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Using Python for your PhD project? A guide on how to get started

Using Python for your PhD project? A guide on how to get started

Many PhD research scholars make use of simulation and coding tools for their research projects, especially for analysing their quantitative data. Python is one of the most widely used tools for programming while handling complex research data. If you are also planning to use Python for your PhD research project but are confused as to how to go ahead, then we help you understand a few steps you may take to get started. Check out.

Steps to get started with Python

Know Python: It is highly important to know the usage of a tool before you benefit from it. Thus, you should start by learning the basics of Python language syntax and data structures. It is fast and easy to learn programming in Python and coding towards effective data analysis. Python is rich in terms of examples and open source libraries that you can use to your advantage in PhD research. If you have not used this tool earlier, you may take up a short-term course to being operational on it.

Practice coding: When you are good at programming, you can start creating codes for your research. Before handling complex tasks, try making some codes for data filtering, organisation or plotting. While data analysis is the most useful application of simulation codes, you can record the entire pipeline of your research in order to make it reproducible.

Use libraries: There are many wonderful things you can do with the libraries in Python. Explore the ones you can use or combine to work in your research. This will minimize the work you will need to do yourself. It is easy to import libraries in Python.

Explore new ideas: Whether you need to gather some data online or manipulate the data, you can be explorative with coding to your benefit. In fact, you may use this tool to collate just any type of data you may need from the Web. Python is great when you want to process or modify your research data. Thus, start finding its real-world applications and give more richness to your research while also saving your time.

Use for data visualization and analysis: Finally, you may use various available computing modules that make Python more powerful with enhanced capabilities. You may use it with Stata, R, and such other statistical programs for meaningful data analysis and data visualization.

Thus, you may follow the above steps and go from learning Python and coding for data analysis to performing several time-saving tasks in your research. However, some of you may not know the basics of programming or may not have time to learn programming in Python. If you think you cannot use Python effectively for your PhD project, then an alternative for you is to simply follow the step of seeking guidance from a professional statistical consultant. An expert statistician can help you with writing codes and finding new ideas that can broaden the scope of your PhD research.

PhD Topic Ideas: A 10 point rule book to develop your original yet viable PhD topic

PhD Topic Ideas: A 10 point rule book to develop your original yet viable PhD topic

If you the one reading this blog, it is likely that you are wanting to enroll for a PhD programme but still struggling with the topic selection for your PhD thesis. It isn’t as straightforward to find the most appropriate topic for your research as you may perceive it to be. But if you have the right attitude and the required patience, then surely you would be successful.

There are a certain set of rules that you must follow if you want to ensure that you choose the right research topic.

  1. Before making the final decision, you must read a lot of dissertations that are linked to your subject or your key interest areas. It would familiarise you with different ideas and research styles. It would not only help you to zero down on a topic but also give you a multidimensional outlook and later help you to devise your research style.
  2. Make sure you look for a topic that interests. Listen to the advice of your professors but go with the choice that is entirely yours.
  3. Get back to old ideas. Check old resources you might have used any time in your graduation years and try to see if some evolution could be done on them.
  4. Consider several ideas rather than looking for that one perfect idea. At the initial stage, you must have a welcoming approach to even the craziest ideas. Think of as many ideas as you can. It would eventually bring you closer the topic you have been looking for your research.
  5. Before finalising on a topic, ensure that nobody has completed a similar research. Collect supporting arguments why your research matters. It would help to keep you convinced and at the same time to convince your supervisor and examiners at the later stages.
  6. Assess the need for resources and information for the research. Make sure you have done a thorough analysis of the needed resources and information for the entire research to be conducted and surety that you have access to all of that.
  7. Have a precise and succinct topic. Usually, researchers who begin their PhDs with over ambitious projects struggle at the latter stages.
  8. Have a flexible perspective to your main research question as it may change during the course. Be flexible as you can so that you can quickly adapt to new evidence.
  9. Take expert opinion with your supervisor while you are deciding as they can give you a practical perspective to the obstacles and challenges that may come at the subsequent stages, which you may not be able to anticipate.
  10. Listen to your heart and be ready to fall in love with your topic.

Always know that, even after having decided the topic very cautiously, there would be moments when there would be a feeling of saturation and exhaustion with your topic. Do not feel dejected and know that it is common and part of the process.

Recreating the drama around your PhD Thesis Defense

Recreating the drama around your PhD Thesis Defense

Ask any PhD student about their thesis experience, and he or she will have a story to tell about their thesis defense. More than the research project, it is the story of the thesis defense that can incite the most extreme kind (positive or negative) of the reactions.

My personal experience to completing my PhD thesis was certainly similar to an amateur climbing a mountain for the first time. Life, since then, has been normal after being appointed as an assistant lecturer in a renowned university. The mighty “Everest” rose between my thesis proposal defense and my thesis defense. I do not know the reason, but some perception of my thesis proposal resulted in it being deemed insufficient by the review committee of my university. Although this felt like a “major” explosion for me, it turned out to be just a small “testing” explosive compared to what was to follow.

Following the proposal rejection, my thesis defense was also failed, probably due to the quantitative nature of my research study, which basically comprised of statistical analysis of collected data from surveyed population of university students coming from low income or single parent homes.

This should have effectively ended my pursuit of PhD credentials, however the review committee decided against it, subject to me agreeing to change my research methodology from quantitative to qualitative mode. The committee also decided that only Dr. Andrews can be my guide and mentor for my new research path. Luckily, Dr. Andrews agreed to work with me in this unforeseen scenario.

Thanks to him (and perhaps my own desperate situation), we bonded well over the next 18 months and even thought me to be “exceptionally talented” to get through with my research. His profile as a strong advocate for PhD students and his chair experience made sure that I did not have to make any major “mindset” changes to attempt the research project.

For the next 18 months, I worked hard on my qualitative methodology of research and ended up with a much better understanding of the research topic. Once the research project was completed, I had little trouble getting my research proposal approved. Following that, I worked on the project dissertation and felt more comfortable discussing my points with Dr. Andrews despite my statistical approach to problem solving.
This time around, I was much more relaxed and prepared during my thesis defense, and even joked a few times with the committee members. All this (and more) is thankfully due to the mentoring and trust placed on me by the versatile Dr. Andrews.

A supervisor’s account of reviewing literature review by candidates from different cultural backgrounds

A supervisor’s account of reviewing literature review by candidates from different cultural backgrounds

There is a whole lot of dilemma linked with being a supervisor to students from different cultures. It is understandable that these students must be feeling perplexed, lonely and confused in their Ph.D. journey. As a supervisor, with a humane touch one would want to do everything that is reasonable enough to help, but then there is always some ambiguity about the best way to help, and with so many responsibilities attached, a supervisor is always short of time and energy, both.

With varied experience in my kitty, and all that I have seen around, I feel that prospective supervisors should be given a choice to accept or not a student who belongs to a diverse cultural background. This holds all the more weight when one talks about semantic barriers, such as the scholar and supervisor not being comfortable on the grounds of language. In universities and institutes who have big monetary motives often don’t say  no to  applying scholars as they don’t consider these challenges significant in front of the money that is coming to them.

As a supervisor you much check in prior to accepting that whether you are in a position to offer support that needs to be given to the scholar. Sometimes, I have also had to face rudeness from the scholar who belonged to another culture. To be explained better, because of cultural differences, certain behaviour of the scholar seems unacceptable in our culture. For example, getting late for appointments, or looking into the eyes and talking. All these may be signs of normal behaviour in some culture but at the same time signalling rudeness or impoliteness in some.  If you are facing anything such, you must do what I did. Explain to the scholar in a tactful manner the changes in the culture that need to be adopted certainly.

Yet another dilemma faced during handling cross cultural scholars is the correction of work and telling them their mistakes. The usage of appropriate words and vocabulary matching the standards of the culture are certain challenges that are difficult to comprehend by the scholar. One needs to devote a lot of time and energy on perpetual basis, trying to do this. This may sometimes make scholars believe it is actually a part of the supervisor’s job but that is not possible, and then further conflicts or differences may arise, which sometimes may get out of control.

Saving Yourself from PhD Stress

Saving Yourself from PhD Stress

PhD StressAre you feeling physically or mental exhausted with your daily academic work, or experiencing high levels of stress? You can relax as this is a part and parcel of any PhD course and cannot be avoided. This is not to suggest that PhD stress is not real and damaging to your personal well-being, but to make you aware that you are not the only one experiencing it.

At the same time, you must not ignore the warning signs of stress and try to keep working through it, as this will only worsen the situation.

So, are you experiencing any of the following stress signs?

  • Physical or mental exhaustion on a daily basis
  • Inability to focus on the immediate task
  • A general lack of motivation and drive
  • Constant fear and sense of helplessness
  • Constant tension or fear of the course workload
  • General feeling of not belonging to the high standards of a PhD program.

If you are experiencing most (or still worst, all) of these signs, it is probably a good time to relax and reduce your stress levels, by following the tips below:

Slow down
Remember that your PhD pursuit is a marathon race, and not a sprint. Slow down or take a complete break for a few days. Make a list of things to do and focus on the immediate things that have the highest priority. Breaking down a larger task into multiple subtasks can help you relax and reduce your stress.

Prepare yourself for things to go wrong.
Despite meticulous planning, things can go wrong at any stage of your PhD course. Do not blame this on yourself, as it has and will happen to the best of students. Engaging with the problem in hand and focussing always on the solution will ensure the success of your research project.

Managing the fear factor
Fear factor can be a major cause of stress. Fear can be at different levels. Are you fearing not being able to complete your PhD, or not being able to devote your time and focus on your PhD course? Understanding the level of your fear can help you in overcoming the same.

Live healthy
Doing a PhD course does not mean that you have to make drastic changes to a healthy lifestyle. Do not deprive yourself of your normal sleep, and stick to a healthy diet and plenty of water. You can also seek stress-related help from your family or close friends.

Writing a PhD Thesis Every Guide Wants to Read

Writing a PhD Thesis Every Guide Wants to Read

Most PhD students spend years of hard work in preparing and researching for their selected PhD project. Most of them also fall short when it comes to presenting the project thesis that can convey the depth of their research and their individual contribution to the solution of the original problem.

In addition to its details, the PhD thesis must be able to state the problem with clarity, review the existing solutions to the problem, provide a critical analysis of the same, and finally detail the proposed solution to the problem.

PhD Thesis

Listed below are some tips on writing the ideal PhD thesis that every guide would want to read and publish:

 

  • Structuring the thesis

Your thesis must have a structure and flow similar to any research paper. Although the exact structure can vary depending on your subject, the outline structure of your thesis can include an introduction, related work, experiments, and conclusions.

  • Is your thesis publishable?

A publishable thesis can be the delight of any guide. To achieve this, you will need to plan for this from the time of subject selection. Question yourself if your conducted experiments are extensive to survive any independent scientific scrutiny, or if the data used for the research is valid.

  • The importance of headings

As an alternative to generic headlines in your thesis, provide headings that provide a glimpse of what your content can be. Regarding use of sub-headings, use appropriate section numbering and do not exceed more than 3 levels.

  • The title of your thesis

In addition to the use of headings, the title of your thesis is vital to convey the extent of your research. Avoid using very short titles (for example, “Music Information Retrieval”), which sounds generic and does not convey much information of your research. Use appropriately long titles that indicate the scope of your research work.

  • Taking help from professionals

When it comes to effective writing, it is best to take the help of academic writing professionals who have the relevant skills and experience in preparing a complete thesis. An academic writer will be able to convey the depth of your research clearly using text and formatting.

  • Preparing for the viva

Review the quality of your thesis, which is likely to be examined by the panel of experts in the viva discussion. These experts will examine your thesis to check for completeness and overall quality, and to determine if presented data and analysis support the final conclusion.

Does Every PhD Research Require a Conceptual Framework?

Does Every PhD Research Require a Conceptual Framework?

A majority of reports indicates that over 89% of research candidates find it difficult to decide if their research requires a conceptual framework or not.

Are you fighting the same battle?
If yes, then this article will surely help you out!

The conceptual framework is an essential ingredient for your research. It provides a glance on researcher’s synthesis of literature on how to explain a phenomenon.

The requirement of a ‘Conceptual Framework’ depends on the type of research. But before explaining which research requires a conceptual framework, let me first tell you what purpose a conceptual framework fulfils:

  1. It generates proper links from the literature to the questions and research goals.
  2. It serves as a medium to keep research on track.
  3. It provides a clear insight on the variable of a study.
  4. It explains the concepts and proposes the relationships among the concepts.
  5. It provides an organized structure for the research design and methods.
  6. It guides the development & testing.
  7. It represents the relationship of the developed hypothesis with central factors or key concepts.

Now, moving towards the purpose of this article, let’s see, which research requires a conceptual frame:

A conceptual framework is understood as an explanation of how a research candidate sees the different concepts and outcome of the study and its relation with each other. It can be an adoption used in a previous study with modification to suit the inquiry.

framework

A research can be categorised into two types mentioned below:

  • Exploratory Research: It is also known as formative research, its objective is to gather preliminary information that will help define problems and suggest hypothesis. It is conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the research design, methods of data collection and conceptual framework.
  • Explanatory / Casual Research: Casual research is quantitative in nature. It is pre-planned and structured in design that’s why it is also known as conclusive research. It is different from exploratory research in terms of explaining cause and effect relationship between variables. Explanatory research shows the cause and effect relationship in terms of experiments and doesn’t require a conceptual framework.

There are two research methods for exploring the cause and effect relationship between variables:

  1. Experimentation
  2. Simulation

What if your research requires a conceptual framework?

Well, don’t worry; we have got your back.

But, what all do we require for developing a conceptual framework?

Below are the ingredients required for developing a conceptual framework:

  1. Literature Review
  2. Knowledge of specific research domain
  3. Research Background
  4. Personal Experience
  5. Data

We understand that the conceptual framework is a prominent document for your research. Let’s discuss how to develop a conceptual framework.

Developing a Conceptual Framework:

concepual-framework

  • Identify Concepts:

Identify concepts from the literature review and provide a categorization among them. The concepts can be categorised as abstract or concrete.

An abstract concept is broad and may not be readily observable while the concrete or specific concepts are amenable to measurement.’

  • Define Variable:

Defining variable is the main function of a conceptual framework in a descriptive research. A variable is something that changes. The change in variable depends upon the various factors; some of the variables are like constant only (name of someone) while other change frequently (Value of Stock Exchange)

  • Operationalize Variables:

The operationalization of variables involves strictly defining variables into measurable elements. It defines fuzzy concept and allows them for empirical and quantitative measurement. To improve the robustness of research design and to increase the quality of the result, operationalization of variables sets down the exact definition of each variable.

  • Develop Propositions:

Develop the relational statement or propositions among the concepts. This helps in providing an idea for hypothesis development and testing.

  • Explore the relationship between variables:

Exploring the relationship among variable is an important part of developing a conceptual framework. Some research abstracts contain the variable of research and thus may serve the purpose.

Even though conceptual framework is the heart of a research, not every research requires a conceptual framework.

Do you require assistance in developing a conceptual framework? Then drop a mail at info@phdthesiswriters.com!

Writing a HYPOTHESIS of the Research

Writing a HYPOTHESIS of the Research

Being a PhD thesis writer, creating a hypothesis for your research study could be a bit tricky part. The hypothesis of the research can also be considered as a statement of predicting the results of the study.

Thus, when you frame a hypothesis always bear in mind that the statement should be

  • Objective
  • Testable
  • Linked with the variables of the study

Here, you should also remember that when you frame a hypothesis there are two statements which are framed simultaneously, in terms of Null hypothesis (symbolized as H0) and Alternate hypothesis (symbolized as H1).

In general terms, the Null hypothesis is a statement which is supposed to be ACCEPTED by the researcher and which is deemed to be the cause of the research. Whereas, the alternate hypothesis is the antithesis of the Null hypothesis (i.e. supposed to be REJECTED)!

For an instance, your study focuses on the subject of employee retention in an organization. In this study you are focusing on various factors which are responsible for retaining the employees in an organization. Thus, when you try to frame the hypothesis statement, you need to concretely define the variables of the study first.

By variables we mean that the variables have various categories such as: dependent variables; independent variables and control variables. The independent variable is the one which influences the dependent variable. The control variables are the ones which determine the conditions in which the dependent and independent variables interact with each other.

Continuing with the example mentioned above, here the independent variables would be the factors which influence the employee retention. Let’s say in your study, you chose these variables as:

  • Source of recruitment
  • Skills and job profile match and
  • Experience of the employee

Note of caution: Now understand that the variable Source of recruitment is also broadly defined. There could be numerous ways of recruiting the employee. Hence, you need to focus on this part as well because the influence of each source of recruitment in retention of employee may vary.

Sources of recruitment could be

  • campus placement;
  • online job portal;
  • recruitment agencies, and
  • advertisement in newspapers

framework

Figure: Framework of Variables of the Research

Note of caution: Categorisi ng the broad variables into specific variables is crucial as the impact of distinct sources of recruitment could vary on the employee retention. If these sources would not be categorized then the research seems generalized and would loose on providing specific insights to the academicians and industry people.

After identifying and categorising the variables you can easily define the hypothesis statement which can be tested as well. The hypothesis statement would follow as:

Ha0: Sources of recruitment impact the retention of employee in an organisation

Ha1: Sources of recruitment does not impact the retention of employee in an organisation

The sub-hypothesis of the main hypothesis are:

Hb0: Employees chosen through campus placement tend to stay for long duration in an organisation

Hb1: Employees chosen through campus placement do not stay for long durations in an organisation

Hc0: Employees chosen through online portals tend to stay for long duration in an organisation

Hc1: Employees chosen through online portals do not stay for long duration in an organisation

Similarly you can frame the hypothesis for the other two variables in the similar manner…

Framing a hypothesis for your dissertation would become a cakewalk if you would follow these steps. Just like the other chapters and sections of your dissertation, the hypothesis statement acts as pillars for drawing conclusion.

Note of caution: If you would make incorrect assumptions (i.e. the predicting statement) then the aims, objectives and all your efforts being invested would go in vain.

Follow these steps to form an appropriate hypothesis for your dear dissertation.

Write Your PhD Thesis In 2 Months

Write Your PhD Thesis In 2 Months

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Thesis writing is no doubt a multi-month ordeal that makes you pull your hair out. But, when you have to submit your thesis work in two months all you have to do is follow a plan, set your deadlines and work steadily, more importantly smart work is required from your end.

After having selected your topic of interest, there are multifarious tasks such as literature review, preparing the questionnaire, data analysis and interpretation reports that you need to cover up efficiently.

This article is devoted to ways that you can get way ahead of the curve from the very beginning to the submission of your thesis

1.Get Started With Literature Review:

The starting point for a PhD thesis writer is to read truckloads of papers relevant to your topic of thesis so that you can develop an understanding of your experimental techniques and learn more about your area of interest. Literature Review develops the understanding of what has been done so far in your field and what questions remain to be answered, where your research will contribute.

The following points should be in your consideration:

  • How do you find relevant papers without wasting much time?

    As you don’t have much time, so definitely don’t want it to get wasted over browsing unnecessary data, what you can do is go through Google Scholar and Pubmed for advance search or boolean search. Pubmed offers the great facility to set up citation alerts that notify you via email every time these articles are cited.

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Fig : Pubmed Advance Search

  • The software you can use to save your time on literature review is ‘EndNote’. ‘EndNote’ is here to serve you with its incredible capability of managing bibliographies and references. There are several ways to add a reference to a library: manually, exporting, importing, copying from another EndNote library, connecting from EndNote. It enables the user to select multiple citations and saves the user from having to enter manually the citation information and the abstracts.

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Fig: EndNote

2. Preparing The Questionnaire:

After gathering all the information required and understanding the gap between previously carried out research and your findings, the next task is to prepare a questionnaire, which will cover all the possible aspects of your thesis.
There are two types of questionnaire:

  1. Qualitative Questionnaire
  2. Quantitative Questionnaire

Difference between Qualitative & Quantitavie Questionnaire:

Qualitative

Quantitative

Conceptual

  • Concerned with understanding human behaviour from the informant’s perspective

  • Assumes a dynamic & negotiated reality

  • Concerned with discovering facts about social phenomena

  • Assumes a fixed and measurable reality

Methodological

  • Data are collected through participant observation & interviews

  • Data are analysed by themes from descriptions by informants

  • Data are reported in the language of informant

  • Data are collected through measuring things

  • Data are analysed through numerical comparisons & statistical test

  • Data are reported through statistical analyses

Qualitative Questionnaire:

Download the sample ‘Qualitative Questionnaire

Quantitative Questionnaire:

Download the sample ‘Quantitative Questionnaire

3. Research Methodology:

The next chapter of your thesis that will cover the method to carry out the experiments is ‘Research Methodology.’

Research philosophy is the way of explaining your research methods and how that influences your work. It should be incorporated in your dissertation as it solves the issue on which methods to apply in your research. It highly depends upon the individual’s perception of understanding things as it is a belief about a way in which research should be conducted.

Research Philosophy

Research Method

Research Approach

Positivism

Quantitative methods comprising of sampling techniques, questionnaires/ surveys, stuructured interviews, observation etc.

Deductive.

This approach is based on observing and forming hypothesis n an already existing theory.

Interpretivism

Qualitative methods comprising of unstructured interviews, focus group, participant observation, case studies, etc.

Inductive.

This approach is initiated through observation and patterns to form a new theory.

Realism

Quantitative & Qualitative

Now the question is, which research approach to select?

  • It would depend upon how much time you have. The decutive approach is quicker to complete whereas inductive approach requires ample amount of time.

  • It depends on how much risk you can take. Deductive approach has less risk of failure. Inductive research is more risky as it is not necessary for a theory to evolve.

4. Data Analysis:

It’s difficult when you have to find out a result after calculating so many figures. As in this calculative instant of time it’s empirical to participate a number of data and find out the best result possible in any of your research, here what mainly you need are some authentic statistical tools that can simplify your data’s into an upshot without investing much of your time.

There are many tests that are need to apply on the data, and selecting the appropriate test for your data is a tough and time-consuming job, so, here is a flowchart to help you out in this situation:

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There are many tools for the data analysis that you can use and save your time.

  1. SPSS: SPSS Statistics is a package used for data analysis or statistical analysis. SPSS is used by market researchers, health researchers, survey companies, government, education researchers and marketing organizations & data miners.

    SPSS shows two views as per the requirement i.e. Data View & Variable View.

Data View:

1234

Variable View:

123

2. NVivo:

Nvivo is a software package for qualitative data analysis. It is used for working with rich text or multimedia information, where deep levels of analysis on small or large volume of data are required.

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5. Conclusion:

Many candidates find concluding chapter difficult to write for several reasons. As there is no one right way to construct a concluding paragraph, there are some guidelines that can help you to end your thesis on a strong note.

  • Restate your thesis implicitly
  • Emphasize the importance of your subject by placing it in an elaborated context
  • Give Suggestion for the future based on what you have argued.
  • End on a powerful and relevant quote that serves to sum up your work.

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6. Editing & Proofreading:

Once you are done with writing your thesis, the next important task is to edit and proofread your copy of the thesis. As you don’t have much time left, so, don’t go for editing on your own. Hire a professional help who can assist you with the complete process of editing & proofreading and make your thesis a perfect piece of work. Another important aspect of editing is checking for plagiarism. You can check for plagiarism online using en.writecheck.com and for grammar check you can use grammarly.com.

Guidelines to Write a Good Thesis Proposal

Guidelines to Write a Good Thesis Proposal

Thesis proposals are generally written in present as well as future tense. After selecting a topic for your thesis, the step is to give a striking introduction. This can be attempted last after completing the remaining sections of the thesis proposal. After this you can prepare a research question and convert it into a statement so as to make a proper work plan. The undesirable consequences of the problem should be noted. Now you can convince the reader about the importance of the problem with regard to yourself and the society.

Now you can state the purpose of the study – whether it is done to interpret, analyse, or change the problem. The next section is mentioning the significance or the advantages of the study conducted. For this you can answer questions concerning the importance of the study, the people targeted, and the consequences which can happen to the society, program, or theory if the research is performed or not performed.

The next section covers the methodology followed in the research where you can state the research perspective and your viewpoint. You can provide at least three methodologies which could be feasible and choose the most appropriate one. Now provide instances of theories or studies which support as well as oppose the approach to the given problem. It is also better to include the methodologies used by others who have dealt with the problem before. After this is done, you can provide the expected results of the research carried out. The terms used to state the problem, methodology, and purpose should be well-defined. Also, provide various assumptions concerned with the study like world views, basic values, beliefs, etc. The reader should be aware of your attitude towards the problem as well.

Limitations concerning the methodologies and concepts related to the study should be revealed. Now the procedure used to carry out the study can be provided in detail. Finally, you can think about the long range consequences if the study is done or not done.

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