How to Get a PhD by Estelle M. Phillips, Derek Pugh
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Review of "How to Get a PhD by Estelle M. Phillips, Derek Pugh"
I am a second year Ph.D student, enrolled in the Psychology Department at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Those of you who are yourselves Ph.D students (presumably most of you reading) will know how difficult it is to know where to start the mammoth task of starting your research and the lack of help/guidance most people receive (I personally didn't have a clue what I was doing for quite a few months.... ).This book is therefore a good place to start. I just read it and found it useful in many respects although as I am already half way through my studies alot of the initial information was somewhat irrelevant. If you are thinking of or about to start your Ph.D this book is a really helpful place to start. The book may also be valuable to those who are just starting out as academics and are new to research supervision. There are 12 chapters in total.
1) Becoming a postgraduate:
Very brief chapter, containing Includes general information about whats expected and the PhD itself.
Containing information about chocies re supervisors and ensuring that you have chosen the most appropriate subject and institution to suit your needs and aims etc
3) The nature of a Ph.D qualification.
Whats expected, what you should be aiming for by studying for a PhD and the overall point of the qualification. Both from the student and supervisor perspective.
4) How not to get a Ph.D.
Pretty self-explanatory, not to overestimate or underestimate whats expected, not understanding what is required, losing contact with supervisors, not leaving adequate time to write up. There are lots of useful examples in this section.
Characteristics of good research, types of research and methodologies, electronic support and discussion, generally useful tips and advice. This is also an important chapter.
6) The form of a Ph.D thesis
What the final thing should be, includes advice on structure and how to lay out chapters and tips of writing skills, originality and theory.
What you should expect during the three years you are completing your PhD, deals with topics such as isolation, time management, boredom, frustration and deadlines.
8) How to manage you supervisor
Whats expected and how much of a role you can expect you supervisor to play. Highlights the importance of regular meetings and progress reports but also that esentially the PhD is an independent process. Also how to deal with potential problems including what happens if you want to change supervisors.
9) How to survive in a premomineantly British, white, male, full-time academic environment.
Covers areas such as sexual harassment, racism and disabilities and how to deal with these factors. This chapter is not really that applicable to me and I only skim read it.
10) The formal procedures
Submitting, getting funding, going onto post doctoral research, the Viva!!! General tips to deal with all of the formal stuff. An important chapter.
11) How to supervise and examine.
Generally this chapter focuses on the student-supervisor relationship but is geared mostly towards the supervisors presepctive so I didn't find it that useful at the moment.
Training of both supervisors and students, what you should expect from your university re your supervisor, resources and support and what they expect from you! Guidance on the selection of students and supervisors, information about where you can get external support if you need it etc...
Each of these chapters are broken down clearly into sections making in pretty easy for readers to pick out the bits that are relevant to themselves. Theres a clear index at the back and many references should the reader feel that they need additional halp/guidance.Another disadvantage is the fact that it is a little subject specific and tends to give examples from buisness studies on the whole which is a shame (unless you're a BS student of course). It's also expensive at £19 but as I said first years tend to feel thrown in at the deep end and this might help to soften the blow and make the start of three years of hard work a little easier to take! if you have access to a university library and don't want to pay the £19, it's in our library and is likely to also be in yours also!
Published by Open University Press. Third ed.
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Listed on Ciao since: 07/01/2005