The art of the ‘cold call’ email

Email is the lifeblood of university communications: quick, easy, painless… and so very easy to get wrong. We humans are a curious lot. We are highly social creatures but idiosyncratic. There is a lot of love, but also a lot of jostling for status and power. Academia, with its deeply middle class, coded language and … Continue reading The art of the ‘cold call’ email

The project finishing mindset

To generalise ridiculously, there are three types of people: People who start a research project intending to finish it on time. People who start a project not really caring when they finish it. People who don't care about finishing a project on time until they fly past the deadline. If you are doing a PhD … Continue reading The project finishing mindset

How to make your dissertation ‘speak’ to experts

Most people come into a PhD program with well developed writing skills but a  dissertation - or as it is called in Australia, a Thesis, is a very particular kind of writing challenge. All thesis writers must bend their existing skills to the appropriate 'thesis style'. Ironically, the people I have seen struggle the most … Continue reading How to make your dissertation ‘speak’ to experts

Information indigestion? The search for a perfect note taking system.

For the last 20 years I've been on a quest to find the perfect academic note taking system. I abandoned paper in 2005 when I realised my notebooks were the place my ideas went to die. Although writing into a notebook felt useful at the time it was hard to find stuff later. Flipping fruitlessly … Continue reading Information indigestion? The search for a perfect note taking system.

Getting creative with the discussion section

Before I get started, two announcements! We have started to release the audio from 2020's Whisperfest as a podcast series. You can find the first episode on Buzzsprout, and subscribe through your favourite player. We plan to release one every three weeks and by then, we will probably be ready to host the next one! … Continue reading Getting creative with the discussion section

How to write a more compelling sentence

Like many academics, I get to my office every morning and battle the problem of Too Much To Read. To tell the truth, most days I give up the fight. Under pressure to publish or perish, academics are producing mountains of text every year, even in a tiny sub-specialty like research education.  I don't have … Continue reading How to write a more compelling sentence

Why your anxiety might also be a super power

Happy new year everyone! I don't know about you, but during 2020, I often felt like a helpless bus passenger being driven towards the edge of a cliff by incompetent politicians and powerful business interests. I feel this way about climate change all the time, but the pandemic made the feeling so much worse. All … Continue reading Why your anxiety might also be a super power

The year of living Covidly

We made it. 2020 is about to be over. Before a year in review post, a special announcement: As regular readers know, for over 10 years now I have run the Thesis Whisperer blog as a 'not for loss' model, where I donate excess above operating costs to charity. This year, as an explicit christmas … Continue reading The year of living Covidly

While you scream inside your heart, please keep working.

So, 2020 hey? What a trip. I don't know about you, but concentrating on my work when the world feels like it's up in flames, literally and figuratively, has been, well - difficult. In order to keep my shit together in front of students and co-workers I've been, as a Japanese theme park put it, … Continue reading While you scream inside your heart, please keep working.