How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors / Edition 4

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This is a handbook for Ph.D. students, providing a practical,

realistic understanding of the processes of doing research

for a doctorate.

New to this edition: a section on increasingly popular professional

doctorates such as Ed.D., D.B.A., and D.Eng; material

for supervisors of overseas, part-time, and mature students;

and a diagnostic questionnaire for students to monitor progress.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780335216840
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Estelle M. Phillips is an independent educational consultant

based in the United Kingdom.

Derek S. Pugh is emeritus professor of international

management at the Open University Business School,

United Kingdom.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - On becoming a research student

The nature of doctoral education
The psychology of being a research student
The aims of this book
Action summary

Chapter 2 - Getting into the system

Choosing the institution and field of study
The scientific research programme
Grants and research support
Distance supervision?
Choosing your work context
Selecting your supervisor
Starting out as a research student
Myths and realities of the system
The ‘ivory tower’
Personal relationships
Action summary

Chapter 3 - The nature of the PhD qualification

The meaning of a doctorate
Becoming a fully professional researcher
Differences between the MPhil and the PhD
Aims of students
Aims of supervisors
Aims of examiners
Aims of universities and research councils
Mismatches and problems
Action summary

Chapter 4 - How not to get a PhD

Not wanting a PhD
Not understanding the nature of a PhD by overestimating what is required
Not understanding the nature of a PhD by underestimating what is required
Not having a supervisor who knows what a PhD requires
Losing contact with your supervisor
Not having a thesis
Taking a new job before finishing
Action summary

Chapter 5 - How to do research

Characteristics of research
Intelligence-gathering – the ‘what’ questions
Research – the ‘why’ questions
Characteristics of good research
Research is based on an open system of thought
Researchers examine data critically
Researchers generalize and specify the limits on their generalizations
Hypothetico-deductive method
Basic types of research
Exploratory research
Testing-out research
Problem-solving research
Which type of research for the PhD?
The craft of doing research
Action summary

Chapter 6 - The form of a PhD thesis

Understanding the PhD form
Background theory
Focal theory
Data theory
Detailed structure and choice of chapter headings
The concept of originality
Writing the thesis
writing as a process of re-writing different types of writers getting down to it the thesis itself
Alternative thesis styles
To publish or not to publish prior to submission?
Action summary

Chapter 7 - The PhD process

Psychological aspects
enthusiasm isolation increasing interest in work transfer of dependence from the supervisor to the work boredom frustration a job to be finished euphoria
Others ‘getting in first’
Practical aspects
time management the duration of the process the stages of the process
Redefining long-term and short-term goals
The importance of deadlines
Self-help and peer support groups
Internet groups
Teaching whilst studying for a PhD
casual teaching teaching assistantships
Action summary

Chapter 8 - How to manage your supervisors

The supervisory team
The supervisory team’s limitations
What supervisors expect of their doctoral students
Supervisors expect their students to be independent
Supervisors expect their students to produce written work that is not just a first draft
Supervisors expect to have regular meetings with their research students
Supervisors expect their research students to be honest when reporting on their progress
Supervisors expect their students to follow the advice that they give, when it has been given at the request of the postgraduate
Supervisors expect their students to be excited about their work, able to surprise them and fun to be with!
The need to educate your supervisors
How to reduce the communication barrier
Improving tutorials
Changing supervisors
Inappropriate personal relationships in supervision
Action summary

Chapter 9 - How to survive in a predominantly British, white, male, full-time, heterosexual academic environment

Part-time students
Overseas students
Settling in to Britain
Expressing yourself in English
The culture of British doctoral education
Ethnic minorities
Racial harassment
Women students
Difficulties concerning legitimacy of topics and methodology
Problems of communication, debate and feedback
Scarcity of academic role models
Sexual harassment and exploitation
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender students
Heterosexist harassment
Mature students
Students with disabilities
disability legislation
Harassment of people with a disability
Action summary

Chapter 10 - the examination system

Upgrading to doctoral student status
Giving notice of submission
The appointment of examiners
Submitting the thesis
The oral examination – the ‘viva’
Preparing for the viva
The results of the examination
The appeals procedures
Action summary

Chapter 11 - How to supervise and examine

What students expect of their supervisors
students expect to be supervised
Students expect supervisors to read their work well in advance
Students expect their supervisors to be available when needed
Students expect their supervisors to be friendly, open and supportive
Students expect their supervisors to be constructively critical
Students expect their supervisors to have a good knowledge of the research area
Students expect their supervisors to structure the tutorial so that it is relatively easy to exchange ideas
Students expect their supervisors to have sufficient interest in their research to put more information in the students’ path
Students expect supervisors to be sufficiently involved in their success to help them get a good job at the end of it all!
Establishing a role model
Teaching the craft of research
Giving effective feedback
Introducing a structured ‘weaning’ programme
Maintaining a helpful ‘psychological contract’
Encouraging students’ academic role development
Supervising non-traditional students
Part-time students
problems of access organizing work
Overseas students
Ethnic minorities
Women students
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender students
Mature students
Disabled students
Supervising your research assistant
Outcomes of good supervision
Training for supervision
How to examine
The oral examinationAction summary

Chapter 12 - Institutional responsibilities

University responsibilities
A university-wide research school for doctoral students
Participation in a regional hub
Support for students
Facilities for departments to support doctoral research activity
A university-wide structured induction procedure
A handbook for university research degree students
English language support where necessary
Support for non-traditional students
Resources for supervisors
the training of supervisors teaching credit for doctoral supervision
Faculty/departmental doctoral research tutor
Providing appropriate regulations
selection of doctoral students
Monitoring of students’ progress
Upgrading from MPhil to PhD registration
Appointment of external examiners
A forum for review of the PhD
The PhD as a series of projects
Intellectual copyright and appropriate recognition for doctoral students’ work
The PhD in a practice-based discipline
Professional doctorates
Departmental responsibilities
the departmental research tutor improving the selection of students into the department
Selection of supervisors
Guidelines on appropriate supervisory behaviour
Support groups for research students
A departmental doctoral programme
The doctoral cohort system
Action summary





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