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Posts Tagged ‘literature’

PhD Week 5: Done

November 5, 2010 1 comment

Another week has come and gone of my PhD and therefore it is time to update you all about the lab meeting and the wonders of my week. Time seems to be rushing by (5 weeks have come and gone and I still do not know what I will be doing as part of my PhD) and passing by slowly (it seems that I have accomplished quite a lot since I moved here..mainly related to settling here however rather than my PhD).

Earlier on in the week, I attended the Orientation for Researchers at DCU, which I have already blogged about. However, related to my actual research, this week I had to present to my supervisors the way I see my project developing. Therefore during the meeting I presented an outline of what I will be doing in the next 3 years or so. Although I was scared of actually doing this, I think it served a good purpose, because all my thoughts which were previously running through my head have been now put down on paper (OK a presentation) and discussed with my supervisors.

Overall I feel things went well. The supervisors seemed to be interested in what I had to say. They seemed to agree with what I said and the supervisor who asked for this also thanked me and said that now my project is clearer in his mind, which I suppose is a good thing.

Where do I go from here? I now need to select which pharmaceuticals I will be analysing for. The list of human derived pharmaceuticals is nearly there, in that I know what I really need to analyse for based on my literature review and others which I might analyse for but which are not so critical based on literature, but could make for interesting findings. However the veterinary pharmaceutical selection is still way off. There is very limited, if any, literature on the subject. During the next week I hope to however make some progress in this aspect. I plan to become more aggressive, and rather than sending emails to authorities will start calling personally and see how it goes from there.

Wish me luck! Below please find a comic strip from www.phdcomics.com which is exactly how I feel…I already have over 200 references, which I should read, but are not really that organised. The list is always increasing and I do not think I will ever get to read them all. Will see.

The never ending wonders of references

The never ending wonders of references

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A Rant

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I know this should be my PhD blog, where things should be more official, but today I need to rant. I ranted this morning with my sister, but the rant is still not fully out. I have now been on PhD adventure for the past month today. Most of the time has been spent reviewing literature. This is where my rant comes in. Some people who design/plan journals obviously do not really make use of them to read and review what is written. This is because they make it really hard for anyone to follow through.

What is wrong with in-text citations being (Fenech, 2010)? First there is the use of numbered in-text citations. Therefore to check who said something, you need to flip to the back (or else to the end of the pdf document), therefore losing where you are and your thought process. But anyways that is somewhat acceptable. Space is money in this industry (although most are nowadays accessed mainly online, so this is no longer such a critical issue I would imagine).

However the thing which riles me the most is where once you flip over to the end of the paper, you are only given the authors, year of publication, journal, volume and page number. The title is conveniently missing. This makes it really hard to figure out which paper this is, especially where multiple papers are written by the same team in the same year.

Oh well…breathe in and out and keep calm. All will be well 🙂

PhD Week 1: Done

October 8, 2010 1 comment

My first week of my PhD research is now over. I now have a (slightly) better idea of what I will be doing over the next couple of years and am settling in. I have finalised most of the admin work involved and I look forward to next week, when I can start getting into a routine of work, where I can focus on my PhD more than getting papers signed and forms filled.

This week I had my first lab meeting. The lab meeting is held every week between the students and the supervisors of the Environmental Biotechnology lab. We get to present (and discuss) the results and work carried out the week before, and plan for the coming week. This week, being my first week, my presentation consisted of describing what my project is about. This was mainly so that the other members of the research group could understand what I will be talking about in the coming weeks and years. It did not go as good as I hoped it would, since I was quite a bit stressed out. However it was not horrible, and the other students said that it seemed as if I knew what I was talking about, which I guess is a good thing.

I have now started my literature search, where I have started searching for papers and documents on the subject, and inputting them in Refworks. I have already saved around 100 different papers on the general area I will be following. However this was based solely on a quick search and the title of the paper. In the coming week I hope to start reading the papers in greater detail and making note of what is relevant or not to my general project. In this process I will undoubtedly increase the list of references, and will also remove some of those I downloaded which are not useful.

As part of my project I have two main themes: pharmaceuticals and nitrates in water. I will be trying to split my time on the two areas each week, so that I do not get too bored doing the same thing. I also hope to start doing some work on the HPLC soon, and will get training in the coming weeks. I will not start any lab work related to my project. However based on the experiences of the other research students, it makes sense to start using the equipment slowly and passing standards. So that when the project is ready to start, I would have most issues sorted. Will see how it goes.