Latest Blog Post

Are you a ‘Spreader’ or a ‘Stacker’?

Are you a ‘Spreader’ or are you a ‘Stacker’? In your writing time, do you prefer to spread it out by writing a little bit every day, or to set aside a ‘writing day’ and stack up all your writing blocks in one go?

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Succeeding in a Research Higher Degree

Doing a Research Higher Degree (like a PhD) is hard, but lots of people have succeeded and you can too. It’s easier if you understand how it works, this blog gives you the insider view.

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Recent Blog Posts

Catch up on the latest blog posts

What would it mean to make your writing sacred?

I don’t know that I think you should make your writing sacred. But I do think that you could and you might like to. In any case, this thought-experiment about ‘what would it mean to make your writing sacred’ may help you to think through what you do think about your writing, how you define its meaning and place in your life, and what habits and environments you put around it to help you get that thesis written.

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Little writing luxuries

I am a massive fan of writing luxuries. Somehow the beautiful pencil or the diffuser scent or the ideal snack makes an outsized difference to how excited I am to sit at my keyboard. Maybe it’s a bourgeois trick, and maybe it’s self-care, and maybe it works for me and anything that works is worth exploring.

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Writing is not a luxury | Writing is not the opposite of self-care

This one is going to be a lot of messy thinking aloud about the place of writing and self-care. There will be Latin and Greek! There will be Lorde and Foucault! If you don’t like theory, run very fast in another direction. If you do like theory–this will be a bloggy exemplar of thinking with, not a tight conclusion, and I’d love to talk to you about it!

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Can academic reading be healing?

So often academic reading is experienced as a chore, or an anxiety, or an extractive industry. You might skim, mine or categorise your reading. You might read to critique, to look for the gaps. Perhaps you are looking forward to the day when machine learning tools can do your reading for you. Perhaps you would like to keep up with the wider reading in your field, but don’t feel like you have time. All of these mean that we often have a fraught relationship with reading.

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The best snacks for writing

People like to have snacks while they write for so many different reasons. Once you have worked out why you snack, you can work out what specific things you would like to snack on.

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When TurnItIn is wrong about plagiarism

I have a lot of issues with TurnItIn and it’s researcher version Authenticate. (There is also a moral argument, which is very valid! but I’m just talking here about the fact that, as tools, they don’t really work). So it’s not surprising that TurnItIn is wrong about plagiarism’s past too.

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250th post on Research Degree Insiders

We’ve just passed a major landmark, with our 250th post here on Research Degree Insiders (about how to anonymise your research for peer review without erasing it!) Back in 2013, I started a tiny place on the internet to share the resources that I was talking about every day with students in one-on-one sessions .

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Resources

Books

For more insider tips, techniques and insights, check out my books.

Level Up Your Essays

Level Up Your Essays is the essential guide to essay writing for university students. Written by the people who mark your essays, it will show you step-by-step how to write high-quality essays that will get you top marks.

Your PhD Survival Guide

The ‘Insider Guides to Success in Academia’ offers support and practical advice to doctoral students and early-career researchers. These neat pocket guides fill specific and significant gaps in current literature. 

How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble

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.

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