About Me

My photo
PhD Candidate at Griffith University, mummy, wife, teacher, social media enthusiast, avid reader

Friday, 5 April 2013

Working through a part time PhD

  1. Completing a PhD is a difficult task for a full time student but some would argue even more so for a part time student. But it doesn't have to be any more difficult. I think it's important to look at and approach a part time PhD as a completely different beast. 

    The following is a recap of tips about completing a part time PhD gleaned from Twitter over the past week. The information collection process involved reading blogs, asking questions and hosting a #PhDchat. 

    Four main points were raised over the information collection period: 
    1. What are the advantages of conducting a part time PhD?
    2. How does or can decision making about the PhD differ between full time and part time?
    3. Motivation and tips for writing in short bursts.
    4. Loneliness as a part time PhD student and how to build a community to address this.

    Below I describe my experiences as a part time PhD student and the "tricks of the trade" as seen by both students and supervisors.

    1. What are the advantages of conducting a part time PhD?
    The main advantage I see as a part time PhD student is that I am not required to be as committed to the process as a full time student. I started part time because I needed to pay the mortgage. I presented my confirmation presentation heavily pregnant at about the 18 month mark. Maternity leave gave me an opportunity to continue working on my PhD but learning to be a mother for the first time was tough. My part time status enabled me to drop the study for much needed sleep and childhood sicknesses. I was still able to work at a full time pace for the first stages of my PhD but part time gave me flexibility.

    Here's what others had to say:
  2. @nomynjb Financially going full-time was not an option. PT allows career progression and study. Don’t regret it but very hard work. #phdchat
  3. @Alicia_McCoy @nomynjb @AbbeyDiaz_says I do find myself questioning things more, in a constructive way. That’s a +ve for me/work #phdchat
  4. @nomynjb My supervisors know I work in a demanding job so are pretty flexible re s/v etc. As Chris said, career progress, finances #phdchat
  5. @AbbeyDiaz_says @nomynjb Me too. My PhD is very related to work so I feel I never switch off. Guilty and exhausting :) #phdchat
  6. @Orientchris @nomynjb @AbbeyDiaz_says I agree Chris. The impact of the PhD on my job so far has been an important outcome #phdchat
  7. @nomynjb I think it gives you perspective (other things to worry about) so is not all-consuming #phdchat
  8. can work, spend time with family...but I didn't know how to switch off when I had those other hats on. So always guilty! @nomynjb #phdchat
  9. Career progress and spending time with family were common themes in the #PhDchat. Feelings of guilt about not working on a dissertation were also common. Amber Davis made a good point that feeling guilty is a mind set.
  10. @nomynjb @PhDSkills Q5 Pitfall- feeling guilty for 'not working enough'. It's a mindset you can change. Not easy, but it's possible!
  11. Maybe what John Finn had to say can help towards that change -- knowing that being part time can have true opportunities for success in the degree.
  12. @nomynjb @_ajdavis Q5.1 PTs usually have/develop great clarity of purpose. Have a life, but trade- off with longer duration of Phd stress
  13. Distance has scientifically been shown to have advantages. 
  14. Why we have our best ideas in the shower: The science of creativity - The Buffer Blog bit.ly/17eLOqq
  15. Clarity may come making school lunches or problem solving something unrelated at work. Part time students have the distance to make good decisions.

    2. How can decision making about the PhD differ between full time and part time?

    Important decisions made about a PhD such as the research question, research approach and participant pool can be very different between a full time and part time PhD. 
  16. @nomynjb @_ajdavis Q1 biology research: pt PhD has longer duration & facilitates longer term survey of exp. effects than a 3 yr study
  17. My part time status has allowed me to conduct a longitudinal study over two university semesters. In a full time PhD 10 months is a large chunk of time but quite small on a part time schedule. 

    I collected my responses via Facebook updates over four slices in time. This allowed me to gather data and look after my newborn baby at the same time. The four slices in time were each approximately 3 weeks long so I only had to be really on the ball, watching Facebook for short intensive periods. If I missed a day, I could scroll back through the Newsfeed and gather the updates I missed.

    Unfortunately the time I have spent trying to work out how I was going to conduct my research, complicated the process considerably. Maybe I should have heeded John Finn's advice. 
  18. @nomynjb @_ajdavis #phdchat Q1 would be inclined to pick lower-risk research questions for pt PhDs
  19. Too late now!

    Additionally, some disciplines lend themselves better to a part time PhD than others.
  20. @nomynjb may depend on discipline. I’m theoretical/doctrinal in law. So just reading. I read for a bit then write as synthesis of ideas
Continue reading at http://storify.com/nomynjb/working-through-a-part-time-phd#publicize

No comments:

Post a Comment