Stuck in the middle
A section on those dark years in the middle and how to survive them.
I gave a speech about “Getting through the PhD” about a month ago at the University of Glasgow. It was intense to stand there, talking to PhD students in their first year and give them advice….more like slices of life and experience.
Prof. Kevin O’gorman gives his top 10 hints on how to get published for the first time. It is way more accessible than you actually think.
Some important pointers on managing a career and undertaking a PhD.
If your research is of a qualitative nature, it is more than likely you will conduct an interview at some stage. For many PhD students, interviews constitute their primary source of data. Although it can be daunting at first, the process of carrying them out is often fun, rewarding and enlightening. Your skills as an interviewer will improve with experience, and you will become more confident and assured with each attempt. This article outlines various suggestions for students using the interview method.
So you’ve been accepted for a conference (hopefully somewhere exciting!), and your conference paper is ready to be presented to an assembly of your academic peers. Whilst one of the principal benefits of an academic conference can be the constructive criticism a presenter receives on their ideas, the opportunity to develop an academic network of researchers within your field is arguably as important.
There were a few reasons that I decided I wanted to go back to studying after 8 years. First, I started to hate what I did for work. I had previously been a Hotel General Manager, and then moved into Branded Restaurants, working for one of the largest operators in the UK. The job was grueling, and depressing. Constantly working extra shifts, extra hours, having to work under-staffed due to unrealistic budget constraints, and then justify why the food quality and customer service were, to put a crude twist on it, pretty crappy – if you don’t have the staff, how do you meet such high expectations?!
Once you have made the decision to embark on putting your research ‘out there’ for others to see and hear, you need to decide where to do so. There are a range of forum through which you can choose ranging from large national and international conferences often hosted by disciplinary academies to smaller research workshops, seminars or conferences organised by more niche or specialist research groups. Within these many organisations will host events and colloquia aimed specifically at doctoral researchers, which vary considerably, to the elements of these events generally intended for ‘competitive’ research presentations.
An essential part of the PhD process is the relationship between student and supervisors, and the role supervisors play in the development of a PhD project. As with any working relationships the manner in which this dynamic works is hugely varied, but there are steps that can be taken to maximise the value you as a student get out of your supervisory team. There are a few things you should either when choosing supervisors should you have this luxury, or when working with them should they be assigned to you.
Over the course of my PhD, I have been lucky enough to attend four conferences (one industry, and three academic), two in my first year, one in my second, and one in my third. Although there perhaps is never a ‘bad’ time to attend a conference, there are definitely times when benefits from attendance can be maximised, and indeed, the type of conference can be dependent on your stage of study.