Small World

I will be finalising my registration tomorrow and getting my library card. I am very excited to be able to work in an area where I am surrounded by thousands of books.

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Two big events this week: Meeting my supervisors tomorrow, and having my induction onto the PhD programme on Thursday. When I was informed about my induction, the email introduced Prof Mark Saunders as the Director of Postgraduate. The name rang a bell but I only scratched my head when I read his research area of Research Methods. The book I recommended last October when I was writing my proposal, has been written by him! Small small world.

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How to get a PhD

I mentioned this book before when I came across it in an article in The Guardian’s archives.  After reading ‘Authoring a PhD’ I wanted a book that described the process of research and what doing a PhD involves, rather than just writing the thesis.  This is without doubt an excellent reference if you’re looking for an overall description of virtually everything.  For example, it sheds light on the vagueness associated with words such as ‘originality’ and describes how a ‘Literature Review’ should be made relevant – something I noticed missing in some of the theses I’ve been scanning.  Another chapter I found very useful is the one about the relationship with the supervisor(s).

It gets great reviews on Amazon and I agree that it’s an excellent start – and companion – to anyone doing a PhD.  I read the older edition (my wife found it among her books from her PhD days).  The current one is the fifth and you can find it here and there is a Kindle version too.

Authoring a PhD

Having read the many positive reviews this book gets on Amazon, I thought it was time I had a look at it before my reading time becomes more focussed on my research. I’m still not 100% sure about my place on a programme but it’s looking good and my offer letter will be with me ‘in the next few weeks’ according to Admissions.

This book, in my opinion, is a little too long. I find myself skipping paragraphs and sections. Having said that, if I had to remove a section I would find it difficult to choose – so this is probably an unfair criticism. The chapter summaries are very useful if, like me, you’re looking for a quick read. It is very well written and covers everything about ‘authoring’ hence the title. It’s not a book about doing a PhD which is probably what I need to be reading at this stage. It’s more about the thesis itself and research planning. I need to know/learn more about the actual process, expectations of and from supervisors.

Amazon link and there is also a Kindle edition

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.

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.