Publishing about publishing: a review of ‘Global Academic Publishing’ (eds Curry & Lillis)

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

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Developing research questions

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By Brittany Amell

Brittany Amell is a PhD student studying in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University, Canada. She leads writing retreats and workshops for graduate students in a variety of disciplines. Her research interests lie at the intersection between creative practices, social change, and doctoral writing. In this post she describes and shares some activities from a workshop she developed to support other doctoral students with “finding” their research question. If you are interested in incorporating more activities similar to the ones described in this article, you might also be interested in a recent Special Issue of the Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie on “Play, Visual Strategies and Innovative Approaches to Graduate Writing”. You can access the special issue here.

All research is informed by a question, though how this question is phrased and presented (if at all) no doubt depends on the discipline one is located within. Research questions can guide empirical studies, of course, but they can also guide our literature reviews and theoretical papers. But while one may know that beginning with a question is important, useful even, just how does one arrive at a question to begin with?

This is the question that spawned a fairly well-attended workshop I run, called “Gamestorm your research space”. What is gamestorming, you wonder? I describe gamestorming as similar to brainstorming, but more fun. Continue reading

DoctoralWriting SIG meeting and QPR 2018 conference

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By Cally Guerin

It’s all over so quickly! The biennial Quality in Postgraduate Research (QPR) conference was held in sunny Adelaide, South Australia, last week. As the longest running and biggest conference on doctoral education in the world, QPR gathers together people who are concerned with both the big picture of where research training is heading and the details of how we get where we want to be. The conference keeps growing, and this year we had lots of current PhD candidates in attendance as well as seasoned academics and researchers. The conference website has details about the range of presenters and abstracts. Continue reading

Grant-writing season

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By Cally Guerin

The annual research grant-writing season recently finished in Australia. It’s always timed to occur during the summer teaching break, so that instead of enjoying some well-deserved time off, academics are flat out putting together detailed proposals, competing for part of an ever-smaller pot of research money. As government funding has reduced and more academics put in applications, we engage in this hugely intensive and time-consuming activity in the full knowledge that there is only a very slim chance of success. Most universities run workshops where experienced researchers and successful grant winners offer advice. These workshops are invaluable. In this post, I’d like to add some of my own reflections on my experience this year, and share some useful tips for other grant writers and those helping them through the process. Continue reading

Doctoral supervisors to mentor English as Second Language research students

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Oscar Odena is Reader in Education at the University of Glasgow, UK. Originally from Spain, he has conducted and supervised educational research in a range of contexts nationally and internationally. More information can be found on his Glasgow University webpage. This post is an updated version of a post previously published on the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change blog. Here Oscar writes about his research into writing development for ESL doctoral writers.

By Oscar Odena

The trend of English as Second Language (ESL) students coming to established English-speaking universities is on the increase, particularly to enrol in research degree programmes. With their new research skills many will aim to bring about educational change in their countries after completion. Developing academic writing is a crucial skill for completing a research degree. However, academic writing development is not a compulsory element across research degree programmes that often focus on subject-specific knowledge, leaving academic writing to be developed independently. Continue reading

Managing supervisors with doctoral writing: some advice for candidates

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By Susan Carter

The other day I attended a doctoral morning tea with a panel of two doctoral candidates and one supervisor giving advice on how to manage your supervisor. The chair probed with questions about different stages of doctoral writing. Some foundational advice came from the supervisor, who noted that human beings were all different (that is not too profound, yet advice on good practice often does not take account of individual difference). Her main point was that because of difference, clear communication was important. She had found that what worked well with one student did not work well with another, and that only open communication enables a good relationship. The doctoral candidates had some anecdotes of their own experience, and, by recounting them, showed that both they and their supervisors were indeed different in terms of work-protocol preference. One said that he hadn’t thought about managing his supervisor nor considered whether the relationship was okay until he heard his doctoral colleagues telling their tales and realised that he had a superb supervisor.

This post gives me a chance to give the advice to new doctoral students on managing their supervisors that I would have given had I been invited onto the panel. I’m keen to do this because having worked extensively with both doctoral students and supervisors, and researched doctoral writing exchanges, I know how important a good relationship is: it affects personal wellbeing over four years or so. And doctoral students have a part to play in figuring out the protocols for working together happily. Continue reading