So.. I had a Viva and I didn’t die.
To be entirely honest whilst it wasn’t my dream best-case scenario it was my realistic best hope – I passed with minor corrections. [Dream best case? Immediate pass & simultaneous publication/fellowship offer hahaha]

However, at this stage I am trying to get my head round what that really means.

I have a list of typos, grammatical quirks and stylistic points to correct. Its not a short list (this isn’t a surprise) but some of its features are unexpected – for example my practice of giving a full reference in the footnote the first time I used a work and author-date-page thereafter was dismissed as not obvious and messy so I will be changing it to author-date-page throughout.
What is harder to get my head round are the general comments on things they would liked more/less of vs. the comments about what would need doing before publication was a sensible option. I am trying to work out how to include the information that my examiners deem important without pushing the word count into ridiculosity.
Naturally, given the multi-disciplinary nature of the thesis, they do not entirely agree on which areas should be given precedence/offer sufficient information and the weird synthesis of being too obvious/not obvious enough is brutally clear to me. Despite some vague why haven’t you talked about this/ clarified that etc comments there is a lot of really detailed feedback which I am really grateful for – goodness only knows I’d do it differently next time!

Anyway, I don’t have my formal report yet and nor do I have a clear idea of what my satisfying these comments and resubmitting/getting approved will look like.

This is definitely a portion of the PhD process I don’t know how to approach.
Anyone else have this problem?


Just living that moment where you look at the examiner’s report and it suggests organising the material in a way you rejected at your supervisor’s suggestion 18months ago.

Edited to clarify – the way my examiner suggested was the way my thesis had been structured  *mumble mumble* years ago but was eventually fully re-assembled to fit some suggestions from supervisors.Chronological vs. thematic? A matter of taste?

Planning to Publish…

When I submit one of the options given is an embargo on the electronic copy of my thesis that would allow me to publish without being gazumped.
I intend, despite every ounce of self-doubt, to take them up on this offer.

First of all I want to rip a couple of journal articles out of my research – ideally one for each discipline. Cornish Studies I think will be easier to achieve than Classics but it is a matter of targetting. But longer-term I’d really like to create a monograph from the thesis. The question is do I have the balls and will I have the time.
I want to put a manuscript proposal together for a publisher before christmas.. is that daft? Maybe. But I need to not lose movement. Hopefully my conference paper proposals will be accepted too and then I have another string towards publication.
I might have no experience now; I might never be a lecturer but damn I want to have published my research!

The Relevance of Book-Reviewing

As a time-pressed young (pseudo-/wannabe)academic I am often dependent on book reviews to help me make decisions about whether to chase down particular texts to use in my research and to keep up-to-date with recent publications in my field. [Bless the internet for RSS feeds etc.] But.. I am in a quandary about the place of writing reviews in an academic portfolio.

On the one hand if you are lucky you might even get to keep a copy of a text you are interested in but might not have been able to justify spending money on. Furthermore writing reviews encourages critical reading of academic text and it offers practice in writing for publication – writing for an academic audience, subject to their standards and their criticism without putting your precious research on the line. It even helps establish your name on the list of people interested in and writing about particular topics.
On the other hand reading and writing reviews are time-consuming and will never be as high profile as the real articles (and/or thesis) you would otherwise be writing.

University graduate skills programmes are unsurprisingly ambivalent on whether they are genuinely relevant to young researchers trying to climb the academic ladder and so am I. However, the fact remains that someone has to write them because they are vital for efficient research (and I am told important to authors and publishers too) – realistically I won’t be writing any whilst my thesis is still in progress on the basis that my supervisor might kill me so perhaps I shall resign myself to the notion that they are best saved for maternity leave 😉

Being Involved.

Today I have seen my supervisor L & been to the library, but the key aim was to spend some time being part of the research community.

As a part-time learner, living 2 hours from campus, I don’t see much of the community but I still feel I ought to try and be involved. So today I took part in the college post-grad researcher staff-student liaison committee and gave an interview about the use of digital tools in research.

I was part of departmental SSLC as an undergrad but haven’t got involved since. It is difficult to feel like a representative so far removed from other people but in its way that separation is an important thing to represent too. We talked about induction and resources etc..
The interview is part of a project being part-funded by JISC at the university about encouraging research involvement with resources.  I agreed to discuss my experiences of mind-mapping, RSS and academic focused- social networking which was both a good experience for me to assess what uses I put my computer to and hopefully encourage other people. More info when I have slept..