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Conceptualising the Research Process Dr Kevin Morrell University of Birmingham.

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Presentation on theme: "Conceptualising the Research Process Dr Kevin Morrell University of Birmingham."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conceptualising the Research Process Dr Kevin Morrell University of Birmingham

2 Overview What is a PhD Going through the Process Problems and Myths Being Strategic Managing Your Supervisor

3 What is a PhD?

4 3 ways to think about what is a PhD 1.Necessary hurdle before the award of a degree - academic merit - contribution – or, in terms of structure lit review + analysis + discussion (come to that next) 2.Cultural capital - token or a symbol of something - right to call yourself dr. Like the casino chip that represents your winnings (going to uni is more expensive than a casino and you are more likely to be out of pocket when you leave) 3.A pain or even some kind of punishment - it is a long piece of work


6 Going through the Process




10 Problems and Myths

11 Common problems –Inappropriate topic choice –Misunderstanding requirements –Inappropriate choice of methods –Poor use of time (traps) Common myths –You have to do something amazing, or new –Im not clever enough to do this, or, I cant do this –Writing happens at the end, that's why it is called 'writing up

12 Being Strategic

13 Process and Content Content of the work (review, design, analysis, writing - or what you do) The Process (how you do things) –How do you work best typically –How can you work best on this project –Time-traps: Displacement, bad habits, unhelpful thinking –Single – double loop learning

14 Timetable and Milestones End MayOutline Proposal June 20-21Workshop 1 July 5Redraft proposal July-SepSupervisor allocn July-NovFeasibility, access, lit review Nov 24-25Workshop 2 Nov-AprilCollect data plan analysis April 27-28Workshop 3 Aug 11 st draft Sep 262 hard copy 1 CD submit AprilExam Board JulyGraduation Research Topic Secure Access Decide Methods 1 st chapters (draft) 1 st interview / survey Begin (finish) analysis

15 Managing your Supervisor

16 The Supervisory Relationship - 1 minimum input expected from the supervisor: Hold an initial face-to-face meeting with the candidate. Hold two further meetings to review progress during the first year. Review and comment on a first draft end of year report (if submitted in good time). Respond to all email and telephone contact from the candidate. Mark the end of year report and arrange for it to be second marked. Agree the mark with the panel. …minimum input expected from the candidate: Make the first contact to arrange an initial meeting (once supervisor allocated). Set up and agree dates for progress review meetings with the supervisor. Set up and agree a date for the delivery of the first year report. Set up and agree a date or a phone appointment for receiving feedback on the dissertation.

17 The Supervisory Relationship - 2 Keep promises, clarify expectations, share information, make specific commitments and honour them. Be keen and open to suggestions. Disappear, visit for no reason, fail to hand in/do work, dont read what they suggest, ignore comments, phone for a chat, treat meetings as a contest. Your supervisor can reasonably expect you: Show independence; are honest about how things are; produce quality written work that is not a first draft; meet commitments (or explain why) You are entitled to expect: Constructive criticism; guidance, suggestions, advice and ideas; help with literature; support; some direction. Try to listen… avoid being defensive. PLAN meetings… demonstrate you are seeing them for a reason, show you recognize their time is important.

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