Category: Research Skills

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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Is it time to de-clutter your ‘to-be-read’ pile?

There is no need to hoard articles you don’t actually want to read, but feel like maybe you might one day. Or to cling onto things you read years ago, like a dragon on a glittering bed of pdfs. Having a bookshelf or a lot of pdfs in your cloud server is not scholarship, and it isn’t a personality. It’s just having a lot of paper. We don’t care if you own a lot of papers, we care about what your critical and expert opinion is of what you have read, and how you are using it to advance knowledge.

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Review is the process of taking your writing away from you

Each revision, taking on board questions and concerns and advice and changes, takes my work a little bit away from me. For me, this is a good thing! Unlike this blog post, which I wrote, editing and published myself (hence the fact that there are often typos!), academic writing for publication has been read and commented on and changed by multiple people over multiple stages. The article or book goes from being ‘my’ work, to being, in some way, ‘our’ work.

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Are you ‘inspired’ or are you just breathing?

Often, we feel we should wait to feel ‘inspired’ to start writing. We want to wait until we feel we are filled up with ideas and certainty and energy to write. And yet, as Boice found in his research, turning up regularly and ‘just writing’, whether or not you felt inspired or had time or were ready, could make someone nine times more productive.

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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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