Friday, January 27, 2006

Thesis Complete

I did it! I handed in my Ph.D. thesis. I can't actually believe I finished my thesis. As you might deduce from the lack of blog posts since early December, the Christmas period was busy for me. I had so much of my thesis left to write as I approached Christmas and I had no idea how I would do it. However, I seemed to enter the thesis “zone” where all my ideas coexisted in my brain and I was finally able to see all the connection, relationships, and structures that had been lacking from my ideas for so long. This made the final writing possible and meant that I was able to produce sections at an alarming rate.

I returned on the 27th December to Edinburgh from my parent’s house on the Wirral. Between that day and the 10th January I had no more than 4 hours sleep a night, spoke to very few people other than my girlfriend on the phone (she was visiting her family in Germany), and saw even less people. I produced at least 30% (~33,000 words) of my thesis in this period. Having now submitted my thesis I feel I can now reflect on the experience and hand out this advice: WRITE YOUR THESIS AS YOU GO ALONG, NOT AT THE LAST MINUTE. Simple, some might say, obvious advice that I completely failed to adhere to when doing my thesis. Luckily my sanity, my fingers (from all the typing), and my Will to live where not completely crushed by the experience. Not completely anyway……

I can now officially record that the Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘An Attentional Theory of Continuity Editing’ was submitted for examination on the 11th January 2006. My viva (oral examination) should take place around the 20th February and based on the outcome of that (eek!) I will know if I have succeeded in gaining my doctorate. I have no idea how it will go but I’m doing all I can to be prepared for it. I’ll try to keep this blog updated so you know how things go.

For the time being I am fortunate to report that I am employed as a Research Assistant on a European project developing an intelligent tutoring system ( This project gives me the opportunity to develop my AI interests whilst continuing to perform experiments (I’ll be performing usability, evaluation of a tutoring system). However, I do not intend to end my research interest in film perception with my thesis as there are too many questions left unanswered. I’ll be developing research proposals and making grant applications during my time as an RA with the aim that by 2007 I’ll be able to pursue my research interests. To this end I will be presenting my research at conferences during 2006 (e.g. ETRA, in San Diego in March, and writing papers. Lets hope 2006 proves to be an enjoyable and productive year and sets the foundations of my future research career.

The same wishes are extended to all readers of this blog: may your 2006 bring all you desire.