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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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‘Taking the pins out’: removing extra signposting in the final edit

Draft chapters include a lot of ‘pins’–phrases that help us keep the chapters connected to one another and to our main argument while we are still constructing the book. ‘As we argued in the previous section’ or ‘see Chapter 2 for more on this’ are pins that hold different parts of the book together. But in the final version, you only need to signpost if your writing is changing direction or coming to a stop. Then it’s time to take the pins out.

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A loving kindness meditation for your writing

But how do you shift from awareness to positivity? Sometimes reflecting on my situation just highlights how hard everything is and how tired everyone feels.
It can help to move from rehearsing how badly you feel, to articulating a beneficial wish for everything and and everyone around you, including yourself.

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How do you ‘break down’ a big project so you meet your goals?

I cannot believe, after all my to-do list and planning your time blog posts, I’ve never actually talked about how to break down a big project, set goals and then plan to meet them: an essential aspect of doing a PhD thesis… Partly because when we teach this in a workshop we know there is so much diversity in the ways that different people achieve the same outcome

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How to write a paragraph

Paragraphs are parts of sections, and a section is like a flight of stairs, taking you efficiently where your thesis needs to go. A new way to think about paragraphs as a ‘step in your argument’.

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A PhD is a compromise

A PhD is often inspired by a particular vision–either your own passion project or a passion project of a more senior researcher. When you pitched the thesis to funders and your faculty, the project was going to be a sweeping, world-changing, life-changing research idea that would proceed without any hitches. And then you have to deal with real life.

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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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