Thesis Survivor Stories: Practical Advice on Getting Through Your PhD or Masters Thesis

Exisle Publishing

Whether you’re toiling
through the depths of thesis research, about to embark on further study or
supervising others on the journey, these 23 stories will entertain and inspire.


At times
humorous, poignant and uplifting, there’s plenty to learn from the struggles
and success of those who survived a thesis to tell the tale. The real-world
advice and hundreds of tips and tricks will help you make the most of this
significant stage of your life.

From deep fug to ‘What was the question
again?’, from maintaining momentum to permanent hair damage, this
book is a must for every ambitious
student, would-be supervisor, and university administrator. –
Dr Ariel Salleh,
University of Sydney


This fantastic resource is packed full of
stories about the highs and lows of being a thesis student and practical tips
on getting the most out of the experience. I strongly recommend this book to
anyone contemplating, already enrolled in or supervising thesis research. There
is invaluable advice and much to share with family, friends and colleagues. –
Professor Judy Brown, Victoria University of


In the early stages of my PhD journey, I
found this book comprehensively helpful. The honesty of the contributors about
the realities of their experiences and technical details on things like
organisation, methodology and writing provided much assistance. It’s a great
read. –



Introduction | Marilyn Waring and Kate Kearins


PhD – Permanent hair damage? Permanent head damage? | Hishamuddin Mohd Hashim

Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD: Continuous study and its
advantages and disadvantages |
Helen Tregidga

Being a student – again | Christine Byrch

Jabasi Kusaihan Man | Rob Lock

Approaching autobiography in thesis research | George Gair

Talanoa in the Cook Islands | Repeta Puna

What was the question again? | Greg Coyle

Stress about PhD or PhD about stress? | Mark Le Fevre

Supervision and super-vision: Reflections on the
supervision experience |

Maintaining momentum to publish and finish in three
years (almost) |

Reflexivity – on getting there | Ruth Choudharey

Managing a project, becoming obsessed, and getting
through |

Managing project PhD in mid-life | Karen Webster

Fencing off the black hole | Julienne Molineaux

Pushing the boundaries: Too far for some | David Harris

The importance of sharing experiences when completing
a PhD |

Patience is a virtue | Mireille (Mimi) Johnson

Postgraduate study in my second language | Chanthana (Peddy)

Navigating the competing worlds and lived realities of
a PhD candidate |

Journey into te reo Māori | Karen Webster

The nine myths of the doctorate: A beautiful
conspiracy |

Appendix 1: Summary of useful advice

Appendix 2: Books about
thesis writing

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About the author

Professor Kate Kearins completed her PhD in 1997 focusing on power relations in local government. Since, she has reoriented much of her research towards business engagement with sustainability. Kate has authored over 100 academic papers, with more than 50 of these appearing in refereed journals on an eclectic mix of management, organisational and accounting topics. She favours interpretive and critical approaches, with an emphasis on discourse, textual and case-based methods. She has been joint-recipient of several international awards for case research and won the AUT Vice-Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Research Supervision in 2009.


Dr Marilyn Waring is known internationally for her groundbreaking work in political economy, development assistance and human rights, and for her classic work, Counting for Nothing – what men value and what women are worth. In New Zealand she is a distinguished public intellectual, a leading feminist thinker, and an environmentalist. She served 3 terms in New Zealand’s parliament after election at the age of twenty-three. Professor Waring works in the Institute of Public Policy at AUT University, focusing on the supervision of post graduate theses. She has been a Member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Councils of Creative New Zealand and Massey University, the QEII National Trust, the Institute of Judicial Studies, and is a member of the Boards of the Association of Women in Development (AWID) and the Canadian Index of Well Being.
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Additional Information

Exisle Publishing
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Published on
Nov 16, 2013
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Reference / Research
Reference / Writing Skills
Study Aids / General
Study Aids / Study Guides
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