Lyn’s Favourite Things: Time Management Strategies

Tags

,

In this post, Dr Lyn Lavery offers some excellent advice to doctoral writers for managing their time productively.

I’m a big fan of making the most of the time I have as it means I have more time to spend on the things I enjoy. Here are my three favourite strategies for doing just that.

Eat a Frog

If you’ve ever had the experience of sitting down to check your emails first thing in the morning, only to realise three hours later that the most productive time of your day has disappeared, then I highly recommend frog eating. The idea comes from Mark Twain – he suggested that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ll know that’s the worst thing that will happen to you all day. (There’s a thought for when your doctoral writing is getting on top of you.) Continue reading

Call for posts: Extending the doctoral writing conversation beyond English

Tags

,

By Cally Guerin

Looking through my notes from the 2017 Writing Research Across Borders conference (WRAB) (held at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia in February), I was struck by how much of the program I was unable to participate in. Any conference with parallel sessions means missing out on many of the papers. However, this time, as a monolingual English speaker at a largely Spanish-speaking conference, I really missed out!

Although not usually a victim of FOMO (fear of missing out), this time I was acutely aware of being surrounded by fascinating conversations that I couldn’t access. What was going on around me? What are the pressing issues for those writing doctoral theses in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese? Are they the same as those faced by scholars writing in English? Is this different again when writing a thesis in English as an additional language? I suspect that many supervisors who work in English-speaking countries have little awareness of the different language and cultural conventions and expectations that come into play.

The posts here on the DoctoralWritingSIG blog have, until now, focused on the issues relating to writing a thesis in English. We cover all sorts of aspects: topics specifically focused on thesis writing; on grammar and style more broadly; on writing practices; and on the issues around identity and emotion that arise in the context of doctoral writing.

It would be of great interest to extend our understandings of the issues around doctoral writing in other languages. If you work with doctoral candidates in languages other than English, or with candidates writing in English as an additional language, we’d love to hear about your experiences and insights into the challenges faced and helpful solutions you’ve found. Or if you are a student writing your doctorate in a language other than English, you may have insights you’d like to share. We see from our website statistics that we have readers from nearly every country in the world, so there is a wealth of knowledge out there amongst you.

Here at DoctoralWritingSIG we’d like to host a special themed month on doctoral writing from the perspective of those using languages other than English. We will accept contributions in English as well as other languages. Our practice is to always review posts before they go live and this will also be the case for these submissions (with some translation help if not in English!).

Please send us your proposals (100-200 words) so we can start this conversation. We’ll work with you to prepare your ideas for publication on our website as a blog post of 600-800 words. Email your proposals before 31 July to doctoralwriting@gmail.com.

The developing thesis proposal: questions to launch doctoral writing

Tags

,

By Susan Carter

A potential doctoral candidate choosing their topic might ask themselves: ‘”What are the subjects that interest me—that I want to make sense of?” “Who do I want to talk to about these subjects?” And “What can I bring to the conversation?”’ (Kempe, 2005: 2). These are three pertinent questions that Anne Sigismund Huff saw as initiating research direction. From there, though, it is rarely that simple. Continue reading

Writing text for research posters

Tags

,

By Cally Guerin

Recently I sat down to make a poster about the DoctoralWritingSIG blog for a higher education conference. I’ve made only a few research posters over the years; this genre is more common in some science disciplines than it is in humanities and social sciences. The exercise encouraged me to think about how this kind of research writing differs from that of a journal article or a thesis or, for that matter, a 20-minute oral presentation for a conference.

Poster prose is a little like reducing an 80,000-word thesis to a Three-Minute Thesis presentation: turning an article-length idea into a poster requires the author to focus in on the key messages of the communication. Posters encourage writers to extract the skeleton of the narrative they have developed in more fulsome terms elsewhere, to distill the key ideas of the work into neat dot points or short statements. This is not a time to be chatty; a poster gives us only the central message. Continue reading

What does it mean to ‘theorise’ research?

Tags

, ,

By Cally Guerin

Researchers, and especially those working on doctorates, are advised that their work needs to be much more than a description; they must also ‘theorise’ their work. Many of us are a little unsure about what this really means, especially when instructed to ‘theorise your practice’, so here is my attempt to try and define it.

Doctoral writers generally need to tie their research to existing, well-established theories, for example, feminist theory, attachment theory, social constructivist theory. Such theories act as a lens through which the research is perceived, and often determine the direction and focus of the research.

But on another level, doctoral writers are also required to ‘theorise’ their findings. This second kind of ‘theorising’ demands that the writer step away from the mass of details to enable a big-picture view of data in order to understand its broader meanings. Continue reading

3rd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training (ICDDET), 3-4 April 2017

Tags

, ,

By Cally Guerin

The International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training (ICDDET) is gaining momentum with its third conference in the UK held at Stratford upon Avon last week. As in 2015, this conference draws together perspectives from (primarily) the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. The doctorate is an international qualification and it was encouraging to see how speakers from all these regions are consistently on message: doctoral education needs to be thinking about what happens to our researchers beyond graduation. Continue reading