Another year, more plans

January 12, 2009

It seems unbelievable but I am almost at the end of my first year of PhD study.  It’s been a crazy, busy incredibly interesting first year and I am excited to see what this year will bring, particularly in regards to this research. 

As I’ve probably posted before, in New Zealand a full-time PhD is done over 3-4 years.  Coursework is completed in the Masters degree so is not usually required at this level, the PhD is therefore purely a research-based degree.  At my university the first year is provisional, with progress to full enrolment in the second year dependent on the completion of work set out in a “Statement of Expectations” drawn up at the beginning of the year by the student and supervisors.  Work completed in the first year is also presented at a research seminar to a selected panel who decide if the student will move on to full candidate status (or need to do more work!).

My first year is up on 31 January, however department schedules mean I have been given a reprieve and won’t be doing the presentation until the end of February.  In the meantime I need to finish the work set out in my statement of expectations: a 3000 word proposal and the second of two 5000 word literature reviews.  

Once this is all done and my full enrolment is confirmed, I will be able to finally start of the bulk of the data collection.  Initially I had intended to travel directly to Honduras but a combination of family and financial issues (my scholarship doesn’t get paid out until April each year!) meant that I won’t be able to travel until at least May or June.  So I will be starting the process online,  particularly looking at the website and forums, and making contact with people over the Internet.  

So, so this is how 2009 looks for me:

Jan-Feb: Writing and preparing for confirmation at end of Feb.

Mar-May: Start online data collection, prepare for ‘fieldwork’

June-Dec: Honduras.  Visits, interviews and the conference in September.

This seems pretty clear at the moment, although if there is one thing I’ve learned about research is that it can be unpredictable.  Hopefully all will go according to plan and I’ll have the data collection completed by the end of the year.  It’s going to be another busy one, but should, once again, be very interesting.

2 Responses to “Another year, more plans”

  1. Clarissa Says:

    In my country, a PhD ranges from 3 to 5 years, and to do a research-based PhD, you have have a research-based Master’s degree (not coursework).

    And I find that the system is a little different in Australia and NZ, if I understood you correctly. In NZ, you are given a year to confirm your candidature? Or is it just your school? My boyfriend is in Australia, and in his school, he is given 6 months to write up a proposal, present it with some data before he is confirmed his candidature.

    I am also looking to do my PhD, that is why I pay a little more attention to stuff like this 🙂

  2. Sharon Says:

    Thanks for your comment Clarissa.
    Yes, I have a year to confirm candidature- my confirmation seminar is next month.
    My Masters degree included both coursework (1 year) and research work (1 year). To do a PhD at my university you are supposed to do the Masters first, including the research work, but in some cases this may be waived.

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