Tag Archives: thesis

5 rookie researcher mistakes

As we get ready to start a new academic year, I (Clare) found this advice for new graduate students extremely helpful and accurate. Excellent suggestions relevant to all graduate students.

The Thesis Whisperer

One thing I have learned over the years I have been Whispering is, although the problems they face are similar, no two research students are alike. What works for one person may not work for another. For this reason I have developed a habit of ‘reverse advice’ lists, for example: “5 classic research presentation mistakes” “Are you getting in the way of your PhD?” , “5 ways to fail your PhD” and “5 ways to poster = fail”.

I like a reverse list because it highlights the problem more than the suggested solutions, leaving you free to choose your own.

This time of year I attend a lot of research student orientation sessions around RMIT, where I usually give my  ‘top five newbie mistakes’ talk. I tell students there’s no need to take notes because I have blogged it (yet another reason to keep up a blog by the way)…

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Writing = Thinking

Pooja DharamshiAs a doctoral student, learning to write academically has been a challenging process. My doctoral supervisor shared a piece of wisdom, but it was not until I began writing on a daily basis that I understood what she meant. “Writing is thinking,” she often said. As a novice writer, a blank page was a daunting and, often, an overwhelming sight. Through practice, I have learned that getting my ideas out on paper as soon as possible (without worrying about style, grammar, or clarity) is an invaluable strategy for me as it kick-starts the writing process. Once I see my ideas on the page, I begin to make more sense of them and begin the revision process. I have come across two helpful books related to academic writing: 1) Style: Lessons in clarity and grace (Williams, M. & Colomb, G., 2010) and 2) The clockwork muse: A practical guide to writing theses, dissertations, and books (Zerubavel, 2001). Both  booka emphasize and articulate my supervisor’s advice that writing is thinking. Zerubavel notes: “One of the most common misconceptions inexperienced writers have of writing is that it is simply a mechanical process of reproducing already-formed ideas on paper. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, writing is virtually inseparable from the process if developing our ideas.” (p. 48).  Pooja