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The PhD student survival guide (for creative types)

For beginning students

Inger Mewburn

on 4 April 2012

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Transcript of The PhD student survival guide (for creative types)

@nicolestephen: "iteration is normal, don't expect the process to be linear at all!" @tassie_gal: "its actually ok to feel totally overwhelmed and useless for the first 6 months" @mrshannaford: " I wish I had found out a little more about what my library would do to support me" @_eyeAM: "how annoying all the approval processes were before you actually get to do the research!" @bev_gibbs: "i thought a phd was an exercise in thinking and finding things out. Actually it's about writing" @shannonej: learn to say "no" @thijimuis: You can't know it all, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask others for help. Don't try to find out everything on your own.
@gsyoung: "There are no 'rules'..." @michaeltwofish: "Own it. It's your work, not your supervisor's" Words of wisdom from current students You are located in a "Western European system of knowledge production" – what the heck does this mean? In the 16th and 17th centuries one became a doctor by taking part in a ‘disputation’ - a kind of public knowledge joust (Clark, 2006) A scholar used to display knowing through speech.

Today we display knowledge (mostly) in text.

In other words....
An academic text is like an Avatar This prezi was composed by:
Dr Inger Mewburn
Research Fellow @ RMIT School of Graduate Research Contact:
inger.mewburn@rmit.edu.au / @thesiswhisperer
All images, except movie stills, are royalty free from www.mourgefile.com
But it's a bit more complicated for you creative types You are not like this For you 'knowledge' is not able to be contained fully in words Your writing and your creative work should 'sing' together, but they are different types of 'knowledge artefacts' You have to learn to listen to what the projects are telling you

. This can be difficult. Remember: you are working in an evolving research culture.
Doing a thesis this way is relatively new.
No one has worked out the 'right' way
There are no hard and fast rules.
Expect to be frustrated. Risky – you don’t know where the process will lead
It is work – knowledge work is still work and takes time
Research is a craft – not a step by step procedure
No curriculum – set a program of study yourself
Highly self-directed – independent learning
Few milestones – progress is incremental
Difficult – not everyone makes it Research is.... These are points in your candidature where you will have to do something:

Candidature approval / confirmation
6 monthly progress reviews
Submission / examination
Graduation 4 years for a PhD; 2 for a Masters Some people assume that "the research journey" looks like this: When it looks more like this... Becoming a researcher is not simply a matter of acquiring new skills
Being a researcher doesn’t come naturally: you need to adopt and adapt to new ways of being This can be thought of as a form of academic identity work:
You will be learning new ways of knowing
and of being Performance comes before feeling:
the only way to become a researcher is to learn by doing This can be a frustrating process because
no one can really tell you how to do it So This can be a problem You can bounce around here for awhile Most people start like this For most people this feeling comes and goes This may happen early or late.
If it's not managed well there can be tension! A little of this is OK, but a lot is not.
If it's happening often you should probably visit the counselling service
http://rmit.net.au/counselling This is you at the end! (and various points in between if you're lucky) (I put a call out on Twitter) There's some administrative things you need to know Yes - even artists must comply with ethics "Ethics approval processes" can have a bad reputation. But I like to think about it like this: Does your work involve talking to / photographing or otherwise investigating the behaviour of humans or animals? Yes?
Then you have to do ethics No?
Lucky you -
go for it. Here's some common complaints I hear about ethics: If you don't don't get an approval before you do the work, you can't use the data.
End of story. "It takes too long" "It cramps my style!" "I'm not going to hurt anyone" "I didn't know I had to do it" Don't be a victim of epic ethics fail.
Read this first: http://www.rmit.edu.au/research/integrity
Then talk with your supervisor.
Make sure there is informed consent "But they wanted to be part of it!" Socrates encouraged us to lead an examined life Ethics processes are a way of examining yourself
and making sure you are being an ethical researcher There's a lot more to say about IP, Authorship and Plagarism... In fact - too much to go into here Here's three important 'takeaway' messages:
You own your Intellectual property unless you sign it over
You have to negotiate authorship sometimes
If you are found to plagarise - at any future time - you will have your degree stripped from you It used to be easy to be a Doctor - you just had to know everything....
Luckily that meant just knowing what was in the Bible A prezi is like a big whiteboard: click on any object to get closer or use 'autoplay' to follow the path I have prepared for you
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