Charlotte_0
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
Hi,
I was just wondering if anyone can give me advice as to how you come up with a PhD idea or title for English Literature (specifically Victorian/ Neo-Victorian/ Medical Humanities)? I have specific ideas of what I enjoy in terms of time period and my specific interests, but I'm worried that they're all very 'done'.

Thanks!
0
reply
QHF
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#2
Report 5 years ago
#2
(Original post by Charlotte_0)
Hi,
I was just wondering if anyone can give me advice as to how you come up with a PhD idea or title for English Literature (specifically Victorian/ Neo-Victorian/ Medical Humanities)? I have specific ideas of what I enjoy in terms of time period and my specific interests, but I'm worried that they're all very 'done'.

Thanks!
Have you considered just asking a few mentors you trust (the ones who will write your application references, for instance) what they think needs doing and is timely in the field of Victorian medical humanities? A PhD thesis needs to be your own original research but it doesn't have to begin with your own original idea, and I know successful PhD students in English who have done projects which were essentially suggested by their supervisors or their referees.

Another potentially useful way of exploring your ideas is to think about bodies of evidence and approaches. If you imagine a four-quadrant diagram of new and old evidence plotted against new and old approaches, you can generate new research ideas by applying an existing approach to new evidence, or by piloting a new approach using old evidence (a 'new approach' here is new to your corner of the discipline, not new in general). If you're very ambitious you can think about applying a new approach to new evidence, but talk about your ideas with mentors. You don't want to apply with an idea which feels very 'done', but at the same time you should apply with an idea which feels like it addresses debates that other scholars are having and relates meaningfully to the field rather than being a completely alien offshoot. Whatever you propose needs to be reasonable within the (surprisingly limiting) constraints of a PhD: three years, though people often overrun, and only a limited amount of travel for archives &c.

You might find more advice in the postgraduate forum.
0
reply
madamemerle
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#3
Report 5 years ago
#3
(Original post by Charlotte_0)
Hi,
I was just wondering if anyone can give me advice as to how you come up with a PhD idea or title for English Literature (specifically Victorian/ Neo-Victorian/ Medical Humanities)? I have specific ideas of what I enjoy in terms of time period and my specific interests, but I'm worried that they're all very 'done'.

Thanks!
(Original post by QHF)
Have you considered just asking a few mentors you trust (the ones who will write your application references, for instance) what they think needs doing and is timely in the field of Victorian medical humanities? A PhD thesis needs to be your own original research but it doesn't have to begin with your own original idea, and I know successful PhD students in English who have done projects which were essentially suggested by their supervisors or their referees.

Another potentially useful way of exploring your ideas is to think about bodies of evidence and approaches. If you imagine a four-quadrant diagram of new and old evidence plotted against new and old approaches, you can generate new research ideas by applying an existing approach to new evidence, or by piloting a new approach using old evidence (a 'new approach' here is new to your corner of the discipline, not new in general). If you're very ambitious you can think about applying a new approach to new evidence, but talk about your ideas with mentors. You don't want to apply with an idea which feels very 'done', but at the same time you should apply with an idea which feels like it addresses debates that other scholars are having and relates meaningfully to the field rather than being a completely alien offshoot. Whatever you propose needs to be reasonable within the (surprisingly limiting) constraints of a PhD: three years, though people often overrun, and only a limited amount of travel for archives &c.

You might find more advice in the postgraduate forum.
QHF's advice is excellent.

In terms of titles, and possibly useful for topics too: it can be helpful to make cloud of keywords and move them around into different configurations; imagine you were searching for something like your thesis in a database - what would be the search terms you'd be likely to enter - then use those terms in the title. I would also just spend some time looking at examples: if your library has an electronic database, or even physical copies, of theses in English, take a look at them and get a feel for the scope of projects (in Victorian studies especially) and the kinds of methods and theories people are using; that should give you a better sense of what yours should look like and/or where it might fit, or what it might be doing differently or the same. Once you have a better sense of those things, then you can drill down on the language you want to use in the title, which will be important in terms of identifying you as a certain type of scholar. Think about the primary texts you want to work with, and the methods and theories, and then find the language with which you'd categorize or characterize them and use that as keywords.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Should there be a new university admissions system that ditches predicted grades?

No, I think predicted grades should still be used to make offers (617)
33.73%
Yes, I like the idea of applying to uni after I received my grades (PQA) (769)
42.04%
Yes, I like the idea of receiving offers only after I receive my grades (PQO) (362)
19.79%
I think there is a better option than the ones suggested (let us know in the thread!) (81)
4.43%

Watched Threads

View All