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SIMPLE RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL Ph.D: A CAUTIONARY CONSPECTUS
1. KNOW THY EXAMINER/S Read, digest, absorb everything ever written by them. Forgotten contributions to The Rugby Gazette?, Fly-tyers Tangle? or Feminist Frolic? can provide valuable insights and a potential psychological armoury. NEVER quote or cite from these obscure writings. Never simply quote or cite examiners papers. Always preface them by, eg. The seminal contribution by Canardly (1957) has fertilized the whole field of study in this discipline? or The most singular contribution to 20th century understanding of this hitherto obscure phenomenon or, best of all, use selected quotes in italics, to head each chapter of your thesis eg. Grounding theory in grounded theory provides an essential grounding for thesis preparation? P. Harness (1988) Pander to examiners predilections. By all means be innovative and original, but take care not to stretch the bounds of the preferred paradigm too far. 2. KNOW THY SUPERVISOR/S A highly successful thesis owes everything to the supervisor/s. A failure, on the other hand, is down to the student. The supervisor is always right. But, lowdown cunning can overcome this difficulty. Allow time for your brilliant insight to percolate and infuse his/her brain and become their own and your can proceed. There is an inverse relation between the student perception of a crisis and the supervisors triviality scale. Student problems must compete with (a) damn! have I paid my Penthouse subscription? (b) must add this latest reference to my c.v. (c) whats for lunch? Gaining undivided attention demands careful research and judicious application of (a) Grange Hermitage, or (b) Belgian chocolate (c) 30 hours of data entry (d) producing all but the final draft of the supervisors next paper. 3. KNOW THYSELF know thyself to be a fool, because only a fool would undertake a Ph.D. fool that you are, understand that other fools have proceeded you and now supervise and will examine you every morning, look into your bathroom mirror and recite "accountants, lawyers, brain surgeons and plumbers don't really enjoy their work and lifestyle" "I never really wanted a BMW/Porsche/Lamborghini; Noosa condominium; Lasik eye operation; secure employment; public adulation; excitement, etc." "My supervisors don't understand me but that's OK, they don't understand themselves." "Just a little bit of work now for a life of ease." eschew emotion. Save time; if partnered, separate at the commencement of your Ph.D and give partners total custody of pets, potplants, children WHAT DOES AN EXAMINER LOOK FOR WHEN MARKING A Ph.D · a document < 1 cm. thick with heavy board covers. · post-modernist front. · at least 1400 x 1400 d.p.i. colour plates. · no footnotes. · no origami fold-out charts, tables. · appendices on CD ROM, unreadable by my machine. · no footnotes. · a flip-up 3.D. model of the study region. · token disagreement with examiner's hypothesis quickly realised to be in error on page 3. · a bibliography that cites the examiner's every work; even including that think piece on drought in Penthouse. · no footnotes. · that impenetrable tangle of ideas that suggests that hidden talent. · selected quotations from my work, in italics, heading each chapter.