Posts

Showing posts from 2013

Getting a PhD: Getting set for your Upgrade/Transfer

Some UK universities require first year "provisional" PhD students to write and defend a first year report, so as to "identify whether the student and the research project have the potential for research at Doctoral level and also to ensure that the student has made satisfactory progress with the agreed training plan" (2011 Research Student Handbook, University of Leeds). Depending on your level of success during the Transfer assessment, you can then be: transferred/upgraded to doctoral  registration; requested to do an MPhil registration; reassessed after making revisions to your work, or asked to withdraw from the research degree. This process may differ per faculty and university, so talking to your supervisor about the length and format of your report and about what to expect from the Transfer viva is a good idea. As I await mine, I am reminding myself of the following tips I received from a research workshop, talking about what examiners are really looking ou…

Getting a PhD: Research writing

If you were to choose the most important section of a Research Paper, what would it be Answers differ, but many tend to say the Results section, as this determines the content of a Paper. Others argue that the Introduction section is the most important since this is where the Paper's aims, objectives and research questions are stated and hence this determines the Paper's content. At any rate, Manchester University’s Phrase Bank offers useful information on each of these sections here

A few key points I got from a science magazine editor: As obvious as this may sound, it's still worth mentioning: writing is aimed at pleasing the reader, so be as understandable as possible. As The Economist’s Style Guide says, clear writing reflects clear thinking. While writers tend to prefer impressive-sounding Latin-based words, readers tend to prefer simpler Anglo-Saxon based words. Eg. ‘commence’ vs ‘begin’, ‘terminate’ vs ‘end’, ‘anticipate’ vs ‘expect’. It is speculated-ha!-thought th…

Getting a PhD: Reviewing your progress

Today marks my 6th month as a PhD student yay (one-sixth of the journey). I absolutely want to complete my PhD in the allotted time and my Uni would like this to happen as well because good student completion rates are in the best interest of the university. 
Since I’m required to hand in a 6-month progress report to my Faculty I thought I’d do a quick personal progress review as well. I’ve assessed myself based on Vitae’s intimidating impressive Researcher Development Framework as well as the top tips I received when I first started:
Knowledge and intellectual abilities: This is sub-divided into knowledge base, intellectual skill and resourcefulness.

Research questions: Developing clear research questions has helped me identify where my research is going plus methodologies to consider. Research mind: I'm currently working on developing my "academic voice" as well as the ever-important critical thinking skill. Research tools: I've learnt MS Word and Excel tricks to speed u…

Getting a PhD: 'Chasing Ice' movie & other public engagement tools

In an earlier post, I briefly mentioned how the arts might be used to engage the public in discussions on research findings, especially if used thoughtfully. That is to say, don't present your findings in ways that discourage/disempower your listeners (saying "we are all doomed" does not inspire). It has even been suggested that people are more likely to make positive changes when information is presented less threateningly - read a very interesting article that studies the way some people tend to respond to direly stated news on climate change, based on how it affects their Just-World beliefs.
So the film Chasing Ice, released in the UK in December 2012 engages the general public in conversation about the validity of global warming, presenting time-lapse camera photos of melting glaciers over four years by National Geographic photographer James Balog and his dedicated team. They brave the harsh conditions of Iceland, Greenland and other icy regions because they believe…