15 July 2013

Items to Share: 14 July

Education Focus
  • 10 truths a PhD supervisor will never tell you | Features | Times Higher Education from Tara Brabazon. I'm suspicious--this seems to be written more for effect than serious guidance, but then PhDs are very different. There's little in common between supervising a doctoral student who is a member of a lab team working full-time on a research project directed by a principal investigator funded externally, where the student is finally given her own little angle to write up in her final months, and supervising a part-timer who has devised his own project and is trying to fit it in around full-time work...
  • How not to write a PhD thesis | General | Times Higher Education (This is an earlier revisionist take on the PhD from Brabazon) "When a student uses words such as “discourse” and “ideology” as if they were neutral nouns, it is often a signal for the start of a pantomime of naivety throughout the script. Instead of an “analysis”, postgraduates describe their work as “deconstruction”. It is not deconstruction. They describe their approach as “structuralist”. It is not structuralist. Simply because they study structures does not mean it is structuralist. Conversely, simply because they do not study structures does not mean it is poststructuralist. The number of students who fling names around as if they are fashion labels (“Dior”, “Derrida”, “Givenchy”, “Gramsci”) is becoming a problem. I also feel sorry for the students who are attempting a deep engagement with these theorists." Yes!
Other Business
  • Nice Results, But What Did You Expect? – Phenomena  "Running double-blind studies is easy enough when your medicine looks the same as a saline drip, but it’s usually impossible in psychology. “Psychology interventions aren’t like pills, [...]If you’re receiving an experimental treatment for depression, you know that you’re receiving treatment.” 
  • The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.) - NYTimes.com  (Oliver Sacks) "At nearly 80, with a scattering of medical and surgical problems, none disabling, I feel glad to be alive — “I’m glad I’m not dead!” sometimes bursts out of me when the weather is perfect. (This is in contrast to a story I heard from a friend who, walking with Samuel Beckett in Paris on a perfect spring morning, said to him, “Doesn’t a day like this make you glad to be alive?” to which Beckett answered, “I wouldn’t go as far as that.”)

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