Tag Archives: tipsforphdstudent

SECOND YEAR OF MY PHD PROGRAM

It’s been a year and 8 months since I started my Ph.D program. I wouldn’t say it has been easy especially with the global pandemic caused by the now infamous COVID’19. I faced a lot of difficulties in passing through my second phase. One major difficulty was my mental health. I will start this story from the beginning of when I moved into the second phase of my research.

I was supposed to be registered for my second year by May 2020, however, I was unable to register that month. This caused me to apply for an extension. In summary, I registered for my second year by June 2020. This is when my journey began. Due to my late registration, I was unable to meet up to certain deadlines which made me tighten up my buckles. The pressure of my year 2 deliverable was too much and I was battling with concentration. There were lots of distractions/hindrances at that time such as the fear of contacting the virus, worrying about family and friends, no access to the library. To be honest I felt the world was coming to an end, but it wasn’t. I managed to submit my RDDA, which normally entails an agreed plan of you and your supervisors towards the next phase of your research.

Going into my second year, I thought about several conferences, paper articles, seminars and many other research activities I would like to participate in. Sadly, all of them were canceled , however, I was able to participate in online workshops and training that were organized by the university. Examples of workshops I attended are data collection, data analysis, career planning, ethics, research planning and so on. And yes, the 3MT competition I participated in and was able to reach the finalist stage.

These issues aside, my thesis focused on my theoretical discussion and continuation of my literature review. I had a full grasp of my research, better than my first year. I was supposed to commence my data collection, however, my ethics was denied three times. I am literally still on my ethics process and I do hope to get done with it as soon as possible. My ethics was denied due to different reasons such as the vulnerability of some of the participants, travel restrictions, ambiguity of my research questions.

Honestly, my second year was a marathon but I am excited I passed through it. I am looking forwards to commencing my third year and the higher marathon that might come with it.

I am concluding this by using this opportunity to say a big thank you to all my family and friends that have always trusted and believed in me.

Cheers xx

WHAT IS THE WORST ACADEMIC OFFENSE?

PLAGIARISM!!! This is what I believe to be the worst academic offense. According to the University of Oxford[1], Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or idea as your own, with or without their consent. My reference to the university of oxford is an example of how to acknowledge a source. Plagiarism is very common, and it proves a lack of understanding or knowledge in your essay or academic work.

In the past years as both an undergraduate and a postgraduate student, I have been a victim of plagiarism unknowingly and knowingly lol. This was either due to my impatience or lack of interest in a particular essay. However as a research student, I have learnt that the same time I spent paraphrasing a particular term would have been the same time I would have spent to think properly and have a good understanding of the topic. A lot of students are victims of this act, I do understand that as students there are times we can’t meet up to deadlines and want a shortcut but that is very wrong and not an excuse. Apart from the academic sanctions for perpetrators, education is quite expensive which a lot of people/students have sacrificed a lot to be in the academic world, therefore I believe we should be very focused and willing to think or create new ideas instead of borrowing or using someone else’s knowledge.

There are several types and forms of plagiarism, however, I will be explaining the forms in the context of the types of plagiarism, which are:

 Self-Plagiarism: Submitting his/her previous work either it is part of the work or the full work. Using myself as an example, I had my master’s dissertation in the topic ‘Corporal punishment of children in Nigeria’ which is related to my Ph.D. thesis ‘How does the Nigerian government enforce the security of child’s rights? An analysis of corporal punishment in public schools’. I got tempted to use some part of my master’s thesis into my PhD thesis, but it is wrong, and I avoided doing such, this is also to avoid academic dishonesty. YES, I am sure some people will say I can do anything with any of my academic work, sorry, you can’t except in situations where approval is granted. Another example of self-plagiarism is submitting the same work in two different academic institutions or authorities. Even though they are the same or similar topic, the context must be different or referenced properly.

 Direct Plagiarism: This includes word for word quotations without referencing the source, the act of cutting and pasting from the internet is wrong in the academic realm. For example, as a law student, there are several laws that I cannot paraphrase because they are laws, therefore I quote them with inverted commas to indicate that words are exactly the same from the same and then I reference them accordingly.

 Mosaic Plagiarism: The act of using phrases from other sources without using quotation marks or paraphrasing or writing it in halves. Paraphrasing is reasonably essential. However, it is wrong to paraphrase a work with the intention of claiming ownership of the idea.

 Accidental Plagiarism: In instances where the source is not mentioned or is incorrect. It is important to use the correct referencing style, depending on the discipline.

Avoiding plagiarism will help to have an opinion of oneself, instead of relying of other scholarly work or writers. It is difficult to have a personal view or opinion, however, that is why you are in academics.


[1] https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills/plagiarism

WHAT I LEARNT DURING MY FIRST YEAR OF Ph.D

It was a struggle and it is a progress not yet done. I was super excited to have started my Ph.D. and so far its been nothing less than I expected except the fact that sometimes I get lost during the Ph.D. adventure. The enthusiastic nature in me has kept me on my feet and I am always curious discover new things. Cutting the story short, below are the 10 main things I have learnt during the first year of my Ph.D.

  1. Self-Motivation: I have learnt that my motivation is key to the progress of my research. We all have a reason for choosing a particular research area and this should always motivate us. There have been times when I feel tired and confused but I persist in putting so much effort to achieve my goals. It is very important to have passion in ones research work, this will keep fueling the research energy.
  2. Accept rejections: There were several rejections I encountered, an example is journal article rejection but I have only learnt to work on it better and not to be disheartened.
  3. Seek assistance: Seeking advise from senior colleagues, lecturers and staff is very necessary. We can’t always assume to find answers without asking the more experienced persons.
  4. Identifying research aims and objectives: It is important to understand the reason why the research is been conducted, the contribution to knowledge and how the objectives will be achieved. This is major guide through the research.
  5. Accept new directions: There are lots of times my research was adjusted. An example was when I had to change my theoretical framework, this was a major challenge. Most times, new directions lead to positive results.
  6. Public speaking: I have never had fear of public speaking but this is one thing I have constantly engage in during my Ph.D journey. It is important to be happy about your research and willing to always talk about it. There are lots of presentations to be done either at the faculty or external events, although they are most times not compulsory but they are very good for personal development. I was always excited to make presentations, which hearten me to present at 2 different conferences in my first year.
  7. Discipline: Occasionally, I am tempted to spend time on distracting things instead of my research. I have realized that distraction is a tool that should be avoided and can self-discipline is a tool to fight it.
  8. Literature review: This is a continuous progress, it is important to keep up to date with the literature of your research. You can click on this link for the importance of literature review https://tobioyefeso.com/2020/05/12/importance-of-literature-review-in-social-sciences-humanities/ .
  9. Confidence: Having confidence in ones research work is awesome, this shows that you are conversant with your research and you understand the direction your research is going.
  10. Good relationship with supervisors: This can be tactic but it is very important to establish a good working relationship with supervisors.
  11. Organization: Staying organized is very important, I have always loved to work with a plan and prepare ahead of my days. Therefore, I didn’t find it difficult in organizing my research work. It is necessary to keep your calendar up to date, as there are lots of activities that will be occurring. Having said that, there are different tools that researchers use to organize their research such as Mendeley, Evernote, Microsoft One Note and so on.
  12. Social and Mental: There is more to life than just a PhD, I usually engage in other activities such as attending moot courts, tea breaks, catching up with colleagues, blogging, visiting places around, going to the gym, watch movie and others. I believe this helps to keep the social and mental health good. As a famous proverb says that ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.