About the blog: Who are the insiders?

Sometimes doing a research higher degree (like a PhD) can feel like entering a place full of secrets that other people know. We don’t necessarily know what the rules are, if we are working by them, or how to bend the rules when we need to. And the people who get it… it seems like magic.

This site looks behind the performative productivity, and shows you the tricks of the trade. I hope the posts here make you feel welcome, like you belong, like you are doing okay, and give you the tools and terms to thrive in academia so you can get on with doing awesome research and changing the world.

This site has lots of resources that I gathered, or developed, originally as part of my work as an Academic Skills Advisor for the University of Melbourne; and later as a Lecturer in the Research Education and Development team and then establishing the Learning Hub at La Trobe University, as well as a doctoral mentor and external supervisor. I’m delighted to share them with you!

All the pictures come from Unsplash, or I took them myself.

(Yes, this blog used to be called Research Degree Voodoo–which was a catchy name for a small side project when I started this blog back in 2012. Since then the blog, the world, and my practice have changed, and so it was time for a new name that better reflected who the blog is for.)


  1. So glad to stumble upon your post.
    I’m reading for a PhD at the University of Liverpool, translations and deconstructions very welcome.
    Thank you for sharing. Collaboration is supposedly the keystone of research, although so far, it does appear to be some sort of Secret Society for a Select few.
    Love the word shibboleth.
    The way it rolls around the mouth. And I saw this at the Tate, simple but profound….

  2. Hi Katherine, the content of the site is great. I am going to share it with my own students. Is there anyway you can add a widget to this site that will email me when you add new content? Thanks again.

      1. Can someone point me in the direction of the ‘subscribe’ tab please

      2. It’s called ‘Follow+’ sorry! It will magically appear on the right hand side in the bottom corner as a sort of ‘floating’ box.

  3. Hi Katherine, I’d like to subscribe to / follow your blog, but the ‘follow+’ floating box you mention doesn’t appear for me, nor can I find a subscribe function anywhere. I’m using Chrome on a Mac. Thank you for your wonderful resources and blog.

    1. Thank you for letting me know Lyndel! I’m about to update the blog and this is something I will definitely try to make easier! I find I have to scroll to the bottom of the page (past the search bar and word cloud) and then wait for a second for it to pop up for me… which is not great design!

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