The Thesis Whisperer is a ‘not for loss’ blog which is maintained by me (Dr Inger Mewburn) in my own time, with my own money.
Maintaining a free, quality blog, year after year, is not cost free – I must buy equipment, books and, sometimes, expert help. I work full time, so being able to throw money at problems is critical to keeping the whole show on the road. If you want to help out and keep Thesis Whisperer on the air, here’s some ways you can help.
The best way to show your love for the Thesis Whisperer is to consider becoming a $1 a month Patreon. Have a look on my Patreon page to see what special extras you’ll get if you subscribe for $12 a year. Don’t like Patreon? I get it. People often write to me when they finish, thanking me for all the work and asking how they can contribute in another way, so I have set up a PayPal Me account, to take small donations.
If you are shopping for books for your PhD you can help me by buying something I recommend on Amazon. My highly recommended page contains reviews and links various books and products I use in my work. There is also a Big List of Excellent books for your PhD, in the form of a Google document that I continuously update as products come on the market. Buying books via the links I provide gives me a small contribution (5-10 cents), but if enough people do it, the combined purchasing power adds up to a whole new book. I then review that new book on the Thesis Whisperer: it’s an academic circle of life thing.
The Thesis Whisperer blog will always be free, but I have collected blog posts and advice in book form so the advice easier to digest and use. If you buy a book I’ve written, or co-written, I get small royalty cheque once a year. My most popular books are listed below, or you can visit my Amazon Writer Page for more information.
How to Fix your academic writing trouble
My latest book was written with my excellent colleagues Shaun Lehmann and Katherine Firth of the Research Insiders Blog. Here’s the back blurb:
This clear and accessible guide to decoding academic feedback will help you interpret what your lecturer or research supervisor is really trying to tell you about your writing – and show you how to fix it. We will help you master a range of techniques and strategies to take your writing to the next level and along the way you’ll learn why academic text looks the way it does, and how to produce that ‘authoritative scholarly voice’ that everyone talks about. This book is an easy to use resource for postgraduate students and researchers in all disciplines, and even professional academics, to diagnose their writing issues and find ways to fix them. This book would also be a valuable text for academic writing courses and writing groups, such as those offered in doctoral and masters by research degree programmes.
You can buy the book from the US amazon store here and from the UK Amazon store here (which is the only place it is available on Kindle for some reason… I’m working on this with the publisher). The cheapest way for Australian readers to buy this book is straight from the publisher, see link here. If the book is out of stock in Australia, or you live in a country which doesn’t stock it, you can write directly to me on email@example.com – I have a stash and can arrange to sell you a copy and ship it.
If you enjoyed this book, the band is back together, writing a new one for undergraduates and masters students called ‘Level up your Essays’, which will be available through New South Press next year. We have a mailing list for book news here.
How to be an academic:
‘How to be an academic: The Thesis Whisperer reveals all’ is a collection of my writing about academia published through NewSouth Press. There’s a rather nice review on the Australian Review of Books and you can also read a review of the book from the Campus review.
I requested that the price be kept as low as possible because I am well aware that many PhD students – and working academics for that matter – are on low incomes. At the moment it’s around $10 AUD on Kindle.
If you’d like a paper copy, you can buy it from a number of places. The paperback edition can be purchased direction from the NewSouth website (they can deliver internationally), or from Amazon in your country or from Booktopia.
If you live in Australia, you can purchase it from the co-op bookstore on your campus or other good retailers, like Paperchain or Readings.
I’m excited to share that How to be an Academic (a slightly different version) has now been published in the US as ‘Becoming an Academic: how to get through grad school and beyond’ through Johns Hopkins Press! This version is also available in bookstores in the UK. Here is the back blurb (which I love):
Welcome to the university, where the Academic Hunger Games, fueled by precarious employment conditions, is the new reality: a perpetual jostle for short-term contracts and the occasional plum job. But Inger Mewburn is here to tell you that life doesn’t have to be so grim. A veteran of the university gig economy, Mewburn—aka The Thesis Whisperer—is perfectly placed to reflect on her experience and offer a wealth of practical strategies to survive and thrive.
In Becoming an Academic, Mewburn, who has spent over a decade helping PhD students succeed in graduate school, deftly navigates the world of the working academic. Offering tips and tricks for survival, she touches on everything from thesis and article writing and keeping motivation alive to time management, research strategies, mastering new technologies, applying for promotion, dealing with sexism in the workplace, polishing grant applications, and deciding what to wear to give a keynote address. These essays are funny, irreverent, and spot on; Mewburn peppers her writing with wit and wisdom that speaks to graduate students.
Constructive, inclusive, hands-on, and gloves-off, this book is a survival manual for aspiring and practicing academics, as well as for students who are considering whether to stay in academia. A field guide to living in the academic trenches without losing your mind (or your heart), Becoming an Academic confirms that—no matter what your experience is in academia—you are not alone.
The best way to buy this version of the book is via the US Amazon store here
The second edition of my self published book ‘How to tame your PhD’ is available from Amazon as an ebook for $9.99 US – now with no typos! The ebook is set at price point carefully calibrated to match a cheap lunch in my home town of Canberra, Australia because I know that many PhD students are on a budget.
‘How to Tame your PhD’ is explicitly designed around the ‘pain points’ of writing a PhD thesis. The second edition is nearly a standard academic book length, around 38,000 words. It contains what I think is the most pertinent advice for actually producing your thesis or dissertation in the shortest time possible. There is only one post in this book that is re-published in “How to be an academic”. The two books together are a good representation of the back catalogue of the blog.
I believe in the advice in this book because I followed it myself. I did do my thesis in 3 years while working two days a week for most of it – and won my faculty award at the end. On those two days I wasn’t doing my thesis I taught PhD students. This experience deeply informed my teaching style. I believe that a thesis can be written in 3 years and that it doesn’t have to kill you.
If print is your thing, there’s a paperback version available from Lulu.com for $14.95 (around 10 pounds sterling and $17 USD) – a price I hope will fit into most PhD student budgets.
If you are in the UK, you can find ‘Tame your PhD’ in the UK Amazon store. If you live in a place where you do not have access to the book through your local book stores or online, please write to me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can arrange to send you a copy.
I have put “How to Tame your PhD” on Amazon without digital rights management (DRM) so that you can convert it into any format that suits you using a program like Calibre. I would prefer people not to pirate it, but I suppose they can if they want to.
But I hope you wont.
Co-authored and edited books
I assisted in the publication and editing of the “Postgraduate Study in the Australia: Surviving and Succeeding” which is presently only available online.
If you’re interested in my more ‘serious’ academic work, check out the upcoming book I have edited with Deborah Lupton and Pat Thomson. The Digital Academic: Critical Perspectives on Digital Technologies in Higher Education. Published through Routledge. For a taste of the book here is a book chapter I wrote about PhD student blogging with Pat Thomson.