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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Posted:ok so i know that if you have lots of money you have always been able to buy your university degree .... but heres the thing, my mum does exam supervision and at one of the exams she was supervising one of the overseas students called her over asking for help because he wasnt able to read the instructions on the front cover ..... not he was having trouble with one of the words on there he simply couldnt understand the instructions on the front page end of story ..... i mean really wtf like seriously surely if your going to university in a country that speaks a different language you should atleast be required to be able to speak and read the language

*shakes head*

and while im ranting about the state of education this guy did his phd in "the importance of food and wine in the life of don dunston" (former premier) but i mean really how is that a phd topic, theres guys in the physics department shooting tiny sub atomic particles with lazers and doing cool really hard stuff and at the end of the day they both get the title of dr. i mean really wheres the incentive to do something hard and innovative??? its just not right /end rant


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Groovy_Dream
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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


by that definition i could record my bowel movements for 3 years and recieve a phd as i have contributed new knowledge to science, imho a Phd is about making a significant (ie the vine think i mentioned before was not significant as it was so easy) contribution to the body of knowledge.




LOL


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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:I don't think your comparison with the philosophy works, pyrolific!

Sure, not many people will be able to understand the philosophy PhD. But hey, not many people will understand what a chemist or anyone specialised does.

There is a difference between not understanding a topic, and not understanding why someone bothers. And I don't mean the "why does someone bother researching something I hate" - if I thought like that I'd have to oppose PhDs in electrophysics, but I don't. It's more the "why does someone think investing 3 years and a lot of money into that is a good idea", and unfortunately often the answer to that is "because they don't really care what they get called "doctor" for, they just need the title for their career and went for the easy option".

No, not everything needs to have a direct effect that can be used, or made into money. That's one great thing about science, you can do it just for the knowledge, just for discovering something new, and hopefully also how it fits into a bigger picture.

Now, I don't know anything about the person whose eating habits are being researched here, but I assume that, unless he ate something very interesting or unusual or killed crocodiles with his bare hands to get his food or self-tasted which kinds of spiders would't bite him before he could swallow them, his eating habits were probably as interesting as anyone's. I mean, the next thing someone finds that PhD and writes a thesis about the eating and drinking habits of the guy's sister, and adds an extra chapter by comparing it to her brother's. Then someone else can compare those to those of the average Australian at the same time, or 20 years before and later, and draw all kinds of conclusions. ubblol

Ben's bowel movement might actually be more interesting... wink

 Written by: University of Edinburgh PhD thesis workshop (incomplete quote, but much is based on science topics or not important for the discussion)


Examiners Report form:
The thesis...
- is an original work making a significant contribution to knowledge or understanding in the field?
- contains material worthy of publication

What examiners don't like to see:
- Unimportant problem, or interest and importance not properly introduced
- Work that only repeats or confirms well-established findings made by others

What makes a very good PhD:
- Focus on an interesting and important problem in the field
- Findings that will change the way you and others think




Now, I'm sure if you can write about his eating habits, and the guy is dead, someone else will have had to do it in the first place or you wouldn't know it (unless he never had his rubbish picked up and you can go through the layers, which I don't suppose is what happened)? So it's more of a summary of known facts than anything new anyways, and therefore it would be in the "bad" category, if for nothing else.


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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Hey Ben,

1) Aren't you looking at extreme examples? It's certainly never good to judge the state of something by extreme examples.

2) Since literally millions of people are working on PhDs, wouldn't it be logical to assume that some (if not most) of them are going to be a bit obscure?

3) If a scientific concept has no application, is there still value to studying it?

4) Even if your own answer to the above 3 questions is "no", is it unreasonable to think that someone could answer "yes" to them?

Bah, I'm sticking my toe into an arguement I don't really care about.

I REALLY believe there are MUCH bigger problems with public education than the ones you seem to be ranting about. But I defend your right to rant. wink


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide
Member Since: 12th Jun 2003
Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: NYC

1) Aren't you looking at extreme examples? It's certainly never good to judge the state of something by extreme examples.


i wouldnt say the vine or motor problems are extreme examples as there are plenty of equally trivial projects out there.

 Written by: NYC

2) Since literally millions of people are working on PhDs, wouldn't it be logical to assume that some (if not most) of them are going to be a bit obscure?
3) If a scientific concept has no application, is there still value to studying it?


the problem isnt whether they are obscure or not but whether they are significantly hard and have enough merit to warrent a phd
 Written by: NYC


I REALLY believe there are MUCH bigger problems with public education than the ones you seem to be ranting about.


absolutely it rewards rote learning over understanding and is set up such that its not possible for all students to suceed due to social pressures and obscene student to teacher ratios amoungst other things but they dont rear their ugly heads in my reality hence the lack of ranting


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


 Written by: NYC

2) Since literally millions of people are working on PhDs, wouldn't it be logical to assume that some (if not most) of them are going to be a bit obscure?
3) If a scientific concept has no application, is there still value to studying it?


the problem isnt whether they are obscure or not but whether they are significantly hard and have enough merit to warrent a phd




So my next question is "Could it be that you are giving too much credit to what it means to get a PhD?"

I naturally assume that there is a wide range of PhDs given out in the social sciences. Some of them are just plain wacky.

Questions like "What did you get your PhD in?" are just as important as "Where did you get your PhD?"

I think if one's goal was "I want to get an easy PhD" they could achieve it with much greater ease than someone who wanted to tackle a more difficult problem.


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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
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Posted:PhDs are harder to standardise than first degrees or school degrees, so of course they'll vary, just like non-standardised tests in school vary, or spoken exams at uni do.

The problem is, in schools or first degrees you usually have lots of courses, so if one or two are incredibly easy or hard, there are others to make up for it. And once can probably assume a certain standard of knowledge for someone who finished secondary school in a certain country, or got a MSc at a certain uni.

Now, with a PhD being only one project, that doesn't work. But there should be given some credit to what it means to get one. It gives you access to careers. Lots of companies employ PhDs even outside their subjects a. because the "Dr" gives the person a certain reputation, and b. because they assume that you have had the perseverance and resourcefulness to work on one project for years and overcome some difficulties. Even people you meet every day have a certain respect for you (or ask you to look at that sore spot on their leg if you're unlucky and they think you're a medical doctor).

So for all that, I think some hard work and problem-solving skills are not too much to ask.

Side note: I personally don't believe that getting a PhD is anywhere near as hard as raising a child, and don't really get the "respect" thing wink


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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted:I think you've hit on something, NYC: the devaluation of a Ph.D.

It is my understanding that at one point, having a high school diploma was considered an accomplishment. Now, pretty much everyone has one.

Likewise, it is my understanding that completing a four year degree used to be noteworthy. Now, you are considered weird if you don't get higher education.

Some say that college (or University, as I think some may call it), has been "dumbed down" to the point where almost anyone can get a four year degree. Since anyone can do it, there is little respect for it. You have simply done what everyone else can also do.

Thus, the respect is in where you went to college, and what your major was. If you go to a local state funded school and major in organic gardening, you are going to get a little less respect than a Business graduate from Harvard.

It may be that getting a Ph.D. is now something that anyone with enough time and money can do. As a result, we will not respect them for the same reasons. If a guy has a Ph.D. in a pointless subject, I will merely regard him as someone who chose to spend a lot of time and money pursuing a hobby that does not interest me. I will have the respect for him in the way that I do for someone who completes a 10,000 peice jigsaw puzzle.

Whether we should deny giving the title of Ph.D. to people who choose to pursue tasks that will have little benefit for anyone, including themselves, is questionable.

I think the issue has a great deal to do with the "government/education complex." Someone suggested that "profitable" ideas were good for privately funded Ph.D's, but that government funds could go to topics that have little prospect for application.

I am inclined to lean the opposite way. If that guy wants to spend his own money to pay a school to let him study some seemingly subject, I have no problem with that. If he happens to come up with something that is attractive to me, he can sell it to me later.

However, if he expects me to pay him beforehand (through my tax dollars), he needs to be able to give some assurance of the value of his work. I am not inclined to spend my money so that others can pursue hobbies. Thus, I am not attracted to the idea of government funding research into simply general knowledge. Rather, government funds should be spent on searching for beneficial knowledge.

Of course, I would be happy to see government take its fingers out of my pocket altogether on this issue. I am quite capable of donating to universities that I think are pursuing knowledge that will benefit mankind. I am not convinced that I can vote for someone who will do a better job at this sort of charity than I will.


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Sethis
Sethis

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Location: York University
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Posted:Regarding Philosophy as providing a basis for employment: It's actually regarded quite highly here because it demonstrates at least 3 skills.

1. The ability to follow complex and often meta-physical arguments.

2. The ability to argue those theories effectively and coherently.

3. The usual stuff as to how a PhD is good in the first place such as the ability to research data/interest etc etc.

Philosophy is good. smile However it might be different in Australia.


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Rozi
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Posted: Written by: Patriarch917


If a guy has a Ph.D. in a pointless subject, I will merely regard him as someone who chose to spend a lot of time and money pursuing a hobby that does not interest me. I will have the respect for him in the way that I do for someone who completes a 10,000 peice jigsaw puzzle.




When I have a little more time later today I will talk about the rest of it, but I just wanted to say that this perfectly expresses the way I feel. And it made me laugh. smile


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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Pyrolific
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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men



 Written by: Pyrolific

by definition a Phd is a contribution to the body of knowledge.



by that definition i could record my bowel movements for 3 years and recieve a phd as i have contributed new knowledge to science, imho a Phd is about making a significant (ie the vine think i mentioned before was not significant as it was so easy) contribution to the body of knowledge.







of course the 'significant' part was implied in my sentence.. smile to take the opposite view would render the sentence nonsensical.



RE: significance and difficulty



but difficulty is so subjective - by that measure a super-genius' Phd would mean less because it was 'easy' for them. If you are trying to define difficulty as in science is harder in general than X-subject then I think you are really running into dangerously value laden and culturally specific territory.



 Written by: Pyrolific

BTW in order to study an Australian uni course in English candidates do need to attain a minimum level of English on standardised tests. perhaps its too low, or perhaps some people get through the testing process with too low a level, who knows? either way that student that couldnt understand the instructions was going to fail - so the system works.



sadly its really not in the universities interests to fail overseas students, its not good business to have unsatisfied customers, i wouldnt be suprised if he did pass frown after all lack of funding forces the university system to run as a place of business





yep you are totally right on the money there. There was a few examples of international students being given a slap on the wrist for completely plagiarising major assignments last year...that made me lose respect for the uni in question.



Josh

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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
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Posted: Written by: Pyrolific


RE: significance and difficulty

but difficulty is so subjective - by that measure a super-genius' Phd would mean less because it was 'easy' for them.


not really difficulty depends on what the state of technology and the knowledge in the field is, if someone in the feild can complete your contribution over the weekend its not significant

 Written by: NYC

So my next question is "Could it be that you are giving too much credit to what it means to get a PhD?"


i dont think so, doing a phd on a particular area is supposed to make you the worlds leading expert in that area .... if the standard to achieve a phd is set to low it devalues the whole process and we may as well get mcdonalds to run a promotion where u get a free phd with each happy meal


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Just for the record.

Ph.D. means a Doctor of Philosophy


wink


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Katinca
Katinca

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Location: Adelaide - South Australia
Member Since: 9th May 2001
Total posts: 693
Posted:So well this is an interesting discussion.



It makes me think of all the PhDs that could be written on the Rise of Fire twirling and HOP and how HOP has contributed to Fire twirling. Or you could use this as some data to prove that fire-twirling has a significant positive contribution to the well-being of people. Maybe you could think about how this one thing we all have in common has allowed us to talk about other pressing issues about the world and explore different peoples opinions we would have never be able to before....etc....OH the number is endless.



So Ben... do you think the people who might be analysing the social aspects of HOP for a PhD (and I am sure there are some ppl out there) are contributing to the general knowledge of society. Are they contributing to how society functions, analysing what makes a social group cohesive, or what makes it fall a part. Or are these people just faffing around with their own personal hobby?



To even do a PhD in a subject area you have to be pretty 'INTO' it. You cant tell me that you are not obsessed or totally interested in what your PhD is on, does that mean your PhD is a hobby?



BTW - I also agree with NYC that it seems these days that every Tom, Dick and Harry has an under grad and even a post grad now. Our society is obsessed with taking your money and giving you a certificate at the end of the course... just so you can have the chance enter a PROFESSIONAL job, which you might be able to earn a slightly above average salary (general statement).



Perhaps it could be a way to weed out the poor oh except for the VERY smart ones, we want them so we will give them a scholarship the rest of ya cough up! But thats another kettle of fish.



Anyway, I am starting to rant about something totally different now. SO I'll get back to work.



OUT..


Love and Light

~*~ Katinca ~*~

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Groovy_Dream
Groovy_Dream

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Posted: Written by: Katinca



So well this is an interesting discussion.



It makes me think of all the PhD’s that could be written on the ‘Rise’ of Fire twirling and HOP and how HOP has contributed to Fire twirling. Or you could use this as some data to prove that fire-twirling has a significant positive contribution to the well-being of people. Maybe you could think about how this one thing we all have in common has allowed us to talk about other pressing issues about the world and explore different peoples opinions we would have never be able to before....etc....OH the number is endless.



So Ben... do you think the people who might be analysing the social aspects of HOP for a PhD (and I am sure there are some ppl out there) are contributing to the general knowledge of society. Are they contributing to how society functions, analysing what makes a social group cohesive, or what makes it fall a part. Or are these people just faffing around with their own personal hobby?



To even do a PhD in a subject area you have to be pretty 'INTO' it. You can’t tell me that you are not obsessed or totally interested in what your PhD is on, does that mean your PhD is a hobby?







Have you met Judith? She's doing her PhD on the doof/firetwirling/reiki scene in Adelaide.... has been researching for a couple of years now. I think it's a great idea, there is so much about the culture that is completely unknown to academic literature, not to mention the media (gah).



Then there's the report about psytrance forums, u might have seen it on aof:

http://www.goatrance.nl/full%20dissertation%20without%20photos1.pdf
br>


I would have thought that this kind of study would be done by someone in arts or psychology. This is still different to "the importance of food and wine in the life of don dunston" or something like that, because it's actually significant. It's up to personal disgression; there will always be a gray area, because it would be a waste to spend money on absolutely anything but also there has to be room for obscurity.



 Written by: NYC

So my next question is "Could it be that you are giving too much credit to what it means to get a PhD?"







Considering that a PhD takes at least 3 years to complete, and you usually those who do it are fairly smart, I would say that high expectations would be appropriate. A friend of mine did his PhD on the hydrogen content of the galaxies around ours. How extreme is that?



People keep misinterpreting Ben as him saying that research is useless unless it's profitable. There is no way that universities are run like that. Look at the entire field of astronomy. It's completely useless. Our ships can't get anywhere near the galaxies that they spend millions of dollars on researching, but noone is saying that it's not worthwhile. Most science was probably obscure at some stage. Researching random meaningless crap, on the other hand, is different.


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Pyrolific
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Posted: Written by: ben

 Written by: NYC

So my next question is "Could it be that you are giving too much credit to what it means to get a PhD?"



i dont think so, doing a phd on a particular area is supposed to make you the worlds leading expert in that area ....





if by area you mean the subject matter as defined by the question your phd is supposed to be answering then I reckon perhaps - but if you mean area in terms of anything broader than that then I think you might have a bit of catching up to do with the guys who have been researching in the same area post doc for like 30 years hey? If you want a narrow subject area to be the world's leading expert on - you dont have to look further than your toilet bowl (although you might need to journal what you find) smile



Has anyone won a Nobel prize for a phd? I doubt it...



Josh

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
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Posted: Written by: Pyrolific


Has anyone won a Nobel prize for a phd? I doubt it...




You'd be surprised by how much of the work of the people who do end up with a nobel prize is done by PhD or even undergrad students.

You'd be surprised by how much of his time a professor spends on lectures and grant applications and at conferences and supervising exams and peer-reviewing papers instead of on being involved with the actual research. Mind you, there's not much else they can do if they want good funding for the lab's research.

You'd also be surprised at how often students' ideas are, unfortunately, passed off as a prof's own, and how often a supervisor is a first author of a paper even though a student has done most of the work AND the thinking.

Fair enough, it's having the initial idea that counts a lot, and someone who is a good supervisor, gets involved with the research and helps solving problems deserves a lot of credit, but many students in research are much more self-reliant than you'd expect, out of necessity!


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Posted: Written by: Katinca


So Ben... do you think the people who might be analysing the social aspects of HOP for a PhD (and I am sure there are some ppl out there) are contributing to the general knowledge of society. Are they contributing to how society functions, analysing what makes a social group cohesive, or what makes it fall a part. Or are these people just faffing around with their own personal hobby?


i think it would be quite difficult to seperate the actual fire twirling culture out of the general internet chat that exists on the board, i would think that the videos of the social gatherings probably capture it much better than the board itself, then again they do give a perspective of the culture through rose coloured glasses as its all very edited set to music. once again whether its worthy of a phd or not comes back to making a contribution of significance rather than rehashing old ideas.

 Written by: Katinca


To even do a PhD in a subject area you have to be pretty 'INTO' it. You cant tell me that you are not obsessed or totally interested in what your PhD is on, does that mean your PhD is a hobby?


being into something doesnt make it worthy of a phd, im sure most petrol heads are really obsessed with their cars that doesnt make their obsession worthy of a phd

 Written by: Katinca

BTW - I also agree with NYC that it seems these days that every Tom, Dick and Harry has an under grad and even a post grad now.


what else can u expect when the standard to achieve them is set too low?

 Written by: Pyrolific

Has anyone won a Nobel prize for a phd? I doubt it...


no idea, imho the following are worthy of, Professor John Canny's phd work on "Finding Edges and Lines in Images" done back in 1986 is still used in industry as the standard for edge detection, also Professor Rodney Brooks phd work lead to what is now called Subsumption architecture, his phd research created a fundamental shift in artificial intelligence research.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Ade
Are we there yet?
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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


doing a phd on a particular area is supposed to make you the worlds leading expert in that area ....



Actually, it's not meant to make you the worlds leading expert in that area.

All it means is you have made a contribution to an area of knowledge.

In order to be considered an expert, you'd need to go on to publish a few more peer reviewed research papers, present at quite a few international conferences, be recognised by your peers (through the promotion system to professor and beyond) as an expert in the area.

Simply finishing your postgraduate study does not make you an expert.

You are expected to go on and do post doctoral work and make further research contributions through the finding of research dollars and collaborative opportunities (internaly or externally).

I would suggest that the person who studied Don's eating habits, is more of a world expert (as there would be less of them) than someone who is doing a Phd in computer science (where there are lots of people working in the field all contributing to the woder body of computer science knowledge)...

soapbox


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Pyrolific
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Posted: Written by: Birgit


 Written by: Pyrolific


Has anyone won a Nobel prize for a phd? I doubt it...




You'd be surprised by how much of the work of the people who do end up with a nobel prize is done by PhD or even undergrad students.



Good points Birgit.


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Pyrolific
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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


 Written by: Katinca

BTW - I also agree with NYC that it seems these days that every Tom, Dick and Harry has an under grad and even a post grad now.


what else can u expect when the standard to achieve them is set too low?




I dont think you can say that the reason there is more people getting degrees is because its easier to get them.

how about the fact that society's expectations of people are higher than they used to be and so now more people are getting degrees?

how about that there are many more jobs these days that require more education, and thus postgrad ed is required for advancement?

The fact that more people are successfully getting degrees could also mean that the education is in fact better than it used to be.

The quality of the education/educator makes a huge difference to the academic success of students.

Im not suggesting that this is the case, just that the argument "more people getting degrees means the degrees must be easier to get" is too simplistic, and that there are other factors that are plausibily involved.

josh


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Sethis
Sethis

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Posted:The vast majority of people I know who are doing degrees are doing it because they don't know what to do with their lives and want 3-4 years of breathing space while they turn into the people they're going to be for the rest of their lives. In the UK it's fairly easy to go to University in that it doesn't cost too much (sorry Ky!) and it's a lot more secure than a job. it also puts you with thousands of people your own age with a similar intelligence level.

There are of course, people who take degrees for other reasons (like me) but we're not in the majority. smile


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Kyrian
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Posted: Written by: Sethis


(sorry Ky!)



Yeah :/ I'm just special. Well, I'm well on track to being special AND a York Uni student these days, but my main obstacle at the moment is going to be proving to the (UK) govt that I have the money I have (of all things!).

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NYC
NYC

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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men





 Written by: NYC

So my next question is "Could it be that you are giving too much credit to what it means to get a PhD?"



i dont think so, doing a phd on a particular area is supposed to make you the worlds leading expert in that area .... if the standard to achieve a phd is set to low it devalues the whole process and we may as well get mcdonalds to run a promotion where u get a free phd with each happy meal





Hang on, I think there are two very separate issues here.



One is the obscurity and lack of applicaction of some Ph.D.s. The other is the lack of effort needed to get a Ph.D.



I think those are two different issues. Ben initially came out critiquing the former but has since started suggesting the later.



There currently is no standardization of PhDs. If you're suggesting standardizing them, I think that's more of a nightmare scenario than what you've got right now.



By the nature of academic research there will always be more and less applicable research, and the effort needed to complete the research will differ depending on the subject.



Personally, I've never heard anybody say "He must be smart, he's got a Sociology PhD."



It also seems that whenever someone is talking about a PhD, the logical progression of questions is "What was your thesis."



I don't have a problem with a community college and Harvard both giving out "Bachelor's of Science". I don't know why a PhD would be any different. Some people work hard for them, some people have it easier.



Most people I know are busting their butts for years. Then again, most people I know are in reputable universities working in reputable departments.


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Location: Adelaide
Member Since: 12th Jun 2003
Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: Ade


 Written by: ben-ja-men


doing a phd on a particular area is supposed to make you the worlds leading expert in that area ....



Actually, it's not meant to make you the worlds leading expert in that area.



"Obviously your examiners will read the thesis. They will be experts in the general field of your thesis but, on the exact topic of your thesis, you are the world expert. Keep this in mind: you should write to make the topic clear to a reader who has not spent most of the last three years thinking about it." http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/thesis.html
br>gotta love thesis guides and remember an odd number of chapters is better rolleyes

 Written by: NYC


One is the obscurity and lack of applicaction of some Ph.D.s. The other is the lack of effort needed to get a Ph.D.


 Written by: ben-ja-men


the problem isnt whether they are obscure or not but whether they are significantly hard and have enough merit to warrent a phd


 Written by: NYC


There currently is no standardization of PhDs. If you're suggesting standardizing them, I think that's more of a nightmare scenario than what you've got right now.


 Written by: ben-ja-men


not really difficulty depends on what the state of technology and the knowledge in the field is, if someone in the feild can complete your contribution over the weekend its not significant


 Written by: NYC


Personally, I've never heard anybody say "He must be smart, he's got a Sociology PhD."



maybe you would if the standards where lifted

 Written by: Pyrolific

Im not suggesting that this is the case, just that the argument "more people getting degrees means the degrees must be easier to get" is too simplistic, and that there are other factors that are plausibily involved.


if the standard is higher less ppl will pass more ppl will drop out and the number of graduates will decrease significantly but the quality of graduates will increase dramatically. sure there are other factors that affect the number of ppl that want to go to uni however if the options to skip class and bum around for 4 years and still come out with a degree at the end is eliminated alot less ppl would go imho


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Ade
Are we there yet?
Location: australia
Member Since: 14th Mar 2001
Total posts: 1897
Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


 Written by: Ade


 Written by: ben-ja-men


doing a phd on a particular area is supposed to make you the worlds leading expert in that area ....



Actually, it's not meant to make you the worlds leading expert in that area.



"Obviously your examiners will read the thesis. They will be experts in the general field of your thesis but, on the exact topic of your thesis, you are the world expert. Keep this in mind: you should write to make the topic clear to a reader who has not spent most of the last three years thinking about it." http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/thesis.html
br>gotta love thesis guides and remember an odd number of chapters is better rolleyes



gotta love the web, you can find quotes to justify most positions eek wink

From another web site:
"The doctoral thesis provides evidence of a contribution to knowledge with a level of originality consistent with 3-4 years of full-time study and supervised research training. It also demonstrates a candidate's capacity for critical analysis and that he/she is capable of pursuing scholarly and programmatic research that answers significant questions within a 3-4 year time frame"

http://www.sss.uq.edu.au/linkto/phdwriting/fr_phfaq.html
br>
This same uni suggests that publishing is the first step to establishing a reputation in an area...

ubbloco


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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:publish or perish Ade wink


PhD Handbook Melb Uni


cheers smile


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Sethis
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Posted: Written by: ben-ja-men


 Written by: NYC


Personally, I've never heard anybody say "He must be smart, he's got a Sociology PhD."




maybe you would if the standards where lifted



Do you mind? I'm doing a Sociology degree, and maybe going on to do a PhD. I don't see anything about low standards. We have to pass exams and write essays the same as anyone else. Why do people always say "Sociology" whenever they want to name a "fake" subject? Sociology is more applicable in real life than many other degree topics thank you very much. hug


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Location: Adelaide
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Total posts: 2474
Posted: Written by: Ade


gotta love the web, you can find quotes to justify most positions eek wink

From another web site:
"The doctoral thesis provides evidence of a contribution to knowledge with a level of originality consistent with 3-4 years of full-time study and supervised research training. It also demonstrates a candidate's capacity for critical analysis and that he/she is capable of pursuing scholarly and programmatic research that answers significant questions within a 3-4 year time frame"



your quote comes from the page on making a significant and original contribution. tell me how can you make a significant and original contribution on something if you are not the leading expert in that specific topic? if your research isnt significant then its not worthy of a phd, if the contribution is of significance it would have been done by someone else if they had the expertise, so if your contribution is original and significant that would make you the worlds leading expert in that topic no?


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I think I was getting confused because you seemed to be picking on obscure, liberal arts PhDs.

Do you think the standards for PhDs are too low in the physical sciences also? Or is it the discrepancies between the physical and social sciences that are upsetting?


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Posted: Written by: NYC


I think I was getting confused because you seemed to be picking on obscure, liberal arts PhDs.


 Written by: ben-ja-men


this is another example of what is not appropriate for a phd, even as a masters project its a bit iffy. yes it hasnt been done before sucessfully in the published literature however the content of the problem is not sufficent to warrent a phd (the research committee rejected her application to upgrade from a masters degree to a phd for that very reason) as anyone with a knowledge of the area could solve it over the weekend.



 Written by: ben-ja-men

an example of another unworthy phd topic "Optimal Design and Control of a Separately Excited DC Motor" basically it was using year 12 maths to find the optimal design for one particular motor .... if he hadnt had to collect the data which wasnt in any way shape or form innovative then it was a first year design problem at best. however because he had got so far through his canditure and the department only gets money from the government when the postgrads complete their degree he got his phd.



Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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