is a PdD?
Hit the ground running. don't put things off till later.
don't get pregnant!
Schedule in regular meetings with your supervisor.
Do all the reading around your research seminars.
keep a research diary.
Use a referencing tool like end note from the start and put in notes about each article you read
Treat it like a job and book holiday/time off and wear appropriate clothes (not pj's until you are in your final year!
Do as many Training sessions offered as possible
Keep a journal, you will need it for annual reports and to record the process in your thesis
Get the NuS discount card!
Good luck! What area/subject is it in?
I would also advise the above, including not having babies as from experience (I had three oops) and it was extremely hard!
If you are a parent you need to work out what time you can allocate to your studies and be efficient with your time. I found I had just evenings and one childcare afternoon each week so for part time study I could manage 15-25 hours a week. To accomplish this i needed to be really organised with lists of things to do and my own deadlines.
Find out early on what paperwork needs to be done for when, ie project approval, ethics approval, confirmation of candidature etc and note the meeting deadline dates for this paperwork. Aim to work towards these to keep on track.
A referencing system is essential as you will have lots of articles. Try to write notes on each article you read and its relevance to your work. File the paper or electronic copies in a logical order of subject and sub categories etc. Also as previously mentioned enter these onto a referencing software (endnote or refworks - provided free with uni access).
Keep log books of all of your data and meeting minutes, also you own thoughts about the direction of your project. These will show your PhD journey. These can be started now in the planning stage too. NB I used a couple of hardback A4 notebooks for mine.
Have a good PC/laptop with an external hard drive to back up onto. Back up your work regularly.
A PhD is a rollercoaster of mixed emotions and determination to get you through. It is common in the first year or so to feel overwhelmed and not really know what direction you are taking. Your research will evolve over this time bringing it to a very specific area and hypothesis.
A couple of books for interest I found useful were:
Estelle Phillips and Derek Pugh (2002) How to get a PhD
Stephen Marshall and Nick Green (2004) Your PhD Companion
Hope this helps!
Oh have an external hard drive, flash disks and an online storage system! You don't want to lose anything!
Thank you all so much!
Backing up the back ups is a must, and I hadnt thought of it!
I have an ongoing notebook with notes of seminars, meetings and things to do. Do you suggest different notebooks for meetings, research, journal etc or lumping it all in together? Do you have to show a journey as such or is it more for personal use?
The books for me serve as a log of data (lab work) aswell as my supervision notes, seminar notes and personal notes about my data/findings. They could be seperated, or chronologically. Mine are in the later form just so I was only carrying one book around at a time. One of my sups would look through my data and meeting notes during my supervisions and suggested ways of copyrighting the data etc. It was also his way of checking what lab work was being conducted and seeing what further plans I had. I think it is a personal choice.
Aha I see. I am doing archaeology without lab work, and I suspect progress will be in the form of handing in work.
Great tips everyone, thanks you.
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