The TextExpander guide for academics

Type Less. Eat more ice-cream. Welcome to the Mewburn-Downs guide to using TextExpander. Here’s the promise of this book in a nutshell: Without working any harder, you can save time with TextExpander by typing less, but still producing the same number of words. TextExpander is an app that runs in the background on your computer; ...continue reading.

The uneven U

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 ...continue reading.

Latest articles

June 29, 2010

In praise of the humble whiteboard

One way a humble whiteboard can help you think more clearly about your research

13 Comments
June 25, 2010

Are you addicted to your PhD?

On the tram this afternoon a friend commented that learning is a very inefficient process. I think this is especially true for PhD students, partly because it is so easy to get distracted. When I was doing my PhD I suspended my facebook account –  but the fridge was still a great source of distraction.continue reading.

20 Comments
June 23, 2010

Where do good ideas come from?

A PhD thesis or dissertation is supposed to make a “significant and original contribution to knowledge”. This can create a lot of angst amongst research students, partly because originality is often defined, but rarely talked about in actionable ways. In “How to get a PhD”, Phillips and Pugh set out 16 ways to be originalcontinue reading.

10 Comments
June 21, 2010

What shiny should I buy?

Apple are geniuses at showing us how technology can be used in novel ways within our everyday lives. The latest and greatest of all these gadgets is, of course, the iPad. I have heard all sorts of uses they have been put to: as an ebook reader, as a toy for the kids, as acontinue reading.

14 Comments
June 16, 2010

5 ways to kill your darlings

Sooner or later each thesis writer finds themselves holding the knife – the virtual one of course. Taking a leaf out of Stephen King’s book – how can we murder our darlings?

16 Comments
June 14, 2010

Why it might be good to admit you made mistakes – or learn French

What do academics think academics should be able to do? How can PhD students use this to help them to write a great thesis?

2 Comments
June 10, 2010

How to write a lot

PhD students have to do a lot of a lot of reading. One of our philosophies at the Whisperer is to ease that burden by doing some of the reading for you. With that in mind I present our first book review.

38 Comments
June 9, 2010

Learning from ‘Avatar’

Why is a thesis text like Sam Worthington in Avatar? It used to be that all you had to do to become a doctor is know everything. Now it’s much harder.

5 Comments
June 8, 2010

A thesis workout schedule

Is doing a thesis like sticking to an exercise program? If so, how can you do your thesis Lance Armstrong style?

16 Comments
June 7, 2010

Thoughts on the three minute thesis

This year RMIT is taking part in the three minute thesis competition – the first time it’s gone national. Running the competition had all sorts of unexpected benefits for us

3 Comments
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