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46 to 60 of 104 PhD Forum Posts

Who's doing the weirdest PhD?

User: phdbug - 07 August 2009 22:14

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:-) Thanks much for the 'passionate and elegant', just the two adjectives I love!

Doubtless there are deeper questions here. Look at funded projects from the ESRC and the AHRC that fund qualitative research. Or EC projects that fund projects with qualitative elements, does sample size not matter? Of course it does. I'll speak from my field... have a look at BBC or BBFC or BFI supported audience research projects where scholars contributed outside of academia for research that speaks to policy and so on, of course a certain number of focus groups and interviews were needed. That is what I do for my own research too.

I think 'to matter' itself would be a rather confusing term. Matter for what? For whom? This above is one kind of mattering. Another as I said, is what I find when occasionally I browse through anthropology journals instead of sociology (not implying crude mappings here)... when I see the instances I have spoken of below, that I realise that much of research that happens in these areas, that do not per se interface with policy and similar, or borders on humanities or tilts towards it... there it would be a largely irrelevant question...

I do a PhD where I have a strange task and position. I come from a non disciplinary background, I study media and comm, but am neither a sociologist first, nor an anthropologist, nor anything of worth... I merely did my undergrads in geography (entirely useless for media till now) and then Masters in media and comm and here I am in just a couple of yrs from rivers and glaciers over to a phd in media. In my PhD I am working with, hang on, hold your breath: psychology (!) and literary aesthetics (!) to do research with digital literacies, that also interfaces with the policy literature....

Torn i truly am! From psychology I am trying to retrieve elements of social constructionism and leave out the quant, from literary aesthetics I am fleeing to retain the best and also retain my identity as a social science researcher, from digital literacies I am trying to escape being called a technological deterministic, and the policy element...alas, some say it is too normative for any kind of 'critical' research....

and all of these have different ideas of sample size and why it does or does not matter....

I am afraid I have only added to the questions here, and not answered a single one... for whether it does or does not matter will depend I think on (inter)disciplinarity (anthropology or psychology for e.g.), domains (purely scholarly, or policy relevant) and of course personal opinions....

User: rubyw - 08 August 2009 10:16

Walminski, I didn't think you were attacking anyone and you didn't appear to be digging yourself into a hole either! I can't remember you ever attacking anyone on here actually. Thanks for the reference, I will check it out before expanding my exceedingly tiny (but valid!) samples in any future project destined for an alternative disciplinary readership.:-)

User: a116 - 08 August 2009 11:07

Quote From phdbug:

What would sample size be for an ethnographer who spends 10 years studying kinship patterns in one community? Or, what would sample size mean for a critical discourse analyst who is studying two texts, or for a semiotic theorist who is studying early childhood literacies of two children?
Just wanted to give my thoughts. In the cases you've outlined the sample size issue can be thought of in terms of analysis, and in qualitative data analysis (regardless of the exact method used) the important thing is to keep analysing until data saturation is complete, that is, until no new issues are arising from the data.

So, in the example of the ethnography in one community, you have to make sure you've pulled everything from the data you've obtained.

In the discourse issue - you need to make sure that the entire text has been extensively analysed, not just sections of it.

Does that make sense?

User: eska - 08 August 2009 15:45

Well! So much for light hearted banter: this has to be one of the most dense and intellectual discussions I've read on here. Try again Adam.

User: Rafique - 11 August 2009 09:08


i am looking to apply for Phd, in human rights law,. please can you suggest me any good university where i can enhance and utilize my expertize.thaks

User: phdbug - 11 August 2009 09:26

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Quote From Rafique:


i am looking to apply for Phd, in human rights law,. please can you suggest me any good university where i can enhance and utilize my expertize.thaks


Two questions. Why this post on this thread? Second, what is your 'expertise', where is this likely 'good university' to be- in England or Timbuktu?

Also, please use, it is often useful.

User: verypoor - 18 August 2009 23:25

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Quote From walminskipeasucker:

Actually, not to be a pedant, but I think that sample size does matter very much with qualitative research. Too few and you may not have any kind of generalisability or transferabilty (not really a strength of qual anyway) or be able to generate a good enough description and/or understanding of what you are studying, but too much and you may not be able to generate the 'in-depth insight' typical of qualitative research. I could be wrong there, as I'm just thinking off-the-cuff.

Anyway, I agree that there's no such thing as a boring PhD to someone that is interested in it. :-)
So because someone else finds it interesting I have to?

I'm entitled to my opinion. No one criticised anyone else on their opinions on PhD projects until I posted. This thread is about what PhDs people think are weird and I answered, like everyone else did, but not as summarised.

walminskipeasucker papers are always criticised for not having high enough numbers. Like when I read about what a certain group of people I fall into think, I always think, they didn't ask me. Also some of the people who criticised me are assuming that if someone gets a PhD, therefore their project can not be argued with, which isn't the bases of academia at all.

Btw PhDbug, I'm disappointed that you're disappointed that I find a PhD on texting boring.

Edit: It's just a forum, don't it so seriously.

User: phdbug - 19 August 2009 07:38

Quote From verypoor:

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Btw PhDbug, I'm disappointed that you're disappointed that I find a PhD on texting boring.

Edit: It's just a forum, don't it so seriously.

Hmm, verypoor, but this time round I am not disappointed with what you say above! My point was that projects have their own logics, usually very niche specific. Some lend themselves better to public/greater common acceptability (i.e. a phd on finding a cure for disease) and some are more 'obscure'.

But I also do realize that we seriously disagree with each other on this, and neither of us has the time to pursue this further. Hence let's agree to disagree.

Best, bug.

User: StBarbarella - 24 August 2009 10:13

My PhD proposal would be a Critical Discourse Analysis into the dark humour of such shows as Family Guy and Southpark, thus destroying any previous joy anyone ever got out of those shows by analysing it to bits but giving me licence to submit a thesis full of swear words and crude jokes.

User: phdbug - 24 August 2009 11:14

ahh at last a CDA in our midst! (I dont do CDA, just know a couple of people who do)... hmm.. i do the opposite of CDA in a way actually.. i do audience reception research in a way... so I guess opposite as in, meaning in the text and meaning at the text-reader intersect....

User: eska - 24 August 2009 13:00

Having just had my income slashed by a third, and having, now, been left wondering 'how the hell am I going to survive for the next blimey knows how many years' I believe, I am doing the weirdest PhD!! Me and all the other self funders in the world who routinely self flagilate themselves financially. I'm going to have to take on more paid work and I really don't now how the **** I'm going to be able to concentrate and complete before I hit my retirement age. So, yes, it's me, an all the other self funders...

User: rubyw - 24 August 2009 14:07

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Quote From eska:

I believe, I am doing the weirdest PhD!! Me and all the other self funders in the world who routinely self flagilate themselves financially.
I completely agree!! I've often wondered whether I was completely barmy in combining the normal stress of a PhD with self-inflicted poverty while doing various part-time jobs.... Weird or not, for me, I'm fairly sure it's worth it, to paraphrase a crappy hair product advert.

btw if the money thing gets unbearable, you could always transfer to P/T PhD student status and work more - not ideal as it delays completion somewhat, but better than being really, really poor and it's good to have ongoing employment, particularly in the current climate. Unless you already are, in which case ignore that not very helpful comment...

User: Carolynne - 26 August 2009 16:58

Wow! Quite a few people who are soooooo politically correct that I'm bound to offend. A mate of mine's ex did a PhD on black in paintings - don't know which paintings but there you go. Black in paintings. I see a red door and I wonder why wasn't it painted black? Pretty sh*t though because he failed...

Mine research (not PhD) been summed up quite nicely as mice porn... Which I like. Minnie does the hedgerows. It's a working title.

Oh, to the guy who wrote the very rude google comment - I think we're here to help each other. Just a thought...

User: maria1 - 14 November 2009 09:58

I know someone who did their PhD on the names of Dickens's characters and tried to trace the etymology of each name and relate it to the personality of the character. I couldn't help but think perhaps CD was just fond of the name Oliver...

User: eska - 14 November 2009 10:32

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Hey Maria, that's true about Dickens, I've noticed he often chooses names which have relevance to his characters; for example, the cruel, glutenous orphanage owner called Mr. Fat *******. I think your friend is right, but am not sure how that element of Dickens would fit into a Phd, but then I'm not a literature postgrad.

In fact, as I remember this is something you learn at GCSE and A'level: the name Oliver has associations with dignity and strength, add the Twist surname and you have an indicaton of Oliver's character and fate. Also the name Pip from Great Expectations suggests a seed, a fitting analogy for the story of a young man's progress intoo maturity.

I take you didn't study literature at GCSE, or if so they'd stopped doing Dickens in your cohort so I've attached some GCSE stuff on Great Expectations:

46 to 60 of 104 PhD Forum Posts

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