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 … Continue reading How evernote can help you with your literature review
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 … Continue reading How to become a literature searching ninja
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 … Continue reading Why is grey literature not open access?
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.
The high degree of autonomy one gets as an academic is both a blessing and a curse. Making your way up what counts for a career ladder these days is tricky. It’s hardly surprising that the academic career guide is an emerging book genre with strong sales. I’ve benefitted from the academic guide to life genre … Continue reading Book review: two new guides to academic life
Did you know that the average age on entry to a PhD in Australia is 34 years old? Over the time I have been whispering this average age gets older and older. There are a few PhD students at ANU who enrolled in their PhD in their late sixties and early seventies. It’s never too … Continue reading Starting a PhD… at 58 years old?
Are you doing interdisciplinary research? I did. It was hard. Universities are often very well set up for individual disciplines, but if you don’t fit firmly into one of these, you can easily find yourself marginalised. How should you go about doing interdisciplinary research so that you don’t ‘go down over interdisciplinary waters’ so to … Continue reading How to approach an inter-disciplinary thesis
Recently I published a post from Carmen Blythe on finishing the PhD in 2 years, which provoked a storm of comments. Some people pointed out the many advantages that Carmen had, which helped her finish in such a short time. You might have been left wondering: what about ‘normal people’ – can they finish early to? … Continue reading On finishing ‘early’
Dr Lynne Kelly has authored and sold more books than anyone else I know – and I live a life surrounded by people who write and publish for a living. I’ve known Lynne for many years, both personally and professionally. She wrote non-fiction books before she started her PhD so perhaps it is no surprise that … Continue reading Keep the quirky bits! Turing your PhD into a best selling book