This post is by Alyssa Bernstein, a PhD Candidate at the School of Law at the Queen’s University of Belfast. Alyssa also freelances as a writer, translator, and developer, and likes making things more efficient. This post outlines her writing process and has some interesting tips for people like me, who like to use technology to […]
We often talk about ‘searching the literature’ – but how do you actually do it? Literature searches are one of those skills that we assume students already have when they get into a PhD. As a consequence we rarely make time to explicitly teach the skills, so it’s probably not surprising that I meet many […]
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 […]
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.
Stuck with all that literature? Here’s five simple ideas to make sense of it all.
Publishers often send me academic writing books to review. I happily look through every book, but if I think I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it, I just don’t write a review. I don’t want to crush a fellow author’s soul. The rejected titles sit sadly, in small piles of guilt, on the bottom of one of […]
This post is by Dr Amber Gwynne, a researcher, writer and academic editor from Brisbane, Australia. Amber currently teaches into the writing program at The University of Queensland and shares her enthusiasm for grammar via edX’s English grammar and style MOOC, Write101x. You can find her on Twitter (@AmberGwynne) or at http://www.ambergwynne.com. Caveat lector… or […]
Last year I had a health crisis, brought on by many years of just working too many hours. After about 15 years of regularly doing 50 or 60 hour weeks something inside me just… snapped. It started with unexpected bouts of tears at work, then rapidly progressed to anxiety attacks, exhaustion and mood swings. The […]
Do you have a pet? Do we give our pets enough credit for helping us through the hard times? This post is by Dr Jo Clyne. Jo completed her PhD in History and Theatre Studies in 2015 at the University of Melbourne. She would like to thank her cat, Sam, for helping her through many […]
In Australia, your PhD thesis is examined by a blind peer review process. This can produce mixed results, as we will hear in this story. Joanne Doyle is a PhD student at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Toowoomba, Australia. Joanne’s research explores academic perspectives on the impact of higher education research. Prior to […]