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Planning, Structuring and Managing your PhD Dr. Mark Matthews.

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1 Planning, Structuring and Managing your PhD Dr. Mark Matthews

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4 Thesis Your first piece of significant academic work Contribution to new knowledge AND a learning process for you

5 Common problems 1.Poor planning 2.Methodological difficulties 3.Writing 4.Isolation 5.Personal Problems 6.Supervision Brown & Atkins, 1990

6 Challenge 1 – getting started Find out what you are expected to do by: Attending departmental orientation and technical programs Course handbooks GSO guidelines Books and websites Read excellent theses

7 Questions: –When am I going to work? –Where will I work? –How will I know if I’m on the right track? Avoid anxiety Get a management system External deadlines & Rewards Hopelessly inaccurate estimates are much more efficient than no estimates at all Challenge 2 managing yourself

8 Technological Needs What skills do you need? Temptation Backups Information Support Services: “Planning thesis production using MS Word” “Using Endnote” “SPSS”

9 Challenge 3 managing your writing Self-Management Structure Academic Writing Research Journal

10 Thesis types Find out the structure for your discipline

11 Start writing Formalities (one file) –Cover Page –Key words –Abstract –List of Tables and Figures –Ethics statement –Statement of original authorship –Acknowledgements –Table of contents Chapters (one file each) –Chapter 1. Introduction and overview –Chapter 2. Literature review –Chapter 3. Research question –Chapter 4. Methodology –Chapter 5. Results –Chapter 6. Discussion –Chapter 7. Summary and conclusions –References/bibliography

12 Chapter 1 What the thesis is about (write now) What the chapters say (write after they are written) Summary and conclusion Why the research is important (write anytime you work this out)

13 Structure each chapter What is the theme? How does it relate to one before and after? Have you explained these relationships start and end? Where and how can these links be made clearer?

14 Challenge 4. what is my thesis about? Research Statement (25-30 words) Get feedback on it Discuss with supervisor Reach agreement as early as possible

15 SPQR How would you describe the current situation? What is the key problem your PhD addresses? What questions arise from problem? What did you do to answer the question? (response)

16 What you want to do What your supervisor wants you to do How to contact your supervisor? Know supervisor’s strengths/weaknesses Isolation Challenge 5. Your Supervisor

17 Find out: Research Interests Recent publications Experience supervising How much time they will have Will you be able to get on? What kind of role does your supervisor expect? Rowena Murray, ‘How to write a thesis’ Challenge 5. Your Supervisor

18 Challenge 6 – managing content Set task targets with your supervisor Make maximum use of resources Get your material reviewed by peers (seminars, conferences, publish) Make contact with people doing similar research (network)

19 What can you do now? Make a plan Establish a routine / rhythm Start writing now Read one book on writing Read one thesis Set long-term / short-term goals

20 Further help How to Get a PhD: A Handbook for Students and Their Supervisors by Estelle Phillips & D.S. PughEstelle PhillipsD.S. Pugh How to Write a Thesis (Paperback) by Rowena MurrayRowena Murray

21 Our Workshops Thesis Writing Thu 4 Mar 16:00 – 18: Arts Building Developing Critical Arguments Mon 8 Mar 13:00 – 15:00 Luce Hall Seminar Room Viva Preparation Thu 18 Mar 16:00 Luce Hall Seminar Room

22 Postgraduate Summer School https://podcast.tcd.ie/users/summerschool / Come to Summer School Visit the website

23 Student Learning Development Visit our website at: qs to Phone us on


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