Wednesday, 26 August 2009

PhD summer school

I was in the PhD Summer School last week for four days, had a nice eye-opening on the PhD projects going on in Dundee and also couple of from elsewhere in Britain. The first day we were asked to bring in a poster, thus, there is my homework:

On the second day we watched a video explainning the process of viva, and it was really great to see how the process is likely to be and what are the tips we can take. I am only writing up, but it's always good to know the next step.

I also did a 10 min presentation on the project, and got a lot of feedbacks - especially useful comments from Seaton. He also commented on the idea of 'unity of the diversity' - exactlly what I was look for in the case studies, that holding idea that makes Service Design Service Design, it can be a ideology or just a believe... mmnnn... Eva who did her PhD on craft and visualisation was saying 'to craftman the craft practice is a lifestyle', so what is Service Design to service designers?

We had two finishing PhD coming in talking about thesis writing and viva experience as well. Some good tips here:
* add a biographical note - it's nice to let the readers 'know' you as a human and understand how many decisions in the research process are influenced by where you come from;
* have a thesis outline as part of the introduction - I have done that, and my supervisors and I are using it as a graph tool to communicate the achieves of my writing, it works really well!
* bring evidence to viva - one of the outstanding characteristics of Art and Design research lies in the visual thinking process, therefore, it is reasonable to show that process as supporting material in the viva. I guess all my big big A1 sheets and wallpapers are getting into the room with me!
* prepare some tea or coffee, make sure the viva environment is as comfortable for conversation as possible. Sometimes viva can go over 2 hours, so having some water by hand is always handy (for you and the for your examiners...) also it is ture that the purpose of viva is to give the candidate the chance to indicate their ability of taking part in academic debate and defencing their arguement, so it is more like a discussion you can pick up in the conference rather than a question-answer type of interview.

Well... the future seems bright so far... Aiming at first draft before November, so... go go go~ this week I hope to hit at 20,000 words!