patter’s year

Patter had a bit of a revamp this year.

Early on, the blog acquired a new URL,, and shucked off all gratuitous wordpress advertising. Much later, the signature image of desk and coffee cup was replaced with the current pic – an angle on the pile of author copies of my books. At the same time, I also added some gratuitous photos – of myself and some of the books – to the various pages associated with the blog.

I also changed the way that I use images to support posts. I now try to have a picture  associated with every post. Quite often this involves the use of an incongruous caption on an image, a small injection of something approaching humour. I’ve also used more vimeo clips and some slides.  I do intend to keep this multimedia approach going, and I hope to add even more variety this coming year.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve started a patter facebook page so that people can have posts sent to their fb timeline if they want. I will try to do something on linkd-in next year if I can bring myself to do it. I have some residual qualms about spreading myself all over every bit of social media – how much is too much? Perhaps I am kidding myself that by only engaging with a few platforms I’m not really into ruthless self promotion.

All those words. This year roughly 120,000 of them. That's nearly two books worth.

All those words. This year roughly 120,000 of them. That’s nearly two books worth.

I managed to use bits and pieces of some of the 488 patter posts in Barbara’s and my most recent writing book, Detox your writing, coming soon in Routledge. However, there is such a lot of material buried away in the patter archives. A lot. I am still thinking about how to make this more organised and more available.

The most popular readers’ post on patter is (still) the one which addresses aims and objectives, followed closely by methods and methodology, thesis conclusions and the term doctoral ‘student’.  My personal face post this year was the one about Profzillas. We all know at least one of them. I’d like to develop a whole academic menagerie, but I seem to have got a bit stuck after Prof Pinnocchio. I have to be a very careful, of course, that these caricatures don’t get too related to any individual, or I could be in big trouble.

I’ve begun a bit of a series of posts about things to do during your PhD, and I’m seriously  interested in guest posts on this topic. I really want people to write about and share their personal experiences. I’m not so interested in advice per se – the ten handy hints format – although Ive done a bit of this myself ( blush). There are lots of other blogs out there which take this approach and it’s not really what I want to focus on. I’d like to think that patter is mainly a place for sharing experiences and of course, building up a repertoire of strategies that you can choose from.

Patter remains a personal, largely pedagogical project. I’m always delighted to hear from people who have found bits of it useful, this helps me to keep going. And I’m thinking, during a bit of down time over the holiday period, what else to do with the blog next year. I’m wondering about more reviews of interesting bits of research and/or books. Maybe I can do some more work on my writing course slides and develop some of my own YouTube clips as well. I wonder about some interviews with academics – although I certainly don’t want to duplicate what already exists. I’m always pleased to have questions as they often lead to things I haven’t thought about before. I’m also very happy to have suggestions for things to cover – hint, hint.

And I am thinking of going back to one post a week. I’ve thought about this before and not yet done it, but I might… I might. 


About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
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6 Responses to patter’s year

  1. The MOOC with 13,000 participants on surviving a PhD (Thesis Whisperer) demonstrated the global volume of PhD students in search of suggestions/support/sharing/sympathy. I find your and Inger’s blogs invaluable for tried and tested solutions to my research problems. The pedagogical relationship between student : supervisor : blogs may be an interesting topic for research.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. imprografika says:

    Thank you Pat. Another great post.
    “I am thinking of going back to one post a week”.
    What about me/us who admire and are inspired by your writing attitude?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Baines says:

    Like Lemexie, I have found your blog invaluable during my PhD. You and Thesis Whisperer are two of my main sources of advice and inspiration – long may you both continue to flourish.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bronwyn Labrum says:

    Wow. Quite a year. I really enjoy your blog even though I am about to move from a university to a museum. Happy New Year and all power to that keyboard and thank you for your sage advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wanderwolf says:

    Hello Patter, thanks for this post, and everything you’ve written on your blog this past year! I’m not a PhD student yet, but I’ve printed out quite a few of your posts to take with me when I do start somewhere in Fall 2016. I look forward to seeing what you produce in 2016. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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