Category Archives: starting the PhD

beginning the #phd – start writing at the start

Writing, and its alter ego, reading, are the backbone of academic work. The practices that make scholarship what it is.  In the PhD there are multiple places and purposes for writing.  We often focus on the final text, the thesis, … Continue reading

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#startingthePhD? managing expectations

If you are starting out on a PhD you are probably expecting it to be hard work. That’s not wrong. A doctorate isn’t easy – it’s an extended piece of work over a long period of time. It takes energy … Continue reading

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PhD – plan B

Before I came into higher education I had a brief stint as a civil service strategic planner. I got pretty interested in the process of scenario planning – that’s where you develop a narrative about something that could happen in … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, completion, PhD, Plan B, scenario planning, starting the PhD | Tagged , | 8 Comments

grow your own writing practice

You often hear writing described as a skill. And a skill is the capacity to do something well, to use expertise built up through practice. Skills are often seen as merely technical, but a skill requires specialist knowledge and often … Continue reading

Posted in artisan, connoisseur, PhD, practice, reading, routine, starting the PhD | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

starting the PhD – learning new vocabulary

Scholarly work often involves learning new words. You know this right? Sometimes it even seems that in order to be considered a scholar you have to speak in words no one else can understand. Well that’s the stereotype. But let’s … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, English language, language, starting the PhD, syntax, vocabulary, word bank | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

refining your research topic – starting the phd

Where do research topics come from? The research topic you have at the start of your PhD may come from work you did in your Masters. It may come from a professional or policy context, perhaps your own professional work … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, doctoral research, doctoral researcher, research design, research proposal, research question, research warrant, starting the PhD | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

starting the PhD – digging in to the reading

Most people begin their PhDs by reading. That’s because planned research needs to build on what’s already out there, using what’s been done in order to spell out the expected contribution to knowledge. There are various ways to start getting … Continue reading

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putting the search into research – starting the phd

Getting through a doctorate requires a finely honed information practice. You have to become pretty good at summarising, synthesising and categorising ‘stuff’ – otherwise known as ‘the literatures’.  But you also have to keep track of what you’ve read, and … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, keywords, literature review, literature reviews, research, searching, starting the PhD | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

managing the PhD – keeping a journal

The PhD is often stressful and trying. Nevertheless, most people do get through it. Many PhDers keep a journal to help work through the difficulties, challenges and worries that they experience.  Writing about the everyday can of course just be … Continue reading

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starting the phd – selling up and leaving home

Many doctoral researchers choose to leave home to do their research in other countries. They do so for many reasons, and there are many different stories to tell about their experiences. This is only one, by Louisa Penfold. It first … Continue reading

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