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October 10, 2011 | by  | in Arts Books | [ssba]

Thesis Survivor Stories

Thesis Survival Stories, a non-fiction book detailing the trials, tribulations, tips, and real-life experiences of undertaking post-grad study.

Thesis Survivor Stories
Marilyn Waring and Kate Kearins
AUT Media, RRP $39.99

This is such a fantastic idea. What was the trigger that made you think, “We should really do this”?

Kate and I were discussing our supervision experiences and realised that no one had covered the personal journeys of those who complete theses—who are just a fraction of those who initially enrol. I have also noticed that the ‘personal’ stories are those that are of most assistance to others following in the wake of those who ‘survived’. I run a monthly pot luck for a large number of thesis research students, and it’s the getting through each challenge that is most shared, rather than the latest piece of software or the latest authority.

Was it difficult to find people willing to share their stories or was everyone quite eager to come forward?

Kate and I made a list of those who we thought might be willing to share their stories, and approached them, and I can’t remember one person refusing to participate. Every story is different. Every student I have ever had has learned a lot about themselves, as well as a lot about their thesis topic, on the way to completion.

What have you found to be the most common problem, or piece of advice, across the stories?

We have a list of tips at the conclusion of the book. The major mistakes students make is to think they know the answer before they have done the research, and to not understand that a thesis is a full time job. People in either of those categories are unlikely to complete.

Do you think there needs to be a better support system for those undertaking post-graduate study?

A key is to choose the right supervisor, which doesn’t mean the best authority in the world, but an academic with a raft of successfully completed theses. All the post graduate support structures a university offers can’t compensate for a poor supervision team.

Finally, never research a subject you ‘should’ do. I won’t supervise ‘shoulds’. You need to research the subject you are most passionate about. Then you have massively upped the odds you will complete. *


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  1. Nollie says:

    TYVM you’ve solved all my proeblms

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