Thursday, July 12, 2012

PhD Tips at PCSSH

I was glad that I went to the Postgraduate Conference on Social Science and Humanities at the faculty recently. Learnt a few tips from other lecturers that I think will be beneficial for all.

Dr Khairil spoke of how to do some shortcuts by identifying a few (as few as 4 to more) key works in the area that one wants to pursue and work from there. The students literature review should then support those key works and from there generate gaps, research problems and how can one contribute. He also suggest a simple shortcut is to take ready made conceptual frameworks and add to it. The adding part is the headache, LOL. One then must frame the Research Question as an improvement to the key works.

Dr Mahani spoke on what she calls relatedness and what I call flow. She elaborated on the standard chapters of a thesis as discussed by Dr Khairil and expounded on the need for the relatedness of all factors in each chapters. The Introduction chapter should have at least a Problem Statement that is related to the Research Question (in a broad context) that is then related to the Objective (general and specific). All these should lead to what is discussed in the Literature Review and leads to the Methodology. In the methodology one can discuss theoretical and conceptual framework, research strategy and analysis. I especially like how she explained gap. A gap can be seen from the perspective of context, concept, and theory.

Dr Rabaah also discussed her experience dealing with 5 different main supervisors during her PhD study. Her positive frame of mind allowed for her to complete her PhD even though she had to go through numerous difficulties. She also highlighted that one must assume that you are wrong until you can show in by a journal.. indicating support for everything you write in your thesis.

Even the Vice Chancellor made me think. One must not blame circumstances but work through it.

My best wishes to all MSc & PhD students.

Ernest
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