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  • brunoperryblog 12:12 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Literature Review Stuck-Up 

    I am in a PhD program and can’t seem to write a literature review! It’s been 7 months since I enrolled in this program and maybe I am new at this, that’s why I can’t get it. But I am fed up! After selecting my topic and extensively reading different papers related to my field, I am told to prepare a draft on literature review (which I heard for the first time). My self-righteous guide didn’t bother to explain how to write an LR or what the heck that is! All I got to know from here and there was that, you write about other researches.

    Failure 1: I just took the abstract of other research papers and simply ‘put’ them in my draft, which was a super failure, no doubt.

    Failure 2: I re-wrote the abstracts (pretty stupid of me for which I got to hear my guide’s bickering for two painful hours!!).

    Failure 3: I included more references and instead of writing in paragraphs about one research, I wrote in sentences. For example, Mr. X stated this, Mr. Y stated that (advised by my guide and still the sicko rejected it).

    Failure 4: I divided the literature review into sections and did a little bit more explaining (my smart-ass guide wanted a critical analysis, without explaining it to me!!).

    Failure 5: So, I revised the document according to the ‘critical analysis’ and still got rejected!

    Why? Because now, that imbecile wants me to make a concept matrix and also, he wasn’t satisfied with my critical analysis! What the heck is a concept matrix? I am so damn tired of making revisions! What do I do?

    • davidbergeviin 6:08 am on February 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I am so sorry to hear this. Some advisors are just non-cooperative and yours is ‘stupid’, I guess. He should just tell you what he wants, instead of moving you around. Anyways, have you identified the different theories from your literature review?

    • brunoperryblog 10:27 am on March 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Theories as in the findings of the researchers? What they proposed? That’s what you mean by theories, right?

    • davidbergeviin 6:11 am on March 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well, concept matrix is a way to present your literature review by displaying the different concepts interpreted by different researchers! For example, your research topic is something like, “evaluating the impact of social media on CRM”, a possible concept can be “social media has a positive impact on CRM”, then you need to present the ideas and methods that the other researchers have applied to evaluate the positive impact of social media on CRM. It has to be in a tabular form. I think I am unable to clearly explain it you, so have a look at the following link of a pdf. It might help:

      Click to access D-2008-10.pdf

    • robertmaxeey 11:28 am on March 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think your problem is your supervisor and not the literature review! And it’s the most common problem that we all share. Try making him understand, don’t just listen to him and make the corrections. If he has stretched your LR for this long, god only knows what he’ll do when you move onto research methodology!

    • brunoperryblog 8:43 am on March 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I know that the problem is my overcritical supervisor, but that is something I can’t solve. So I abide by his rules, after all, he got my marks.

      @davidbergeviin what I learnt is that I need to identify the concepts from my research and write the discoveries of other researchers on those concepts. I did accordingly and mailed it to my supervisor. I hope he finally approves.

  • tappedward 12:11 pm on February 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    How research examiners go about examining a thesis? 

    Hey all! I am pursuing my PhD in Environmental and resource economics from Ohio State University, in Columbus, United States. I am at the last stage of my course. I submitted my thesis 3 months ago and I am waiting for my viva now and I am pretty nervous about my thesis too.

    • What if they reject my work?
    • How do the examiners make decision?
    • What ‘weight’ do they give?

    So, yeah, I am pretty curious and writing to simply ‘know more’!

    • sharonbaneey1 9:15 am on February 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I don’t know about your university policies, but in mine, external examiners are appointed to review our thesis. They are also provided with guidelines to help them review but I don’t really thing they do so. Who has the time to go through all the pages? They usually concentrate on the abstract, methods used, findings and conclusion, at least my guide does.

      But really, you should concentrate more on your viva. Sometimes if your viva is good, then you place a good impression on the examiners and they might not ‘critically’ review your thesis.

    • davidm34 11:05 am on February 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Go through your institution policies and practices. They all vary!

    • tappedward 7:07 am on February 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My examiners are external and my supervisor says that thy focus on the findings of the research and how much it contributes to your domain. That’s about all I know.

      @sharonbaneey1 How should I prepare my viva?

    • sharonbaneey1 9:47 am on February 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well, you need to be the’ expert in the room’ on your research topic. For that, re-read your thesis and keep track of all the latest technologies or new in your area of research. Be up to date with all the research papers that are being published since you have submitted your thesis and gain the additional knowledge.

    • terrywellch 10:49 am on February 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The examiners are usually chosen on the basis of their expertise in the field of your research work. As it’s basically about impressing them, study their contribution in the field. You’ll get to know about their knowledge and anyways, the papers written by them will be related to your field, so it won’t be a waste of time.

    • robertmaxeey 11:51 am on February 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      When I was in my viva, the examiners were totally onto me, they asked everything man. And not just asking, they literally probed on everything I said or ‘didn’t say’. Like they asked the limitations of my study and I only mentioned the usual ‘time constraint’ and what a mistake it was!! They counted off every single limitation there could be in this world! why did you choose this method, how will you justify it, why didn’t you go with this approach? The 1-hour-exhausting-frustrating-bite-my-nails viva killed me, but I did pass, though not with good marks :(. Anyhow, it was a relief, pheww!

      What I understand is that, it all depends upon the state of mind the examiner is in! A piece of advice: Viva is about defending your thesis or dissertation, so carefully consider what and how you are going to defend and what you will concede to. Also, don’t hide your limitations, like never!

    • tappedward 6:06 am on February 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      @Robertmaxeey Sorry to hear about your marks. Other than thoroughly reading my research, what else can I do to impress my examiners?

    • robertmaxeey 11:11 am on February 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Focus on your contributions, practice on how you will explain them in a clear manner. Don’t be silent, and you’ll be good to go. And yeah, try to have fun, the moment won’t last for long!

  • alexoliphaant 11:17 am on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Write-up Paralyses 

    I wanted to ask for some advice on the process of dissertation writing. With my engagement, marriage and lots of travelling during my environmental PhD, I have only written 10 new pages this entire semester! I am certain my University is going to kick me out if I don’t complete my dissertation before May of 2016!

    My dissertation has six chapters namely, introduction, literature review, research methodology, analysis, results and discussion, conclusion. I am done with the first and second chapter and have been writing research methodology for as long as I remember! I can’t seem to figure out the problem, maybe it’s due to so many interruptions, with my marriage and all. But now, when I sit down to write, I am blank, like I am so tensed, I can’t even write! Is it normal to get struck by a paralyzing writing anxiety?

    If anyone has a similar kind of problem with writing and could advise me on the same, I would really appreciate it!

    • sophiaw740 4:58 am on February 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, I am writing up too! Although I am not facing the kind of problem you are but maybe I can help you get out of this writer’s block. But first, tell me, do you submit individual chapters or the complete draft to your supervisor? Because if you submit chapter-wise then it will take more time as the supervisors usually takes time to check.

      I think you are really stressed due to the time-constraint issue, and that is what making you restless and anxious and thus interrupting your writing! Well, you got nearly 4 months to complete your dissertation and I think it’s doable! So, first relax, talk to your supervisor and I am sure it’ll all work out.

    • alexoliphaant 10:09 am on February 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Sophiaw740, I have to submit my dissertation chapter-wise. My supervisor is neutral, I mean she’s neither strict nor lenient, and I don’t even think she reads my chapters, so that’s not an issue. But, yes, time maybe as I am unable to write and I have limited time.

    • davidbergeviin 4:32 am on February 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I am not officially writing up but soon I’ll sail in the same boat 🙂

      I have heard that writing is quite overwhelming and so I have been preparing for it. I am reading this book, ‘How to write a better thesis’ by David Evans and it’s really encouraging. The author has pointed out interesting tips for every phase of a thesis, such how to go on with abstract, what to include, what to exclude, different styles of writing, writing in chunks etc. You can refer to this book to get out of this ‘stuck-up’ phase, it’s easily available on Amazon.

    • alexoliphaant 12:28 pm on February 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the responses guys. @davidbergeviin the book is too costly and funding is also a concern for me. Will the funding stop if I am unable to complete my dissertation on time?

    • davidbergeviin 6:33 am on February 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t really know much about funding, I guess it depends upon the scheme you took. If you have any doubts then clear them before hand, but funding or not, completing dissertation on time is crucial you know, at least for better marks!

      If book is out of the question, you can always find few tips on writing or how to write on internet. I came across few blogs the other day, about thesis writing, pointing out some tools that can be used. Check them out at:


      I hope, they are of some use! Good luck to you!

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