Presentation on theme: "“JUST DO IT”: SOME PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TIMELY SUBMISSION OF A BETTER THESIS. Dr Stephen Harrington"— Presentation transcript:
“JUST DO IT”: SOME PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TIMELY SUBMISSION OF A BETTER THESIS. Dr Stephen Harrington
Intro: We tend to focus on: The intellectual ‘terrain’ (i.e. the ‘discipline’) Originality Methodology Mechanics Emphasis on the intellectual journey, rather than the practicalities of ‘doing’ a research higher degree.
Who are these tips for? Mainly for those doing a ‘classic’ PhD thesis. But, will also be useful for any research higher degree student. To help address the common pitfalls of the experience, and speak about the underlying cause of many incompletions.
So, what are they?
The 8 tips: 1. Choose a topic you’re interested in. 2. Find a good supervisory team. 3. Know the ‘shape’ of your thesis early, let the fine detail come later. 4. Treat your research like a ‘normal’ job. 5. Teach, where possible. 6. Communicate and disseminate. 7. Believe in yourself. 8. Just do it!
1. Choose a topic you’re interested in. Most simple of the 8 tips. If you’re going to spend 3-4 years of your life doing something, try your best to ensure it is something that you want to do. Is a very common cause for waning motivation.
2. Find a good supervisory team. Assemble a team you can work with, and who wants to work with you. Personality is more important than you think! Aim for a set of clear, shared expectations. Should be ‘balanced’. Experienced, knowledgeable. Listen to them!
3. Know the ‘shape’ of your thesis early, let the fine detail come later. Try to know from the start what your thesis is about, and what it isn’t about. You’ll save lots of time! But don’t expect to know what will be in the final version until the day you submit it. That’s the whole point. It’s a journey. This helps you to organise non-linear thoughts. Be flexible, but not liquid. Be open to evolution, but avoid revolution.
4. Treat your research like a ‘normal’ job. Work regularly! Be organised. Work to deadlines. Don’t get distracted. Try not to work from home, if you can avoid it. Know when to take a break. Have a social life.
5. Teach, where possible. Can help to deepen knowledge of your own discipline, or others. Broadens your horizons, exposes you to new ideas and perspectives. Keeps you grounded. Especially important for those seeking academic work upon completion.
6. Communicate and disseminate Communicate with other academics/leaders in your field. Often leads to bigger and better things. Makes you visible to the intellectual community in which you’re operating. Gives you deadlines and feedback for/on work in progress Keeps you in the writing habit.
7. Believe in yourself “It’s just a PhD”. Good advice… A thesis is not your life’s work, masterpiece, or magnum opus. A first draft is a first draft. Don’t expect otherwise. You are not a ‘fraud’. You ARE smart enough. “Note the uselessness of [X]% of academics” – David GauntlettDavid Gauntlett If you are, why stop now!?
8. Just do it! “Don’t get it right, get it written”. Great advice… Stop reading at some point. Don’t get distracted. (Tip no. 4) You can’t get a degree because of great ideas This is less a test of your intelligence than it is a test of your level of motivation, willingness to learn, and ability to put in the hard work.
8. Just do it! “Stick to it, and it will all fall into place” – David GauntlettDavid Gauntlett Stop talking about it, and just do it!!