It seems hard to believe we are coming to the end of our 6th year of the Doctoral Writing blog. From a small idea sparked at the Quality in Post Graduate Research (QPR) Conference in Adelaide, Australia, in April 2012, the blog has grown to having over 13,000 followers. We know many people who began reading the blog as doctoral students who now, as graduates and supervisors, recommend the blog to colleagues and new doctoral students. How time flies!
The blog represents an amazing community of doctoral writers and their supporters: supervisors, academic developers, academic language and writing developers, and increasingly we are being supported and connected to other communities via university library and graduate research websites. We are delighted that we have followers from most countries around the world, although (unsurprisingly) the majority of our readers are still based in the English language speaking nations of the US, UK and Australia.
Besides our growing readership, the blog community includes those who write for us. Over the years an increasing number of guest bloggers have contributed. And like our readership, contributors come from all over the world. Sometimes we approach an author of a published scholarly paper or presentation that we have found interesting; at other times we are approached by individuals who propose a blog for our consideration. This year we have had contributors from Canada, the US, UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. If you have an idea for a post, or wish to recommend a contribution – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogs this year
As always, posts this year have covered an eclectic range of topics from reading for writing, creativity and writing practices, to posts on writing discrete parts of the thesis. If you wish to explore these, we encourage you to use the side panel on the website and flick through the categories we hope help you navigate the site (albeit imperfectly!).
There are some blog posts that remain favourites. Writing the Acknowledgements: the etiquette of thanking is by far our most popular post with approximately 3 times as many views as the next most viewed. Our top posts are:
- How to make a great conclusion
- Balancing simplicity and complexity in Doctoral Writing
- How long is a thesis introduction? Changing thesis structures
- Journal article or book chapter?
- Writing a thesis abstract that will impress a potential examiner
- How many chapters and pages are there in a doctoral thesis?
- Creating the literature review: research questions and arguments
- Live a PhD life less disorganised with Trello
- When is enough reading enough for a doctoral thesis?
- Finishing the PhD – or what happens to otherwise normal people in the last few months of the PhD
We also blog about Conferences, books and events we think may interest our readers. This year has been relatively big for conference reports – we have written about the Academic Identities Conference, the IDERN Conference, the EARLI SIG, the HERDSA Conference. If you have a relevant conference or are part of a doctoral writing community you think we might be interested in, please let us know so we can include this in our community notice board.
Another aspect of our community is our relationship to the QPR SIG (Special Interest Group). We would like to extend a special thanks to the SIG coordinators, Susan Mowbray and Juliet Lum, who have provided us with exceptional live events this year.
Finally, a word from the editors of Doctoral Writing. It has been another busy year for us in our respective workplaces responding to the demands of what sometimes seems like an academic life spiralling out of control; however, we still find enjoyment and enrichment in being part of this vibrant online community. Thanks to our readers, followers and contributors – may you have a peaceful and restorative break.
Best wishes until we resume in January 2019.
Claire, Cally and Susan