Welcome! I’m glad you found the Thesis Whisperer. I’m here to help all researchers, but particularly PhD students. To get regular posts and newsletters by email, click the ‘sign me up! button on the right side bar – or find @thesiswhisperer on Facebook or Twitter.

The Thesis Whisperer blog is dedicated to the topic of doing a PhD and completing a dissertation. It is managed and edited by Professor Inger Mewburn, Director of Researcher Development at the Australian National University.

This blog is maintained with my own time and money and is run on a ‘not for loss’ model. If you love the Thesis Whisperer and want to help me continue, there are a number of ways you can support my work: read more here.

You can contact me via the email listed on my ANU page here, but please understand I may not respond immediately – or at all – as I receive high volumes of mail.

This blog is 10 years old. It has well over half a million words of content and more than 100,000 followers over 4 social media channels. The blog has been visited over 9 million times over the last decade and people have left well over 16 thousand comments. The blog has a truly global reach, with readers located all over the world.

Please feel free to explore using the search box. I’ve tried to make it easier for you by curating the most popular posts on the Browse page and have compiled blog content into several books which are available through regular channels like Amazon and Book Depository (just google my name there).

I also do podcasts!

Podcasting is my serious hobby. Here are the three I do at the moment:

‘Academics talk about the Chair’ is a TV show recap series about the Netflix series ‘The Chair’. All six episodes are now up – you can listen and subscribe here. We’ll be starting on a new TV show soon!

On the Reg is a semi-regular pod I do with my friend Dr Jason Downs. On The Reg is about life, work and being ‘productive’ – but only on your own terms. you can listen and subscribe here.

I’ve teamed up with my sister and her friend Jason (different Jason!) to produce a show about typography. The Type Pod makes the written word much more interesting than you ever imagined! Listen and subscribe here.

Who is the Thesis Whisperer?

My name is Dr Inger Mewburn. I was born on Nuenonne country, which is now known as Tasmania, Australia (always was, always will be, Aboriginal land). I have a background as a designer and a researcher, which was nurtured at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University.

Since 2006 I have worked exclusively with PhD students and early career academics. I help people finish complex research projects with (sometimes very) demanding stakeholders. I’m passionate about helping people reach their potential as researchers and helping to create a kinder, more inclusive academy. I strive to create spaces where people can do their best work and advance human knowledge for the good of all.

I am currently the Director of Researcher Development at The Australian National University where I run and curate professional development workshops and programs for all ANU researchers. Aside from creating the Thesis Whisperer, I write scholarly papers, books and book chapters about research student experiences, with a special interest in post PhD employability.

I am a regular guest speaker at other universities and do media interviews on request. I am available for keynotes and interviews: please email me on inger.mewburn@anu.edu.au. I do workshops on post PhD employability, publishing, writing, social media, communication and academic survival skills at other universities, for a fee. If you are interested in having me visit your university, see the Workshops page. I am the co-creator of an app to help PhD graduates find non academic jobs. You can find out more about this work on the PostAc page.

I supervise a small number of PhD and Masters students. I am interested in working with people who want to research graduate student issues, especially employability and social scientists wanting to explore machine learning methods in the social sciences (please read the ANU prospective student page before contacting me about study options).

For further information on my work, a selection from my resume is below. You can view my Linkedin profile, my Amazon author page, or contact me by email via the online form above. For more details on my scholarly work please visit my Google Scholar page or my OrcidID. If you need a high res photo of me, you can download from a collection here. A curated selection of my academic CV appears below.

I no longer publish guest posts

For nearly a decade, from mid 2010, The Thesis Whisperer was run on a community content model with weekly posts by me, interspersed with posts by current PhD students and others. I no longer publish guest posts. For more information, please read this post.

The fine print

I am an active researcher and will potentially use comments you post as part of my work. I do not do paid endorsements on this site, so please don’t write to me with requests to advertise here or supply guest posts about your products. I do accept books to review; you can email me about your book using the form above.

I have a strong ethical objection to ‘write your dissertation’ service providers and will not support their work in any way. I have an open moderation model, which means I allow all comments to appear and edit out inappropriate ones. If you encounter any material offering to write your thesis in the comments, know that I am behind on my pruning and I do not recommend you ever use these services.

I am an Amazon affiliate, but I only recommend products and people that I think are awesome. Please read the moderation policy page for more information and my recommendations page for book and software recommendations. Visit the resources page for my recommendations on quality, ethical support services like editors and coaches.

You are free to reproduce any posts from the Whisperer through the Creative Commons “Attribution-non commercial-sharealike” license. For commercial re-use of my content, you must contact me directly. Photos on this site are either owned by me, given with consent, copyright free and/or sourced from Morguefile or Unsplash.

Selected bits from my CV


  • Constructing Bodies: gesture speech and representation at work in Architecture classrooms, Ph.D, University of Melbourne, (2009). Winner of the John Grice award for best thesis in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
  • “Digital architectures and the presence of the virtual”, MPhil RMIT University, (2005).
  • Post-graduate certificate in Spatial Information Architecture, RMIT University (2001).
  • Certificate IV in training and assessment, RMIT University (1999).
  • Bachelor of Architecture (with Honours), RMIT University (Awarded 1997).

Awards, grants and prizes

  • Special commendation for leadership, Australian Council of Graduate Research, 2020.
  • Admitted as Vitae Senior Research Developer Fellow, 2019
  • Vice Chancellor’s award for innovation and excellence in service, November 2017.
  • CSIRO ‘On Prime’ commercialisation program prize, 2017 and 2018
  • Leader: $150 in Discovery Translation Funds from Canberra Innovation Network, 2017 – 2020 to develop PostAc
  • Leader: Department of Industry research grant to investigate the application of machine learning to explore PhD employability and the ‘hidden job market’ for graduates, 2015 – 2016. $80,000
  • Leader: ARUP engineering research grant to explore the integration of digital badges in engineering contexts, 2014 ($6000)
  • Leader: Office of Learning and Teaching seed grant to explore the use of digital badge technology in doctoral pedagogy, 2014 ($40,000)
  • Best concise paper, “Badge trouble: implementing digital badges at the Australian National University, ASCILITE conference, Wellington, 2014.
  • Leader: ANU gender institute grant to explore PhD student attrition, 2013 ($1500)
  • John Grice award for best thesis in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, 2009. ($3000)
  • Best paper award, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, 2008 ($3000)
  • Melbourne research scholarship, University of Melbourne, 2006-2008. ($24,000 PA)
  • Creative research industries CRC award for creative explorations, 2003. ($3000)


Book Chapters

Journal papers

Commissioned reports

Peer reviewed conference papers

Selected expert Commentary


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