Friday, 18 May 2012

Thesis forum #1

The first thesis forum of the term got off to a good start. It was great to see students in attendance from many different subjects and from both pre- and post-APG stages. Jeremy Bradley started the forum with a   highly engaging overview of his experience of publishing a monograph. Jeremy discussed his dealings with the publisher, the timescale involved in his project and the relationship between his book and his thesis. He also outlined the main options for publishing as a postgraduate student. Jeremy recommended the following web resources:
In addition to the options mentioned by Jeremy, keep an eye out for essay competitions run by societies or journals. There are often prizes involved and the valuable opportunity to turn your essay into a journal article. The website PhD2Published is also worth checking out for tips on publishing your work.

Duncan Stanley then introduced the support available from the Postgraduate Researcher Development Team in helping with the writing process. Further information on the workshops mentioned by Duncan can be found here. If you would like to book a one-to-one consultation, please use this booking form. Make sure to look out for confirmation of the first Cafe Research in early July. For those on Twitter, the latest #AcWri chat focused on 'Finding Motivation to Write' and you can find lots of useful tips within the summary.

After the guest speakers, students split into pre-APG and post-APG groups to share their thoughts on the writing process. Pre-APG students discussed how early you should start writing. Can it be too early? Is it helpful to write and revise from the very beginning? Some students felt this approach helped to form their thoughts and really pushed them to develop an academic writing style. It was acknowledged that a lot depended on the guidance of your supervisor. The importance of setting up systems for referencing and style at the start of the PhD was also discussed; this saves a lot of time and hassle at the end! Differences between disciplines were also acknowledged.

The post-APG group discussed different strategies for thinking and writing, whether linear or genitive. The pros and cons of writing and editing by hand or on screen were also mentioned. Difficulties faced were often linked to the nature of research material, particularly concerning the issues of material in translation.

The next session will welcome a number of guest speakers from different stages of the PhD process who will share their opinions and experience with you. If any current PhD students or early career researchers would like to get more involved with the thesis forum, your contributions would be very welcome. Please email Helen or pop in to the Reading Room on weekdays from 2-5pm.

Hope to see you on Tuesday 12th June!

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