Blog

Research Degree Voodoo

Boy in voodoo fetish market
Lome, Togo
by Dominik Schwartz

So, I don’t know about you, but embarking on an academic career felt like an entry into a foreign country.  Not just like crossing over the border from, I don’t know, France to Belgium; but entering a strange and difficult land.  A land that, it turned out, not only had a different language and a different kind of currency (cultural capital, anyone?), but a whole range of customs and taboos that I didn’t know.

I thought I’d lived here for a long time.  I’d been a student, and a good student.  I’d done an MA.  I knew how to use a library, how to talk about post-Marxisms, how to use footnotes.  But no, there was a whole load of stuff I didn’t yet know how to do, and no-one who was there could tell me how to do it either.  They threw you in at the deep end, and you had to sink or swim.  When you ‘got it’, you succeeded.  If you didn’t get it…

Anyway, since then I successfully gained my own PhD in three years, helped hundreds of research students to gain theirs in the UK and Australia.  I have asked scores of students and academics basic questions:

  • How do you write?
  • What do you mean by critical engagement?
  •  Do you ever use Wikipedia? (really?)
  • How do you take notes?
  • Do you read everything in the book you are citing?

Here are the secrets, the tricks behind the hocus pocus, the guidebook, the map, the dictionary to this other land. This is Research Degree Voodoo–Uncovered.

SHARE
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook

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.

Contact

Related Posts

Proactive communication: newsletters and other stories

If you feel overwhelmed by your inbox and meeting demands, you are likely to be dealing with the challenge of reactive communication. That is, every day, you open your inbox and find tens or even hundreds of requests for information and tasks. Like many people, you may start the day with a sense of dread.

Read More

The “Writing Oxygen” and other tales from inside a writing house

Writing has technical aspects, sure. You need skills, and training. And you need to be organised and disciplined about keeping up with deadlines and juggling projects. And writing has physical challenges, you have to sit and use your back and wrists and neck and eyes. But, you also bring your weird, inner, non-rational self to the desk when you write. The inner self that has views about what music you can listen to, or that you need to enact your writing rituals before typing a word. There are good reasons why you might like what you like, but a lot of it just is personal preference, and that is totally a great reason to take it seriously.

Read More

Get the latest blog posts