Feb. 4th, 2013

fjm: (Default)
My uni needs people willing to go on the radio, and hey, I'll happily witter on about most topics.

Last week it was "designer babies" with Mike MacNamee of the Bourn clinic and Raj Mathur, a consultant gynaecologist.

There’s a link below and it begins about 20 mins into the programme.


I want to note how nice the two other speakers were. Neither of them were in the slightest bit patronising, and it's been fun to chat with them both since. Both of the other participants are on twitter.
@rajmathur7 @BournHallClinic
fjm: (Default)
I'm going to put this up on my web site. What have I missed? Got wrong? Etc.

Tips on getting your PhD (works for humanities, can be extrapolated for sciences).

1. Pick a doable topic.
2. Make sure you like your supervisor, you are going to spend a long time with them.
3. Make sure your supervisor has a reputation for reading work in a timely fashion, and introducing graduates to other people.
4. Read all the dedicated material.
5. Start following odd links to things that don’t seem to be related—think about how you can apply them “metaphorically”.
6. Think of your thesis as a diamond shape: you start with a narrow idea, let it widen, and widen, and widen, and then you sit down and narrow it down.
7. Try to write something every day, even if it’s only a paragraph along the lines of “today I thought about x, here’s why it doesn’t work”.
8. Focus on questions, rather than answers: what questions does your data throw up?
9. When you start writing up, the rule of three is very handy: Every chapter in three sections; every section in three parts; every argument at least three pieces of evidence.
10. Your writing style should always consist of: Argument, evidence, analysis. Check each paragraph to make sure that all three components are there (preferably in that order).

There are times when you will feel overwhelmed: if this doesn’t happen, you aren’t reading widely enough/producing enough data.

There are times when you will feel bored: if this doesn’t happen, you lack rigour.

There are times when you will feel “What is the point of this?”: if you don’t you probably aren't human.

Always try to have a more compact project on the side for moments when you can’t face the thesis, it will help you to remember you really do enjoy academic work, and will keep you a practiced writer when your thesis is in the research stage.


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