Connect with us on  

Dissertation Coach

Breaks Mean a Lot for a PhD Student

All work and no play made Jack a dull boy. This adage proves well for PhD students as well. Like all professionals, they ideate well when they plan a holiday. However, in the entire process, they need to make sure that the work doesn’t suffer. Hence, the support of the supervisor could work miracles here.

If a supervisor encourages you to take breaks and if she knows that your work wont suffer, then you should take a break but only for a period she has suggested.

However, a right process should be followed in a right manner to ensure that you dont follow a wrong path.

Here are a few points you should try to remember to plan your break:

1. Take permission: Make sure to ask your supervisor that you want to avail your entitled annual leave.

2. Ensure your work doesn’t suffer: Next point to remember is that you are not availing your break at the cost of your work.

3. Commit to your work before your break: Before you go for your work, your should know the schedule of your supervisor. Also, you should make sure that you commit and finish your work before you get into another world.

4. Give your contact details to your supervisor: Let your supervisor know the details of the world you are into. This will help him to trace you during emergency scenario.

5. Complete your formalities: There are some department formalities that should be completed to avail the entitled holidays. Make sure that you dont leave any of those formalities incomplete. As your supervisor is answerable in your absence, make sure you don’t put him in an awkward situation.

Hence, live a normal human life and follow certain precautions to enjoy breaks while pursuing PhD.

You Are a PhD Student! Do You Afford Holidays?

Can we work around a holiday plan for PhD scholars? Where would it leave their work? Well, when I write this, I am on my annual leave as a PhD scholar, ironically. But I would also like to insist and say that it is working because of my supervisor. She has encouraged me to take breaks as long as I informed her well in advance and did not do it at the cost of my work. With her encouragement and clear discussion with her, it worked for me. But like how I said, it worked only because of her. Read between the lines. You get a holiday, if your supervisor thinks you need a holiday. How do we generalise this? We cannot but surely we can generalise the ways in which we can keep the bosses happy. After all, they are bosses for that stipulated tenure.

Having a supervisor, who is flexible and accommodating, I surely afford holidays and even if you are on a similar pedestal, do not forget some important, unsaid rules and regulations. You may get a break, but it needs to be a process. A step by step, informal process! Let me explain this better:

1. Always ask your supervisor your entitled annual leave.
2. Take her opinion on the most suitable time to take offs, so as to ensure that you wouldn’t do it at the cost of your work. Remember, this is critical and may affect your relations with her n a great way.
3. Know, or try to know, your supervisors leave schedule.
4. Ensure, commit and do finish all decided work before you zoom out into another world. Else in the eyes of the supervisor, it isn’t any less than a sin.
5. Whichever alien world you are into, remember there is an alien waiting you in another world that should know where you are and should be able to contact you. Yes, we do dislike our supervisors having your contact details on holidays, and fear them spoiling the mood, but we got to give them that right, privilege. If you are as lucky as me, he won’t disturb you on an official break , unless an emergency.
6. Do remember, there are some department formalities that need to be completed to avail the entitled holidays. Don’t leave any of that incomplete. In your absence, your supervisor is answerable for you and putting him in an awkward situation is outing your degree in one.

So in all, doing a PhD, gives you the right to have a normal human life. Live it up with some caution. That’s it!!

Explaining the Rationale Behind a Research Methodology

One of the questions that scholars get asked is why they chose a certain research methodology and did not opt for another method. This can be a commonly asked question if there are two or three well known methodologies in a particular discipline. It can also be a question asked of people if they were to choose an unusual method for their research rather than the generally known ways of collecting information.

This will be a question that the dissertation students have to defend in their viva voce and they will have to defend it in a clever and convincing manner. Many students tend to get confused when this particular question comes up. Some of them turn to methodologists for help.

The methodologists offer many types of assistance and explaining research methodology is one of them. The students are given help and taught to compare different methodologies, and over the course of time are made to understand the nuances of different methodologies. In the company of the methodologist they analyze why one method is better than another method, and how they can express this fact cogently in front of the review board.

Explaining the rationale behind a certain research methodology is essential because if that is not correct then it means that all the data that is collected by the researchers is incorrect. That would bring into question the very basis on which the students have arrived at their conclusions. It is best to sit with the subject matter experts before the project and even during the viva voce preparation to formulate an answer that would impress the university review board. When the interviewers start asking their questions, the students would be in a position to give confident answers as to why they chose a particular approach to their project.

What is the Role of a Dissertation Supervisor?

Irrespective of the academic domains being exercised across the world, any research work being carried out by a researcher for the first time in life can never prove out to be successful devoid of the guidance of an experienced researcher or academician, who can supervise the research work to ensure the correctness of the study from all aspects. However, it is not a rare phenomenon to find out that most of the dissertation supervisors fail to carry out this duty properly, and as a result, the research outputs of the budding researchers fail to obtain the deserved prominence among the large community of researchers. Therefore, it is required that the dissertation supervisors take their responsibilities quite seriously, as fulfillment of their duties successfully can determine the career growth of the researchers working under their supervision.

A dissertation supervisor has to undertake a number of responsibilities, which they are expected to fulfill religiously. Following are some of those responsibilities:

  • A dissertation supervisor is required to review the dissertation prepared by the researcher, and as that is the first ever organized research work carried out by the candidate, there can be a number of flaws, which are needed to be rectified by the supervisor.
  • Apart from reviewing the research work, the supervisor is the primary person, with whom the researcher can discuss the ideas, which can possibly be incorporated in the research work. Now, the supervisor is the first person, who can verify and place arguments for and against the idea, so that it can be made more rigorous.
  • A supervisor is generally a senior researcher, who is exposed to various theoretical ideas and methodologies. It is his duty to teach the researcher about those, so that the researcher can apply that knowledge in the work undertaken.

To know more about various aspects of the role of a dissertation supervisor in any discipline, kindly browse through the pages of