2019 has been another busy year for DoctoralWriting, just as it has been for our readers around the world. Recently we passed the 15,000 followers mark. We’ve published another 35 posts this year, with the following guest bloggers based in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa contributing to the conversation – thank you all! Continue reading
By Claire Aitchison
What’s the use of journaling during doctoral study?
In this blog I wish to explore the value of other kinds of doctoral writing; that is, the musings and note-taking, the random jottings and scribbles, that sit aside from the major task of thesis writing. I am concerned with what might be called journaling or diary-keeping, that is, writing NOT necessarily undertaken with an explicit intention (at least at the outset) to become part of the published thesis or journal paper.
Quantitative research often requires the keeping of careful notes and records in official Lab Books—but here my focus is the less formal, non-compulsory note-taking associated with qualitative research. Continue reading
By Claire Aitchison
It’s scary being a PhD supervisor.
Whatever the reason, there would be few supervisors who have not experienced anxiety and self-doubt at some point.
This post is about some of the ‘night terrors’ that can afflict doctoral supervisors. What scares you the most? Please feel welcome to add to this list—and share remedies!
Am I asking too much of this student?
During doctoral candidature there are inevitable ups and downs. Emotional turbulence for both student and supervisor can have their origins in the challenges of the research itself; the stresses around writing and giving and receiving feedback; or perhaps have nothing to do with the research and instead arise from financial, family or work concerns. Life gets in the way, damn it! It isn’t easy to know when to ease off and make allowances, or when to maintain the right level of pressure so that the PhD stays on the boil. How does one balance the personal vulnerabilities and demands on individual students against the institution’s completion-focussed priorities? Furthermore, sometimes the needs of supervisors come into the equation — we too have lives, challenges, workloads and vulnerabilities! Continue reading
This week’s post comes from a graphic designer who works with academics. Ben approached us when one of his colleagues suggested our readers may value tips on creating infographics to illustrate and promote their research. Ben Brockbank can be contacted on email@example.com.
As this post demonstrates, good infographics offer a fast, effective and eye-catching method of conveying complex information in a more accessible and engaging way.
In the context of research, ‘infographics’ can apply to any number of visual outputs, including presentations, visual reports, illustrations that accompany an article, or scientific diagrams. However, with academic and research infographics, probably the most widely used outputs are the research poster and visual abstract. I’m sure you’re familiar with research posters.
Less well-known, are visual abstracts which condense the information from an abstract into a more engaging visual display. Visual abstracts still provide key information but are more flexible and varied in terms of size and content than research posters or traditional written abstracts.
Example of a Visual Abstract
Great way to be proactive about writing help
Dear Thesis Writer,
Thanks for contacting me and for being proactive about developing your writing!
My first question is to ask you whether you have got specific and detailed feedback from your supervisor(s) about what they think and how you can improve? Have you talked to them about the feedback they have given you, so you can understand how to move forward? This is the most personalised and relevant way to improve writing, as it is within the context of your discipline area, and specific to your learning needs. It’s well worth a chat if you haven’t already, as it means you aren’t operating on assumptions about what they think.
If you have had this discussion about your feedback, and agreed with your supervisors(s)that you need further opportunities to develop — below are some ideas you can try out:
Are you taking into account that writing at this level needs…
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By Cally Guerin
Mary Jane Curry & Theresa Lillis (eds), (2018). Global Academic Publishing: Policies, Perspectives and Pedagogies. Studies in Knowledge Production and Participation: 1. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
In response to increasing pressure from institutions and funding bodies for academics to make their research public, there is a great deal of advice—and anxiety—for those seeking to publish their research. Doctoral writers, too, are often caught up in this ‘push to publish’ and, as emerging scholars, they are likely to be even less well informed about the challenges and nuances of navigating the system than seasoned researchers. When I saw that Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis had published a collection of essays about publishing, I was keen to get some fresh insights into the current state of play in this vexed area—and I have learnt a great deal from their new book. Continue reading