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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Calling all Ph.D students.
I am a currently a final year Ph.D student, enrolled in the Psychology Department at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. I read this book during my first year of study and I found it a valuable resource in getting started.
Those of you who are yourselves Ph.D students will know how difficult it is to know where to start your research and the lack of help/guidance...
Published on 17 Mar 2006 by Ms. N. C. Turnill

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too patronising and too descriptive an account of PhD life...
Well if this is what a PhD is about then I'm not going to bother continuing....

I'm not sure who this book is aimed at - I guess it you are coming straight from being an undergrad then there is advice in it that might help. Having worked as a research assistant for a couple of years I had a vague idea of what a PhD entailed before starting and for me this book...
Published on 15 Aug 2008 by UK reader


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Calling all Ph.D students., 17 Mar 2006
By 
Ms. N. C. Turnill "nickyturnill" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
I am a currently a final year Ph.D student, enrolled in the Psychology Department at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. I read this book during my first year of study and I found it a valuable resource in getting started.
Those of you who are yourselves Ph.D students will know how difficult it is to know where to start your research and the lack of help/guidance many students receive (although of course this depends on your supervisor and your department specifically). I personally received little help and was primarily left alone to 'get on with it'. This was very daunting to say the least.
This book is therefore a good place for those in a similar position to start. I recommend the book for either those who have recently embarked on a PhD or for those who are considering it. The book may also be valuable to those who are just starting out as academics and are new to research supervision.
There are 12 chapters in total.
1) Becoming a postgraduate:
This is a very brief chapter, containing general information about whats expected during the three years of study and the PhD degree itself. The chapter also outlines the structure and aims of the book in general.
2) Getting into the system:
Chapter Two contains information about choosing a course, both in terms of your supervisors, subject and the institution you will be attending. It is important that you ensure your are happy in all of these area's, as a PhD is a long hard slog. This chapter is really only suitable for those who have yet to apply.
3) The nature of a Ph.D qualification:
Chapter Three discusses what's expected of a PhD student, what you should be aiming for by studying for a PhD and the overall point of the qualification. This is discussed both from the student and the supervisor perspective.
4) How not to get a Ph.D:
This is a fairly self-explanatory chapter and deals with issues such as not to overestimate or underestimate what's expected, not understanding what is required, losing contact with supervisors and not leaving adequate time to write up. There are lots of useful examples in this section and it is one of the best overall.
5) How to do research:
This chapter discusses the characteristics of good research and the most common types of research and methodologies. In addition sources of electronic support and discussion are outlined, which may be helpful if students are struggling to get help internally. This chapter contains really useful tips and advice, it is also one of the most useful chapters.
6) The form of a Ph.D thesis:
This chapter discussed the finished product, e.g. the actual thesis that will be submitted at the end of the three years of study. This section includes advice on the structure of the thesis, how to lay out chapters and some tips of writing skills, originality and theory.
7) The Ph.D process:
This chapter discusses what you should expect during the three years you are completing your PhD. Deals with topics such as isolation, time management, boredom, frustration, deadlines and the development of transferrable skills. Again, I would say that this is one of the most useful chapters of the book.
8) How to manage you supervisor:
This chapter discusses what's expected of your supervisor and how much of a role you can expect him/her to play. Highlights the importance of regular meetings and progress reports but also that esentially the PhD is an independent process. This section also deals with handling potential problems including what happens if you want to change supervisors and if you want to make a formal complaint.
9) How to survive in a premomineantly British, white, male, full-time academic environment:
Covers areas such as sexual harassment, racism and disabilities and how to deal with these factors. This chapter is not really that applicable to me and thus I only skim read it.
10) The formal procedures:
This chapter primarily deals with the submission of your thesis, the selection of examiners and tips on how to handle the 'viva' - the oral exam which takes place at the end of a PhD and which is generally dreaded by all students. There are also tips on getting funding and going into post doctoral research following a PhD.
11) How to supervise and examine:
Generally this chapter focuses on the student-supervisor relationship but is geared mostly towards the supervisors perspective and thus isn't very useful for students.
12) Institutional responsibilities:
This chapter discusses the training of both supervisors and students. What you should expect from your university and your supervisor overall, the resources and support you are entitled to and also what they will expect from you!
Each of these chapters are broken down clearly into sections making in easy for readers to access the bits that are relevant. There's also a clear index at the back and many references should the reader feel they need additional help.
The book is well written and avoids jargon. Although it can be a little hard going at times, this is too be expected given the topic and the necessity of covering all relevant issues. The book isn't designed to be a pleasurable read, it is designed to be a factual resource.
On the negative side one disadvantage is the fact that the book is fairly subject specific and tends to give examples from buisness studies students on the whole. This is a shame as sometimes the examples are a little irrelevant.
I also feel that the book would benefit from an increased emphasis on scientific writing skills in general. This is one area that students commonly struggle with, yet it is primarily neglected throughout.
It's also expensive at £19 but the book is a really useful resource throughout your PhD and is sure to be a valuable source of information. If you are willing to buy secondhand, the book is currently available at Amazon.co.uk from around £15. In addition students should have access to a university library where the book is likely to be available.
In summary this book is definitely worth a read if you are a first year PhD student who feels out of their depth and all in all, I do recommend it. However, because of the price and the subject-specific examples I give the book four stars.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too patronising and too descriptive an account of PhD life..., 15 Aug 2008
By 
UK reader (Nr Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
Well if this is what a PhD is about then I'm not going to bother continuing....

I'm not sure who this book is aimed at - I guess it you are coming straight from being an undergrad then there is advice in it that might help. Having worked as a research assistant for a couple of years I had a vague idea of what a PhD entailed before starting and for me this book wasn't at all helpful, except maybe to reinforce the fact that you are very much in charge of your own destiny.

My overall thoughts are that the book is heavily descriptive and for me, it felt a little patronising. What was being mentioned was too obvious - male tutor might seduce female student in exchange for good marks - and in reference to that topic an incredibly depressing account of academic institutions!

Personally I prefer Rugg and Petre - The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research which focuses on the more practical elements such as writing style, presentations, networking.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to get a PhD?, 5 Aug 2005
By 
Dr. W. G. Wood "Bill Wood" (Onehouse, Suffolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
I bought an earlier edition of this book in the early 1990s, and it was an excellent aid when I was completing my PhD in the Representation of the Past in Museums. I brought it to the attention of my Supervisor, who was equally impressed after overcoming his initial sceptism.
I recently gave the latest edition of "How to Get a PhD" to my son, who is undertaking his PhD in Radar Tomography and Upper Polar Atmospheric Physics. He is as equally impressed. What greater accolade can a book be given? It is a wonderful read, offering essential practical advice. An essential purchase for postgraduates and their supervisors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read book before attempting PhD, 23 Jun 2010
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
I found a copy of this book in a university careers library, when starting my search for the right PhD studentship for me.

Right from the start, the advice on making the right choices for me - particularly in choosing a supervisor - were invaluable.

Some short while into starting at my college (Imperial), my supervisor remarked on how well our expectations of each other had worked out - I showed him my copy of the book, and teased him that he was actually the ideal supervisor according to their profiling, and that's why I had no hesitation in joining his research group.

Not only did he borrow my copy and read it, he then bought copies for all his other students as a means of provoking discussion about the PhD process, and how we might identify any areas of weakness.

If you're part-way through the process, pay particular attention to the chapter "how not to get a PhD" - I've seen others either fall into those traps (ahem - like taking an academic job before finishing writing up), or narrowly avoid them

I successfully completed mine in 1997.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive guide, 30 July 2010
This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
This is a great guide and a must read for those who are thinking to pursue their PhD. My prospective supervisor recommended this book for me and I'm glad I bought it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 20 Nov 2013
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
An excellent book for students. The explanations are simple to follow and to notate. Hifhly recommended for MPhil and PhD
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fascinating piece., 21 Oct 2010
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
This book has addresssed some of the key issues relating to Doctorate Research.
I find it particularly vital,especially given that it has been written in very simple,
easy to understand form. I think it offers practical solutions to some of the complex
issues involved in the research process such as Managing the relationship with supervisors.
It's a masterpiece and a joy to read. I would happily recommend it to prospective and current PhD students.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very useful, 5 Jun 2009
This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
great book for phd work and tips, points, recommendations on getting through it
i refer to the book often - so useful across the entire phd process
would recommend for anyone doing their phd
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great handbook for PhD students in the UK, 3 Mar 2009
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Kaj Christian Nyman (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
This a very good and useful guide for PhD students (and their supervisors) in the UK. The book pretty much covers all the relevant fields of doctoral research in the UK, from initial training and adjusting to a different atmosphere all the way to the upgrade and ultimately the VIVA examination.
Also, the book takes into account the very differing backgrounds that UK students have and gives concrete examples of how to handle 'difficult' student situations, such as being a disabled overseas or female bisexual student at a UK university, for example.

The coverage is apt and concise, but still manages to convey all the issues that are important to doctoral studies in the UK. I warmly recommend this book to other PhD students (1st and 2nd years in particular).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Helpful, 20 Oct 2007
By 
Wendy Jones "wjones7423" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Get a PhD - 4th edition: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors (Study Skills) (Paperback)
As I was about to embark on PhD study I bought and read this book following amazon customer recommendations and I am very glad I did. It is written in a style which is easy to understand and is honest in its approach. It gives helpful advice, but does not shy against the more difficult side of PhD research. Having been on my course for only 2 weeks I find myself using some of the advice already. I intend to keep this throughout my course of study and refer to it on a regular basis. I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of embarking on a PhD or even those already on one who need encouragement. It is well worth the money.
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