PhD: Does size matter?

Hey faithful readers.  Just a quick post PhD meeting post.

Every Tuesday afternoon I have a meeting with my supervisors to hash out what I should be working on and get feedback, throw around ideas, etc.  This week, after my main supervisor left to attend another meeting, the other 2 and I were sitting around talking about the 3rd part of my PhD.

What can I say about part 3 of my PhD apart from: I dread.  It’s an area I know very little about (which is why my supervisor thinks it would be good for me to do – expanding my skill set).  And I know how these things go.  Research always takes longer than you expect.  Much, much longer.  Anyways, I have been rather concerned about this section as we haven’t done any planning what-so-ever, as my main supervisor wants me to focus on and finish up the section I am on (undivided attention – it makes sense).  And I need to be thinking about wrapping this PhD up.  Like asap.  With a big bow.

Anyways, we were discussing what the focus of Part 3 should be I was reiterating to my 2 supes how important it is for me to finish at the end of June, so it needs to be very straightforward and succinct (ha!  research is anything but).  Like, I have to finish in 4 months.  I will run out of money if I don’t.  I actually cannot afford any more months of study (ok maybe I could afford through July, but honestly, let’s just aim for June – this PhD has been dragged out enough already as it is).  And one supervisor said – well, maybe you don’t have to do part 3.  Maybe you could do something else?  Something that makes better use of your time.  Will Part 3 really add that much (considering the effort)?

It was like – hallelujah!  Actually, I do have ideas for other experiments that would relate to my work and probably be a lot more straightforward.  I listed them off.  I like to think they were impressed.

Next week we’re going to discuss whether part 3 is truly necessary, and if maybe something else could be subbed in to round out the thesis (you don’t want an examiner reading your thesis and thinking – why didn’t she explore X, Y or Z?).  They keep reminding me that thesis size doesn’t matter (I surely hope not because so far mine isn’t really all that big and as it stands I don’t know that it is “enough” content wise…  But I also don’t want to do more than is needed.  It is just a PhD, after all.  FYI,  I estimate that I’m around 45,000 words as is).  But another 3rd smallish, succinct, contained experiment would round it out nicely to 6 chapters.  And I would be done in June.  Ah research.

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