Academic common room
Some PhD advice - Humanities
MercedesDeMonteChristo · 28/09/2018 20:13
I thought about posting in Student Parents but I think I actually need advice from academics.
I am about to start putting together my proposal for a PhD project. The problem is that I have a two main ideas which are not really related to each other. I am wondering if it is the done thing or the wisdom of applying with both proposals to different institutions.
Project 1: is time contingent due to the methodology and in an under researched area that has a reasonable chance of attracting funding (as much as such a thing can have a reasonable chance) as the topic is current and there is a good amount of related research but this is a different angle and it is not saturated and has lots of interdisciplinary opportunities and some possibility for engagement outside the university. In terms of future career there are lots of directions that it could move in. It leads on from my MA thesis and could eventually lead back to deeper research from my MA. I really feel passionately about this project and have had good feedback from the academics that I have spoken to and one who would be willing to supervise. It's exciting and will build a great skill set. This project is ambitious and very exciting but I keep questioning whether I have what it takes to pull it off.
Project 2: is a more traditional project in an area that has been written about a lot, the literature is huge. This project would represent a new and interesting take on the existing research but it is a topic that is hard to say anything particularly new about. It is a project that links to my BA dissertation and more recently to work with a particular methodology where I have developed the idea further and it has moved on significantly. There is one institution that I would be keen to explore this further at. I think because it is a saturated field that it would be unlikely to attract funding. This project is not time contingent at all. But I know I could produce something great from it and I feel very confident with the topic, where I can go with it etc.
The two areas are not really linked. I have a good degree and my Masters looks set to produce good results pending my dissertation equaling the rest of my work on the course and my MA was funded based on my research but I can't help thinking that I am somehow pretending and not really capable of option 1.
My question really is whether I could apply to the two institutions for option 1 but as a sort of back up apply to a third institution with different funding options with option 2. Would it be weird or frowned upon to do this?
Deianira · 28/09/2018 21:20
You can apply to multiple institutions with slightly different proposals - although usually not to the later stages of research council funding with more than one proposal. However, honestly, I am not sure why you would do this. It seems clear to me that project 1 is, certainly in your eyes, by far the stronger and more interesting project (and the way you describe it makes it seem that you can sell it as such, as well). Why not apply to all three institutions with project 1, rather than submitting a weaker proposal at the third institution? The imposter-syndrome 'I can't manage it!' thoughts are often a really difficult part of applying and proposing in academia, but you have to try and overrule them - and certainly not let them make your decision for you! Don't sell yourself short anywhere - academics have told you that they think it's a workable project, your earlier work contributes to it anyway, and most importantly it's your idea. Surely no one can do it if you can't?
MercedesDeMonteChristo · 29/09/2018 08:07
Thanks, that is encouraging. I think I know this really and I know that project 2 is something I can come back to either academically or otherwise, it has some potential for other things but really doesn’t have to be now.
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