I often make my doctoral students cry, but I hasten to add it’s not because I am mean. The supervision work I do is emotionally intense because I seem to have (accidentally) become a specialist in helping people who have had difficult candidatures for one reason or another. Gina Wisker calls these people ‘doctoral orphans‘ […]
In case you didn’t already know, this week is Open Access Week. To celebrate, this week’s post is by Belinda Thompson, a PhD Scholar in the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the Australian National University. This post originally appeared on the Open Access Support Group blog and I’d like to thank Danny Kingsley for […]
In a blog post a while back I suggested being a fast writer can be a career ‘edge’. Afterwards a surprisingly large number of people wrote to me wanting to become faster writers, or questioning whether learning to write faster was possible. I was a bit taken aback by the questions as I assumed there […]
The other week I got a chance to just sit and chat with a group of new ANU PhD candidates. The subject was problems. As you can imagine, I totally loved it because as the students talked I wrote about 20 blog posts in my head. Amongst the many topics we discussed that night was […]
This post is written by Karina Quinn, a scholarly and creative writer working in queer theory, fictocriticism, and post-structuralist and feminist theories of the body, subjectivity, and self. She writes fictocriticism, short fiction, poetry, and also does the odd spoken word performance. Karina is currently writing her PhD titled ‘this body, written’ at La Trobe […]
For some inexplicable reason, perhaps to do with Woodstock, kaftans, free love and the rest, the education department in Australia decided to abandon the teaching of grammar in the late sixties and didn’t start again, as far as I can tell, until the mid 80s. I am the ultimate product of a 1970′s education, therefore […]
As regular readers of the Whisperer will know, last year I published a small book called Tame your PhD. Last week I published a review of Dr Nathan Ryder’s ebook, so I thought I would catch you up on how mine is going. In 8 months I have sold 1022 ebooks on Amazon and 90 […]
I have a friend, let’s call her Jenny.
Jenny is about six months into her degree and just beginning to discover the true extent of the literature which might be relevant to her topic. By which I mean – she’s completely and utterly freaking out.
At the start of her journey Jenny read a few things her supervisor suggested and then went off exploring. She did all the right things. Her journey started with a meeting with the subject librarian who taught her how the databases in her area worked and how to use Google Scholar properly (not everything is in there, just so you know). She learned how keywords work and, most importantly in my view, how to do citation searches. Jenny trawled through the databases and discovered a vast amount of stuff which, although it was interesting, seemed only peripherally related to her topic.
She read the literature she found, discussed ideas with her supervisors and some of her peers, wrote a bit, then read some more. Her ideas about her thesis changed; becoming more sophisticated and thoughtful. As she read on she started to recognise the same names started appearing in the bibliographies. She started to see how people were linked together in skeins of thought. Being a social type of person she did a bit of academic networking and started to know, socially, some of the people who wrote those papers. This made her feel more confident. Comfortable even. Part of the community.
Until she downloaded THAT paper.
This post is by Cassily Charles from Charles Sturt University – a fellow thesis Whisperer. Cassily is the academic writing coordinator for Higher Degree Research Students in the CSU Academic Support Unit. Cassily discusses misunderstandings about writing style and how they can lead to conflict between students and supervisors. This post is enlightening to me as an educator – I hope you will be enlightened too.
This is a story about a doctoral student named Laura (a real person, but not her real name) and how she came to pull her hair out (well a few hairs anyway).
Laura began her PhD this year and really hit the ground running – within a few weeks, she was giving her supervisors many many pages about the literature on her topic. Laura’s supervisors are conscientious, organised and well-intentioned. They gave her masses of feedback on her drafts, with many helpful comments about content, style and structure, including comments such as: ‘good observation – now relate this to an over-all argument’ and ‘engage critically with these definitions’.
This is where things went wrong and Laura pulled some hairs out…
Suffice to say I only had one emotion when Kylie Budge, PhD student at the University of Melbourne and academic at RMIT, sent me this post. Envy. Let Kylie give you a justification for planning that thesis writing retreat you have always wanted… Ever considered the idea of taking yourself away for a self-imposed thesis […]