Tag Archives: academic writing

Check for ‘code words’ – revising your writing

Check for ‘code words’ – revising your writing

It is not uncommon for doctoral writers to get supervisor feedback saying they need to unpack an idea. But what does this unpack really mean – and how does a writer get in a situation where they have something that needs to be unpacked? Well. Let me start with the last question first of all. How do […] … learn more→

An academic’s guide to writing well

An academic’s guide to writing well

Academics are often accused of writing unreadable, jargon-laden prose. This is unfair. In my experience, academic writers are almost never wilfully obscure, and write perfectly well. But it is true that academic writing can feel uncongenial and effortful to read. We don’t do it on purpose. Most of us would love to write in a […] … learn more→

Are there only four kinds of writers?

Are there only four kinds of writers?

Self-help books are my secret shame. I can’t resist them, especially if I find myself in an airport bookstore. The siren call of the self-help section means I inevitably board the plane clutching two more paperbacks (which I have no room for at home). My latest secret shame is Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The four tendencies: the indispensable […] … learn more→

Writing regularly – matching time and task.

Writing regularly – matching time and task.

You’ve all heard the advice that it’s good to write regularly. Perhaps it was phrased this way – productive writers write a lot because they write regularly. You’ve been told that you can get a lot done if you just write every day. That it’s no good hanging around waiting for the next big gap in your […] … learn more→

Not letting go of the text

Not letting go of the text

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I had any advice for someone who struggled to let go of their writing – they wrote but then it was really difficult to send the writing off to their supervisor. And clearly, this was an issue. Sending the stuff off is part and parcel of […] … learn more→

Why it’s important to be exactly certain about how much you don’t know

Why it’s important to be exactly certain about how much you don’t know

“Your academic writing trouble and how to fix it” was born of our frustration at reading the strange comments supervisors sometimes write on thesis drafts. Sometimes academic feedback makes even less sense than the text that inspired it. In this book we work backwards from these hard to interpret supervisor comments to tell you want […] … learn more→

Your MC for this paper is…

Your MC for this paper is…

Academic writing often needs an MC. Yes MC, a Mistress/Master of Ceremonies. The MC, or emcee, is an official host. A compere. At a public event, say a festival, their job is to introduce the acts – speakers or singers or DJs or bands. The emcee has to know enough about the performers to say […] … learn more→

Why is academic writing so hard

Why is academic writing so hard

Academic writing is a complex business. And it’s that complexity that makes it tricky. When you sit down to write a thesis, book or paper you start off with: material that comes from a well designed project a defensible analysis and possibly, depending on discipline, a cogent theoretical explanation a good grip on the relevant literatures […] … learn more→

Tightening up your sentences – cut the bloat

Tightening up your sentences – cut the bloat

We all know what bloat is. If something is bloated it is swollen, puffed up, flabby, distended, enlarged. Right now, we probably associate bloat with eating too much over the festive season. But bloat also happens in academic writing. A lot of academic writing is on the bloated side. You can pick up almost any […] … learn more→

Writing the thesis – work, moves and structure

Writing the thesis – work, moves and structure

Before you start to wrestle your material into a thesis structure, it’s helpful to consider the work that the thesis has to do, and the moves that ensure the work is done. Once you understand the work and the moves, you can think more strategically about the thesis structure. The thesis work The thesis, like […] … learn more→