Crafting your personalised soundscape for writing

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By Dr Kay Guccione, a Senior Lecturer in Academic Development at Glasgow Caledonian University. Kay has been a teacher and educational development professional since 2010, working in Researcher and Academic Development at the University of Sheffield for nine years. Her specialism is in Dialogic Learning, as applied to Mentoring, Personal Tutoring and PhD Supervision. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2018 in recognition of her national profile in these areas, and she edits a blog on Research Supervision, and edits the Journal of Imaginary Research

Selfie by Kay Guccione wearing her ‘obnoxious headphones’

Researchers in music psychology (of which I am not one, to be transparent) have produced a huge body of evidence, documenting how music affects human behaviour and emotion within a wide range of performance contexts, varying music genera and tempo, task type, volume and the presence or absence of vocals. Writing to the right musical soundscape, can make you work faster (Bramwell-Dicks et al, 2016). This post will put you in touch with resources for choosing music to write by.

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Presubmission revision checklist for doctoral monographs

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By Susan Carter

I’m working with several doctoral students who are approaching submission deadlines, so careful revision is much on my mind. There are a few things I am picking up across their work, and I wondered if maybe there are common considerations so that a checklist would be helpful.

My list below relates to what I am doing here and now, and is limited by that—what I’m thinking about now. I’m sure that there is more to be said, and would love it if thoughts about revision checklists surfaced in your own ideas and teaching to add to advice. You could add a comment, or contact us if you could offer a blog post on the same topic: presubmission revision.

Cally Guerin has written before in this blog about presubmission with a focus on formatting, and Claire Aitchison had acknowledged the psychological stress of the presubmission state that seems inevitable, but this post focuses on the seemingless endless checking that revision entails.

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Should the COVID-19 pandemic be addressed in doctoral writing? And if so, how?

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By Susan Carter

The DoctoralWriting SIG has had a few posts on what was so huge and different about 2020, churning over what has happened to us all, how we might best handle it, and how kindness to each other is one very positive response to something that is generally frightening, depressing and worrying: a global pandemic.  I’m sure that you will have your own experience of how COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have affected the doctoral writers you know. We all know that we’ve lived through something extraordinary. Continue reading

Document naming conventions to avoid confusion between candidates and supervisors

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Claire Aitchison

In my experience academic writers often create fairly idiosyncratic systems for naming and sharing word documents. However, when authors need to collaborate, share, and review documents together, these individual systems can collide causing mix-ups and frustrations. Continue reading

Getting into the swing: getting writing again in 2021

Claire Aitchison

Are you one of those people who run full hurtle into the sea, diving under in one fell swoop? Or do you prefer to creep in, slowly acclimatising the body as you inch yourself into the cool water?

Taking a break from the PhD can be invaluable for both students and supervisors. But getting back into the swing of things doesn’t always come easily. Continue reading

End of 2020 – thank goodness!

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by Claire, Susan and Cally

Looks like we’ve made it through to the end of 2020 – the strangest year many of us have ever experienced.

In this apocalyptic year, most people we know have been in lockdown at various times; some liked it and many hated it. Most supervisors and doctoral writers have found themselves working from home this year much more than they had planned. For some, this has been a bonus, making it easier to manage the complex matrix of family, work and study. They’ve saved time from not travelling to campus and the proliferation of online workshops has meant more ready access to community and professional development than they would usually enjoy.

For many others, especially for doctoral writers living on modest budgets, this has been hugely challenging: the routines of moving between work and other parts of life have dissolved; the loneliness of doctoral study has been exacerbated with even fewer opportunities to meet with peers; and the restrictions of living spaces and internet connection have been unavoidably confronting. Continue reading