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Meraki

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  1. If you are applying to funded programs, this may be part of the problem if you are not looking for a long-term research career. Many PhD faculty are looking to raise the next generation of researchers who will go out and create a network for them with other institutions through their job placements. There is also some expectation for their students' future research to bring recognition to the institution from which they were trained. The extent to which this plays a role in admissions will, of course, vary from program to program, but I've heard this mentality quite a bit. This doesn't mean you need to be 20-something to get a PhD. Many of my peers are over 40, but are still looking for tenure-track positions after they graduate. PhD programs invest a significant amount of money into the training of each of their students (they typically cover tuition remission, stipend, sometimes health insurance). There needs to be some return on that investment for the program. Therefore, the program is seen as job training with a long-term goal in mind. I know that might sound harsh, but it doesn't mean you can't earn a PhD. It means you need to be strategic about where you apply. If you are not looking for a research career, then applying to research universities whose students primarily place in tenure-track positions probably isn't going to work out for you. You might need to look at lower-ranked institutions (which aren't necessarily bad programs), or programs that are not fully funded (if you can afford it; normally I don't recommend programs that aren't fully-funded but this is a different situation). If you are able and willing to self-fund, (i.e., pay for your classes and all other expenses), you might try reaching out to some programs to explain your situation and see if they might consider you before applying. I'm not sure if it's worth it for you to do this, as it would be quite expensive over the course of several years. There are also for-profit and online PhD programs, which I also don't normally recommend, but if this really is just a passion project and you can easily afford it, it might be worth considering. Another thing to consider is how many programs you are applying to. If you're not able to relocate, that severely limits your options. Many applicants apply to 9-12+ programs and might only get into one or two (if any) on a given cycle. If you can relocate, you will have a better chance of finding the right fit. I will also say that it is entirely possible that faculty are not interested in your research topic. Research fit is a big consideration for PhD programs, and if you apply with a single, specific idea of what you want to study and it does not fit the interests of the faculty, then another student may be selected. It isn't just about what you find interesting and giving you the leeway to do what you want; faculty needs to find it interesting and believe it has the potential to be a successful area of research (i.e., publishable). Perhaps your interest is a dead topic in the field (no one is researching it anymore), or it's a saturated area with little room to make significant contributions, or they just don't care for the topic and another student is equally or more qualified and interested in the same thing they are. I do know of someone in their 50's who was recently admitted to a good PhD program, so it is possible. She was strategic about where she applied and reached out and built relationships with a few potential advisors before submitting her application. Keep in mind that there are many reasons you might not get an acceptance - many applicants of all ages need to apply for several rounds before finding success, even when they have masters degrees, good grades and test scores, and great letters of recommendation. The problem might be your age for some programs, but there are other programs willing to consider you if you are the right fit and keep trying.
  2. This will vary widely by field, but in my field, you wouldn't typically be listed as a co-author unless you made a substantial contribution to the paper (e.g., helping to design or run the study, help with analyses, and/or co-write the paper). Editing, checking figures and sources, and other similar tasks wouldn't normally lead to co-authorship, but in some cases faculty may still add these students as a co-author despite convention. In some fields this may even be the norm and expected. If you want to be more involved in research projects and become a co-author, I would discuss this with faculty and see what additional opportunities might be available. I would also speak with the program coordinator to learn more about the RA/TA billing situation. I think the answer to this will be specific to your program. In mine, funding is the same whether you RA, TA, or do both.
  3. Generally, your graduate GPA will be of greater interest than your undergrad GPA. Your graduate GPA seems okay, likely to meet a cut-off if the program has one but isn't on the high end for top tier admissions. I think getting your GRE score higher, particularly the quant, is your best bet (and really the only thing you can do at this point) to offset any concerns about GPA. However, GPA and GRE are only going to get your foot in the door, so-to-speak. After that, the other aspects of your application are much more important, such as research experience, interests and fit with the department, letters of recommendation, etc. Work experience is helpful in researching real-world problems, but isn't usually a huge factor in admissions. What specialty area are you interested in applying to for a PhD? Accounting? HR/Management? Some suggestions may be program-specific. Some areas of management (HRM, OB), marketing (consumer behavior), and accounting may be less concerned with an average quant score, whereas strategy, quant marketing, finance, and Econ would expect higher scores. Top tier programs (really, all programs) will be looking for promising researchers as evidenced by prior research experience, recommendation letters, and through interesting and clearly articulated personal statements that match faculty interests. Are you in touch with any faculty, or could you get in touch, and see if you can join any research projects? It can be difficult to effectively express why you want a PhD (and know if you truly do want one) if you have no experience doing research, although this is not usually a deal breaker for admissions as long as you are familiar with what research really entails and have done reading in your area of interest. You will want to choose letter writers who know you well and can write strong recommendations emphasizing your relevant qualities and accomplishments, and you will want to work on a strong personal statement. Get the GRE scores up, and target programs where faculty are studying things you are interested in. I recommend applying widely; top tier is not guaranteed for even the strongest applicant, and there are many excellent programs with good placements outside T10 or T20. You might also find that the top programs aren't focused on research you're interested in, or you might find that the "super star" in your area of interest is at a T75 school. I would argue that it is the advisor, and not the program or school itself, that most determines student success and placement. If you attend a T10 program and your advisor is toxic or you find that the research is not interesting, thus becoming a terrible chore, you will not likely be as motivated, productive, or even as healthy as you would be in a program where you are respected and engaged in the research. So, if you can get a feel for how current students are doing/feeling/placing, that can be a great indicator of department/lab culture and success (keep in mind that email communications can be deceiving as many students would not like putting negative comments about their advisor/program in writing). Finally, but not least important, speak with your former faculty/advisor(s) about your plans and see what they have to say. They might have network connections at programs you're interested in (always a plus) and will have a better idea of where you might do best to apply based on your application strength and interests.
  4. I am not in poli sci and I'm not very familiar with Canadian grading. However, grades are only a small part of your story when you apply to PhD programs. Ideally, yes, you want your grades and test scores (e.g., GRE) to be as high as possible so that you meet the (hard or soft) cut-off for admissions. But once you've overcome that hurdle, other aspects of your application will become more important, such as your research experience, letters of recommendation, research fit, etc.
  5. Meraki

    Academia.edu & ResearchGate

    Many academics post their full-text articles on both of those sites, articles that otherwise might not be available to an audience outside of a university setting. For example, when I was applying for PhD programs and did not have access to journal databases (I was not currently a student), I found many of my potential PI's articles through ResearchGate and Academia and other sources on Google Scholar and researcher websites. So, it's a nice way to put your work out there for practitioners and other audiences, although I don't know the rules about when you are allowed to post your full-text articles without infringing on copyrights. I have a ResearchGate account. It is useful for following scholars whose work you are interested in, as you can scroll through your feed (similar to Facebook and LinkedIn) and see their updates for new articles they've published or projects they're working on, although they don't always upload full-text documents. I like this because sometimes I see articles that otherwise wouldn't be on my radar. I wouldn't say it makes a huge difference in my productivity or anything like that, but it's a nice thing to scroll through when I have (or pretend to have) some downtime and want to see what other scholars are up to without searching them individually through databases and Google Scholar. It's also a nice way to follow your cohort or faculty who may not be in your area of research interest, but you want to keep in touch and see what they're working on. Many of my faculty and peers use it, and I would probably describe it as a LinkedIn-type site for academics. Another benefit is when I'm Googling research methods questions, I often come across answers from ResearchGate. You can post questions there and the community provides their insights and resources. This is similar to Stackexchange. I don't have an Academia account and haven't really looked at it beyond the occasional article pdf I'm searching.
  6. Meraki

    Manuscript-based master's thesis

    I think you express yourself quite well. I think the confusion is that your area/university does things a bit differently than what I'm used to, so it's hard for me to understand the options you're describing because I've never had those options. It was always "write to publish, period." I think you're on the right track with being strategic in how you want to position your paper.
  7. Meraki

    Manuscript-based master's thesis

    I wasn't sure what you mean by, "instead of doing a 'typical' thesis." A typical masters thesis in most programs I'm familiar with would be in the format of a scientific, publishable paper, as Psygeek stated. Not everyone submits their thesis for publication, or has success publishing it if they do submit, but the goal is to write a paper that has that potential. Your area clearly has different options, which might be why you haven't gotten a lot of feedback on pros and cons. I can't really picture what a thesis using real data in an unscientific/unpublishable format would look like. If it's your career in academia you're focused on (which should include doing things to get you into the best PhD program for your goals), then writing something with the potential for publication should be your goal. So, based on what you've shared, it sounds like writing a scientific paper from your qualitative findings and submitting it for publication would be a better option than writing a thesis that is not written in a format that can be published. Plus, if you choose the latter option and later decide you want to try and publish the paper, it'll take more time to reformat it. I'm not sure what the pros of writing a non-scientific paper would be, unless someone was not interested in working in academia and just wanted to get it done. The pros for writing a scientific paper, on the other hand, are many, particularly given your academic career goals.
  8. Meraki

    Manuscript-based master's thesis

    I assume this would be a conceptual or lit review paper? It sounds to me like you're considering scrapping (or postponing) your qualitative study in favor of something that might be more easily done given your time frame. You could hold on to your data to examine later and do this other paper for graduation. I'd hate to see you give up on your current project, though. In your other thread, it was said that every study has an "I wish I did xyz instead of abc..." moment, so I still think it's worth seeing what you can get out of your current data even if the informant count is less than desirable. You may still uncover something you can use to build a future project. That being said, which paper you choose to do is up to you. Are you applying to PhD programs now for Fall 2019 admission, or are you applying next Fall 2019 (I'm not sure by your signature)? I'm not sure that choosing one option over the other will make a big difference in admissions, and if you're applying now then you'll probably already have interviews and maybe acceptances before finishing either paper. I think it'd be good experience for you to try grounded theory now, so that you have more insights and confidence pursuing future projects - and you can discuss your research experience with faculty for admissions. But writing a conceptual or review paper can also be great experience going into a PhD program. Just keep in mind that these kinds of papers can take a long time to develop too, especially if you don't currently have an idea in motion and are starting from scratch. In short, I'm not sure there are any big "cons" for doing the scientific paper, other than missing an opportunity to learn a new qualitative method of analysis.
  9. Meraki

    Don't like Cohort + Anxiety

    I'm not sure that the professor made the comment about mental illness because of your presentation or if it was just unfortunate timing. Being nervous while publicly speaking doesn't mean one has an anxiety disorder -- many/most people fear public speaking, which means that she may not have even considered your presentation to be a sign of anything more than that. So unless she specifically called you out or told you personally it was a problem, I would not link the two. In my experience, it is common to discuss whether people with mental illnesses can be effective counselors. We discussed it in several of my undergraduate psych courses. And I think there's a good reason for discussing it. If one is treating a client with a similar struggle as one's own, one can over identify with the client. This can cloud judgement and lead to a variety of issues in the counseling relationship. I was told it is common and recommended for counselors to go for their own therapy from time to time to help with managing not only the emotional exhaustion of the job, but also to sort out any personal struggles of their own so they can keep them out of their own clients' sessions. Perhaps the professor didn't have a great deal of tact in discussing this sensitive issue, but it is important to discuss. The question is whether she said anything that explicitly links her comments with your personal situation. Does she know (ie, did you share with her or in class) that you struggle with anxiety beyond public speaking? Even if she does, it doesn't mean she couldn't bring up that topic if it is normally discussed at some point in the class or program. If she used you explicitly as an example or spoke to you about it after class, then that is a problem. However, whenever we hear negative things that apply to us, we have a tendency to think they were directed at us due to our own insecurities, and that is rarely the case. So if there was no clear expression that she mentioned this *because* of you, I would take it as a poorly timed but useful piece of advice to be aware of the problem of over identifying or bringing your own problems into therapy, which was passed on to you by someone with little tact. As for your cohort, I think you need to work out why they bother you so much. We will always have to work with people we don't like, and as you said, you may spend a lot of time with clients you can't personally stand. But consider that many grad students feel insecure about their capabilities, especially early in the program, so maybe the girl who talks about herself does so out of nervous habit or because she wants people to like her (whether her strategy is successful or not). People who are very judgemental also are typically hiding insecurities and trying to put others down and exerting their own "better" stance to make themselves feel better. I think everyone struggles with something. So maybe it's just a matter of trying to see through their fronts. Or maybe there's another reason they're getting to you. But at some point you need to focus less on how pleasant your instructors and peers are and focus on your own health and development. You said you have some friends, which is great. Enjoy your time with them. Laughter is a great way to deal with the pressures of grad school (or anything for that matter). You'll eventually find a rhythm that works for you.
  10. Meraki

    I feel like I won't be able to make it.

    First: Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and repeat. It sounds like you just need a little direction. I'm sure everything will work itself out once you find your way and can dig in to your data. There are a few different perspectives in grounded theory, such as Glaser & Strauss, Strauss & Corbin, Charmaz, etc. I'm not sure how much you know about GT -- are any of these researchers familiar to you? They are all sociologists. You should ask your advisor if they have a preference or recommendation for which perspective you should pursue, or speak with other students doing qualitative work to see what sources they have used. A quick Google search can also help clarify these different perspectives if the choice is left up to you. There are other GT approaches as well, but I think those three are the most commonly cited. I wouldn't stress about learning every single GT approach and trying to choose from a dozen options; see what comes up most in your area of interest or what faculty or students recommend, and then decide which of these options makes the most sense for your project. Next, I would make a stop at your library and see if they have any books by these authors. Many books will have visual examples of the coding and memo processes which are extremely helpful; journal articles are great too, but they don't usually provide many, if any, visuals. Once you feel comfortable, you can start practicing your coding. I recommend practicing on some other text, not your interviews. When I first coded, my codes were confusing and messy and you could see the quality changing over time. Find a short text (maybe two pages) and practice doing different order codes and themes. It would be great if you could find someone to look over this and provide some feedback, such as whether you're staying close enough to the data, if your themes make sense based on the codes, etc. If you can't get feedback, compare what you've done to the examples you've found in books or online and you'll have to make a judgment of whether you feel ready to apply your skills to your data. If you are pressed for time, pick a shorter piece, or start directly with your interviews. Organization is going to be the most important part of this process if you want efficiency. Think about how you will code (handwriting? on a computer?). How will you write memos (Post-its all over your wall? In a notebook?). How will you lay out your documents so you can keep moving back and forth between them (on your bedroom floor where you can leave them lie? In the office where you might have to keep putting them away after every session?). If you have a space at the office or home where you can lay everything out, put stickies on the wall, etc. and not have to clean up each time, that would be best. Otherwise, have a system in place so you can clean up and spread out quickly each time you dig in to your data. These are just some ideas that have helped me. I strongly encourage you to speak with faculty and students who may have books to loan you, or know exactly where to point you based on your project. Transcribing will probably be the worst part if you have to do it all yourself. I find coding to be fun, challenging (in a good way), and even relaxing; you might be different, but just know it gets better with practice.
  11. In terms of vocabulary, you will pick up on words that particular fields like to use by reading more of the literature. I'm not just talking about jargon; I've definitely seen particular phrases and words that seem favored by a field. For example, the fields of psychology and organizational behavior talk about "organizations" while economics and strategy talk about "firms" when discussing businesses (simple example but the more you read, the more you will pick up on such preferences). I agree that using a thesaurus is not always helpful, nor is using the biggest and most complicated words. You run the risk of confusing your audience if they're unfamiliar with the word or if you use it incorrectly in a sentence. Being clear and concise is more important. Furthermore, it is the content of your writing that will impress your faculty - the strength of your arguments, the level of research you did on a topic, and the unique insights you bring to the discussion. No list of "impressive words" can independently accomplish this.
  12. Meraki

    Transcription of qualitative interviews - which program?

    I believe it took me an average of about 4 hours to transcribe one 1-hr interview. My times varied somewhat depending on how clearly and how quickly the informants spoke, but I think 48 hours is a reasonable estimate of time.
  13. I'm not sure how much of a height difference you need, but can you find a thick mat to stand on? They make anti-fatigue mats, but they're usually thin (~1"); there may be some other type of mat that is a little thicker. Of course, you want to be sure that whatever you're using is safe (not so small that you'll trip off of it while working). I probably wouldn't recommend something more than 2" for safety reasons. Since you already have the initial disability set-up out of the way, it might not take as long to fix the desk issue. I would ask if you could get one of the adjustable stand-up desks that are placed on top of a regular desk. This way you can raise it only as high as you need it and you shouldn't face any more height issues. I'm not sure if this would be cheaper or more expensive than a stand up desk, depending on the quality of the desk they gave you, but it's worth exploring whether they'd cover that option. At the very least, I would try to work it out with them before quitting. Worst case scenario, they can't accommodate and you leave.
  14. Meraki

    Impact of school disciplinary action?

    If there is no criminal record of any kind, typical employer background checks would not pick up on this incident. Reference checks, on the other hand, might. Consider how young you may have been, and what the circumstances of the situation were. The amount of time lapsed between that incident and an employer review will matter (e.g., did it happen last year, or five years ago? Were you 19 years old, or 27?), as will your honesty about the situation. If you have had a good record since (no similar incidents), good recommendations, and otherwise demonstrate that that behavior was a one-off situation years ago, I wouldn't expect it to be a big issue for future employers (keep in mind that I don't know the severity of the incident, but I'm assuming it's not something that should have resulted in criminal charges). Of course, school applications typically ask more specific questions about previous institutional records, so it may be discovered and considered more heavily than a non-academic employer. Either way, if you are asked in an interview, or at any point about the situation, you want to demonstrate that you know the behavior was wrong and have learned from the situation so that it will not happen again (assuming this accurately reflects your thoughts on the situation). If you do not disclose the incident when prompted on a required form and an employer or school finds out, this demonstrates that you did not learn from the situation, are dishonest, or possibly willing to do something similar again; this will likely cause some problem. I know you stated you were honest on your form, but I wanted to emphasize that for other readers who might be in a similar situation. Honesty is the best policy, and is the only way to ensure that this situation doesn't bite you in the butt later on if it is discovered. If you lose a job offer because of it, that is better than receiving a job offer/school acceptance and having the offer revoked later on when the truth comes out. At this point, I would not stress about that which you cannot control. Just do what you have to, fill out all forms and answer all questions completely and honestly, and accept what may come.
  15. Meraki

    Lack of autonomy

    I don't think anyone has taken your dignity away. That is your own perception of your self worth combined with prior expectations that are not being met, and no one can tell you if this path is worth it because our values will differ. This student may be exceptional. They may be the advisor's relative or child of a family friend. Who knows. But I think an open and honest conversation with your advisor is the best way forward, and this conversation needs to be about your development, not what you have to do for an undergrad or how uninspired you are by current tasks. This is work. You're all colleagues in a sense. Your advisor is your boss. You need to approach this as I and some of the others suggested, not mentioning "how you tick" or feeling belittled by undergrads. That's something you vent to friends and family. And it's natural to feel that way. But how you handle it in the workplace - your lab, and with your advisor - requires a different motivation and approach.
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