Monday, January 27, 2014

Literature Review

Hello dearest researchers!!

Today I'm in the mood to write steps on how to start your literature review. Here goes..

1. Define your scope

So, once you have a brief idea about what to do for your PhD and Master, you need to define your scope. This becomes your 'Scope of work'.

The importance of defining your scope are:
1) To tell the examiner that our work is only this much.
2) For ease of writing Chapter 2.

My favorite method in defining the scope is by using Prof Khazani's K-chart method. Since I am not entitled to teach K-chart here (I heard that it is copyrighted), I would strongly suggest you to join Prof Khazani's talk should he provide any. Nonetheless, I share with you my K-chart here. The ones I bold are the focus of my study and the ones I did not bold is to tell the examiner that this is out of my scope.

2. Plan

Planning is the most crucial part that has been neglected by many. I shall caps lock it, bold, highlight, enlarge, whatever to stress the importance of planning.

Many times I found researchers got up all panicked trying to do everything but ended up with almost nothing. Take your time to plan, set some time to study about it. Let's say if your study is about Honda City, give yourself a couple of weeks to study first about cars in general. Google for tutorial about cars. Strengthen your foundation. Then only you study the difference between continental cars and Japanese cars. Then, you refine your scope to the difference between Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi in terms of their technology.

You see, it doesn't matter if the planning take quite some times. It is worth it. You understand better rather than jumping here and there without understanding the big picture of your research. It's okay to go slow, rather than having to go back every now and then with little understanding in the end, trust me.

3. Read, read, read

I read the first time to get the overview and the theoretical background of a paper.

Twice until perhaps 15 to 16 times to understand the work. Then I extracted the advantages and disadvantages.

And again to know the software or hardware used and the parameters studied.

Again during thesis writing, to see how they write their results.

Unless you're a super genius, you can't understand a paper just by reading it once. What you might do is that you might misunderstand the whole paper due to assumption.

4. A proper documentation

Because you're gonna read it again and again and again, might as well have a proper documentation. This is my documentation from the first EPON DBA was published in 2001 until 2012, everything I can get my hands on (journals only).

5. Come out with a table

For ease of writing, because remember you're gonna write your critical review years after your read these papers. To help you refresh back my memory, I come up with this.. :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

What to do to enhance vaginal elasticity?

1. Good Nutrition to ensure healthy tissue elasticity.
2. Squatting Exercises to stretch the tissues before birth.
3. Exposure to Air to keep the tissues healthy.
4. Daily Kegel Exercises (see Lifelong Pregnancy Exercise)
5. Avoid Soap as it dries tissues (cleanse with plain water instead).
6. Lotion and Massage to soften tissues and help mother become comfortable with her own anatomy.
7. Talk to Your Doctor in Advance about your desires and preparations to avoid episiotomy.
8. Be Patient during birth. An episiotomy can speed up the delivery by a few contractions, but it isn’t worth the resulting pain and recovery trauma.
9. Pull Your Knees Back (or Squat) during birth. Do not spread your legs wide open (which also means stay out of stirrups!).
10. Push With Self Control at the moment of birth to ensure you gently ease the baby’s head out and stop for the shoulders to naturally rotate during the subsequent contraction.
11. Remind Your Doctor at the Time of Birth; don’t assume they recall your wishes in this regards (also have your companion watch and advocate for no cuts during the birth).
12. Don’t Take Medicinal Pain Relief, as it prevents you from being able to push with self control.

Taken from:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Things to buy for my second baby

1. Small stroller for holiday/vacation

Since the old one that we brought everywhere (Langkawi, Bali, Goldcoast) were already broken and the other one is too big.

Bought Halford Fliplit in black, umbrella fold for RM380 in Shah Alam.

2. Medela Freestyle

Because I'm not happy with my Spectra 3. Enough said. I'm selling it for RM100, anyone interested, PM me pls k? :)

3. Sterilizer + Bottle warmer

Because we didn't buy it for Khaira.

4. Bottle rack

Bought this at Aeon for RM17 with lid.

5. Anti colic feeding bottle

6. Felton 4 tier rack

7. Radio

To play all the surahs for my future hafiz or hafizah :)

That's all I can think of at the moment. Any suggestion, dear Mommies?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Seminar Parenting Gaya Al-Fateh - The review

So last Saturday, Love and I went to "Seminar Parenting Gaya Al-Fateh" organized by IPN.

There were three speakers altogether; husband and wife Pn. Jamilah and En. Ahmad Fakhri. The final speaker was Ust. Mohd Syaari (I attended his previous talk here).

The first two speakers were rather mundane :( I'd rather not say much.. but not for me, not for hubby, sorry..

Thank God, Ust. Syaari managed to make everything okay again. Not only okay, but a memorable one :)

So, my sharing is more of Ust. Syaari's sharing and here goes..

There were 4 stages of learning education during Ottoman empire, meaning these 4 stages were what being mastered by Al-Fateh.

1. Spiritual sciences - Include not only theorical (Quran, Hadis and Syariah) but also practical or ethics.
2. Intellectual sciences - Include theory (sciences, mathematical, theology) and practical (ethics and political sciences)
3. Oral (Phonetics, lexicography, poetry, syntax, prosody, and history)
4. Written (Caligraphic sciences)

I guess on intellectual sciences, we don't have any problem on this. That's how they measure our children's intellectual level in Malaysia anyway. 

And slowly nowadays, the spiritual sciences came along. We are more aware of teaching our children to go back to fitrah, to the Quran and Hadis. But the practical and ethics are what I'm gonna stressed on to my little ones later on. We know sometimes, non Muslim are more Muslim than us. 

When I was in Aussie, strangers came to us and say, "Hello" out of nowhere. I didn't give "Salaam" to strangers here in Malaysia. When I was in Japan, people there were so honest I could leave my handbag out of sight for a while only to come back and found out it was still there untouched. Would I do that in any of the Arabic country, no offense, read this with open mind.. I wouldn't. The reality was so sad, I felt almost crying when I saw a video of a Muslim lady with a head scarf (tak mampu nak sebut hijab) laughed after stealing somebody else's money from ATM. Malu ok, like my late grandmom said if I was an ostrich I would bury my head under the sand.

To be honest, I'm not really worried about teaching ethics to Khaira. I passed it all to her Abi, all the soft skills. My husband was one of the person who has the highest level of ethics I've ever met in life. One of the most soft spoken person, he spoke with a high level of respect to me and everybody else. So, Abi.. this is your part :)

I guess, what I learned most during the talk is the importance of teaching our children on the oral and written parts. I haven't thought of that before. Because the kids nowadays, the way they talked to adults are more like friends, we need to do something about it. Puan Lina even sent Darwish and Darwisya to speech and acting class.

Al-Fateh is a poet. Really good at debate. This skill played its role when he gave his speech to his army after they were demotivated since they couldn't take over Constantinople after a month plus. This skills is important to our children during job interview later on, during work. It is sure one important thing to me because as a lecturer and a researcher, I'm selling my presentation skill and my knowledge to the students.

Even in Quran, the first speaker also asked us to observe the way the son and the father communicate. Eg. in Surah Luqman Ayat 13, Luqman would say to his son "Ya bunayya" meaning "Oh my son". And in Surah Al-Qasas Ayat 26, "Ya Abbati" meaning "Oh my father". How really soft spoken.. It melts my heart. I hope, I pray both Love and I are given the courage to teach these skills to Khaira. 

I am sharing here with you this beautiful video Ustaz shared during the talk, about a blind man who asked for a sedeqah, he wrote on a board "I'm blind. Please help me". Then a woman came to change the wording and this time many people started donating then previously. The woman wrote, "It's a beautiful day, and I can't see." How words can change the world. Watch here.

I have to go now, I have an urgent meeting. Anyhow let me just end up my sharing with the four important pillars in teaching your children:

1. Parents
Whatever it is, it is us the parents who will become the role model to our kids. To have good children, we must be a good parents first. For me, I'm dividing the task with Love. Left brain to me, right brain to him.

2. Teachers
Usaha. And I just need to doa banyak2 Khaira and my babies later one will get very good teachers. In shaa Allah. Let's have faith with the teachers in Malaysia. 

3. School
School plays another important role. After all, our environment determines who we are.

4. Experience
I'd rather say this as street smart. Kalau pandai geek macam mana pun tak survive in the outside world pun susah juga.

Ever heard of a saying (people say it's a hadis but I am not sure whether is is sahih or not, wallahualam)  “Akan terjadi di akhir zaman Islam muncul dari bumi sebelah Timur.” 

May our children be one of them that helps the rise of Islam :) Ameen.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What to do before you start your PhD/Master by Research

Hello everyoneeee!!

Currently I'm preparing some ideas on what to present for my talk in my Uni. A colleague of mine asked me to give a talk on "How I finish my PhD in 3 years part time".

Macam cocky kan the title. Haha!! I wasn't the one who came up with it. Nak catch attention je tuh.

But if people know me, they know my intention is just to share. And while preparing for my slides, I thought of just sharing what I think everyone (including me if I could turn back time and tell myself all these before I started my PhD) should do before they begin their PhD or Master by Research.

I shared this based on my experiences. I finished my PhD in 3 years and my Master by research in slightly over a year. Might work for you, might not, but just tawakkal and leave the rest to the Almighty, in shaa Allah every little effort counts :) 

What to do before you start your PhD/Master by Research

1. Literature Review

At least read a little bit about the background of the things you would like to do your research on. The general overview, not just read, make sure you understand. Familiarize yourself with the famous authors and experts in your field. Make sure you know the current trend. Then, make sure you fall in love with it. Sometimes you fall in love with something people think is hard. If you think you know yourself better than the rest of the world, follow your instinct. Passion makes everything easier, at least for me.

I was given two options when I did my Master, two different titles, one looks easier than the other. But I chose the other one out of passion and I am confident I've made the right choice. Alhamdulillah :)

2. Supervisor

Choose a supervisor whom is not only an expert in your field but also ones whom understand you. But to have a supervisor whom understand you, you must understand yourself first. If you're the type of person who works well when somebody pushes you, find a sv whom can push you persistently. Otherwise,  find someone who is more laid back

And I would also strongly encourage you to have a co-sv so that
1. You can get a 2nd opinion on things
2. You can have somebody to look at your research in a different angle.
If possible, find a sv that can complement your co.

My sv, Prof Shidah is a woman and my co sv, Dr. Mansoori is a man so I get the best of both worlds.

3. Seek for blessings; make them understand

Blessing is important, be it from your husband or your parents. You have to understand that PhD is demanding. It demands your time, your mental and also your physical. There are days, like it or not you have to come back home late especially if you do it part time. There are days, you sleep with the problem and waking up all stressed out and cried alone for no reason. There are times especially towards the end, you come home in need of time just an hour to practice for viva or to do your coding because an idea comes out of nowhere. The husband, the parents need to be there for you physically and mentally. I can't stress this enough, its importance. 

I'm blessed to have my parents live nearby and taking care of Khaira and being such super understanding I can't thank them enough. I'm blessed to have a husband whom I can depend on. Nonetheless, to make people understand is not easy, which comes to my next point..

4. Have a circle of friends whom understand you

And for me, there's nobody understand you better except those who have been through the same shit as you have been through. Those who did their PhD with you and cried with you and laughed with you.

They don't have to do the same technical things as you are, but please seek for them when you're stuck because if you shut yourselves from the world, it's hard to get out. You need people to talk to.

Needless to say.. my circle of friends, those in the lab with me, they cried with me, fell with me, may Allah SWT bless them. I love you girls.

 5. "In case briefcase"

My hubby called in the "in case briefcase". A reason why you do your PhD, a really strong one. Cash it in the day you need it. You will need it. 

Trust me, in your PhD there are days when you feel like quitting, but always remember your "in case briefcase". Mine came when I was writing my thesis, I even wrote a letter to quit. Then, my pillar of support (husband) came to remind me of my "in case briefcase", and I was quickly reminded of my passion and circle of friends. I managed to finish it eventually.

6. Have faith

Have faith in the Almighty that He will ease everything for you. If He brings you to it, He will surely bring you through it. "I am what you think I am," He said. Have faith and it makes you believe that He allows you to do anything and to achieve the impossible. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013 and hello 2014

2013 was a good year.

I managed to strike all my to do list, and I did them gracefully. Alhamdulillah

On top of that, we went to Japan on December. For a while, I survived Japan alone :)

Also, a day before leaving to Japan, I found out that I'm pregnant.

All praise is to Allah swt the almighty.

However 2013 has been a challenging one. I lost my grand mom and my grand mom in law. And the uncle who was closest to me a day before my birthday. I caught an accident for the first time in my life.

I hope 2014 will be a better one. In shaa Allah. Ameen.