How to make an index for your book or dissertation

Dear Readers. Shaun Lehmann, Katherine Firth (of the Research Voodoo blog) and I are currently in the process of writing a new book for Open University Press called ‘Writing Trouble’. ‘Writing Trouble’ will help you diagnose and treat your thesis writing problems. The proposed book evolved out of our work on the Thesis Bootcamp program, … Continue reading How to make an index for your book or dissertation

Slow Academia is for the privileged – but then, isn’t all academia?

Is academia too Fast? In 2011, I wrote a piece called Slow academia in which I mused: “If you think about it, a thesis or dissertation is the epitome of Slow. Even if you finish in speedy fashion you are unlikely to turn one out in less than three years. Over those years you have … Continue reading Slow Academia is for the privileged – but then, isn’t all academia?

When is it ‘enough’?

I have worked exclusively with PhD students for over a decade now. I have clocked up the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell says you need to be an expert, so I hereby declare myself an expert in the problems of research education. One sign that you can genuinely claim the title of ‘expert’ is when you … Continue reading When is it ‘enough’?

How do I email my supervisor? Part two – the thank you note.

The best blog post topics come from emails like the one I got a couple of weeks ago, from an international student studying at an Australian university. Here is the student’s dilemma: The questions might be naive, but I do want to learn more about the “Australian” way of sending regards to supervisors. My supervisor invited … Continue reading How do I email my supervisor? Part two – the thank you note.

How to stop ‘flipping’ (and write a good to-do list)

At a dinner party some time ago, an academic’s husband pointed out that there are many similarities between being an academic and running a small, not very profitable business. I laughed, but since I briefly ran a small business the comment struck a chord with me. After much thought, I think small business owners and … Continue reading How to stop ‘flipping’ (and write a good to-do list)

Blogging your way to a PhD?

Calvin Ho (@calvinhyj) is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He researches skilled labour immigration policies in Western countries. Through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program at UCLA, he also mentors minority students planning to pursue doctorates in the humanities and social sciences. Calvin is an avid blogger and … Continue reading Blogging your way to a PhD?

Unhelpful PhD advice

No matter who you are, when you start your PhD advice falls around you like fine rain. Despite the fact that I worked in research education already, lots of people felt free to give me advice when I started. I noticed that the advice ranged from the banal and obvious: “Don’t leave all your writing … Continue reading Unhelpful PhD advice

Writing in the middle

This post is from Calvin Ho, a social scientist interested in the effect of international migration policies on individuals, communities, and industries studying at UCLA in the United States. You can catch up with Calvin’s latest work and thoughts on his blog. Academics don’t often talk about how they write. By how, I mean the nitty-gritty how. … Continue reading Writing in the middle

To wear or not to wear – that is the question!

Over the weeks between the first and second post, two other people took the time to write posts reflecting on their own dressing practices. I thought I would publish these pieces together in this slightly longer post as the have different ways of talking about similar feelings. Both these contributions highlight how complex this issue of ‘dressing the part’ is…

Please stop telling me to ‘manage’ my supervisor!

Like many other academic developers, I have often run workshops called ‘manage your supervisor’ where I try, in an upbeat fashion, to empower students to feel they can take charge of their own learning and responsibility for the outcomes. I acknowledge in this workshop that supervisors are generally busy, time poor creatures who might need … Continue reading Please stop telling me to ‘manage’ my supervisor!