How not to get a PhD

Interesting summary of what NOT to do. Came across this book today in an old issue of The Guardian (from 2002). Below is the ‘action summary’ copied from the book.

Be aware of the seven ways of not getting a PhD:
· not wanting a PhD; · overestimating what is required; · underestimating what is required; · having a supervisor who does not know what is required; · losing contact with your supervisor; · not having a ‘thesis’ (i.e. position, argument) to maintain; · taking a new job before completing.

Work to understand the implications of these traps fully in your own situation and determine not to succumb to them.

Re-establish your determination regularly when blandishments to stray from your programme of work recur.

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Research Methods for Business Students

I found this book from my MBA days and am using it to describe my Methodology in the Proposal.  I haven’t seen many other books about the subject so I can’t benchmark it, but I found this useful and easy to follow.  I also think the structure is suitable for referring to separate sections as and when they’re needed.

The one I have is the 3rd edition.  I will probably borrow the 5th edition from a library to see the updates.

It’s not cheap! Amazon link here.

Theory is Everything

After weeks of ‘research’ I was struggling to understand the link of management systems to theory. I was to write a Theoretical Framework section in my proposal. Why? What’s the point? What’s that got to do with the real world? Questions I usually fired at Consultants over the past many years.

Yesterday, at 9:19 in the morning while having a late breakfast (it was a weekend before you judge) my wife explained it all to me. It wasn’t the first time she explained it, but it was the first time I listened. I have been wearing the practitioner’s hat, or for the engineer in me the bloody hard hat, and have forgotten the role academics play in looking at the theoretical side of our world. Reflecting and describing patterns and causes and solutions after painstakingly studying their surroundings. I admire it, but I highly doubt I actually understand it. It’s going to be a fun journey.

The dreaded proposal document is almost complete. Applications begin this week.

Proposal? I’m down on both knees!

The Literature Review is more of a challenge than I had anticipated. I’ve never read a book in one day and this week I’ve done it twice! Not sure whether to be impressed or concerned.

My amazing wife is helping me with this part. I need my proposal finalized soon so I can start taking control of my life again and actually apply for a place.

The Proposal

This is step one and not one I can simply bypass. It’s the heart of any application not only from the point of view of presenting what I intend to do for my PhD, but also to crystalise it in my own mind. I’m happy with the subject and I’m sure of its merit – but I need to commit it to paper. It needs to flow and make sense to someone other than my wife and best friend.

It’s time to shut away from the world. Reread the research methods books and contact some people to see if I can negotiate access to collect data. It’s exciting if only for having a clear objective for the next few weeks. I have to be ready to apply by the end of this month!