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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

Shorter sentences, longer sentences

I hear a lot of conflicting advice on how to write sentences, and I bet you do too. Should you write short sentences, because they are easier to read? Should you write longer sentences because they sound more academic? Should you write a careful mix of sentences, because that creates good flow?

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The morality of writing ‘well’

When I talk to people about their writing, there’s a lot of guilt and shame about the way they write. They believe they write in the ‘wrong’ way, that other people’s writing processes are ‘good’ but theirs aren’t. You may feel this!

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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.

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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.

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My done-diary

In the post back in January about ‘Not forgetting everything you did last year’ I talked about a new done notebook strategy. Four months later, this is a quick update on how I’m using it right now.

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Are you in a team?

Not all groups of people working together are teams. And when your supervisor is not on your team, then you are definitely going to have a significant problem and you’ll need to think about how to tackle that.

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About the blog design: Introducing Ivy Tower

Last weekend, the blog underwent a serious overhaul, with a new look, new design, updated content and a sign-up for a newsletter if you want even more from Research Degree Insiders! I’m really lucky to have worked with Dr Bronwyn Eager of Ivory Tower who did all the design and technical work. This post tells you about Ivy Tower, about Bronwyn, and about our design process. As always, it’s about the insider tips!

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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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