Two weeks ago today, the Postgraduate Researcher Online Writing Summer School 2020 (#PROWSS2020) began. Find out what went on from Kathryn Twigg, a PGR from the Shakespeare Institute.
#PROWSS2020 was an invaluable research experience. It comprised a week of workshops targeting different areas of postgraduate writing and was accompanied each day by a 2-hour Shut Up and Work. After hearing wonderful things about previous Writing Summer Schools (and attending last year’s myself), I was an eager participant in the 2020 sessions.
COVID-19 has affected us all (for better and for worse) and university life has not escaped the dramatic changes the pandemic has triggered. With libraries and study spaces closed and opportunities to work from home being sporadic at best, #PROWSS2020 provided a much-needed opportunity for focused work. Continue reading “#PROWSS2020 in pyjamas: this year’s writing summer school”
In the next of our occasional series, Writing Skills Advisor Helen Williams talks about refreshing existing writing as a rewarding and important step on the road to your thesis.
In these uncertain times it’s nice to have a few constants and, whilst working at my desk overlooking my garden, I’ve been reminded that the changing of the seasons is one of these.
As always, spring has sprung, and this put me in mind of other spring-related traditions that roll around each year. One of these that feels quite apt right now is spring cleaning; what better time than now to do all those tasks that get pushed to one side and ignored in favour of more ‘urgent’ ones?
You may be using this time to charge ahead with writing up and churning out new chapters, which is great, but if you’ve ground to a bit of a halt or want some variety, the following are some good ‘housekeeping’ activities that will pay dividends later on when your schedule may be getting back to normal (most of these assume that you have drafted some work already; if you need to start writing but are struggling, check out my previous post on this).Continue reading “Helen writes: spring-clean your thesis”
Peter Hancox, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and PGR Lead for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, gives his advice to those for whom the lockdown means starting to tackle your thesis…
That day has come. You can put it off no longer. You can’t even go into the lab under the pretence that you just need to do a little more work.
You must start to write your dissertation.
The experience of writing a dissertation can be lonely. After all, it is your dissertation and no one else can (or should) write it for you. It’s a bit like being at a social distance from your colleagues.
In the third of an occasional series, Writing Skills Advisor Helen Williams talks about how reading previous theses can contribute to your writing practice.
If you saw last month’s posts about perseverance and The Conversation, you’ll have picked up on the fact that November was #AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month) – an annual, month-long, communal attempt by academics at all career stages to focus on their writing. In thinking about what can be most helpful in both facilitating and improving writing however, I keep coming back to how important reading is as part of this process.
First of all, take a break. Away from your thesis, and away from your research. This well-earned holiday is both a chance to reconnect with yourself as more than just the author of your thesis, and to reconnect with family and friends that you may have been neglecting recently. Importantly, this also gives you a new perspective on your thesis for when you return to it to prepare forthe next milestone in your journey, namely your viva.
The University of Birmingham has extended their licence agreement for EndNote, so this post about using reference management software from Lynne Harris, Research Skills Advisor, will be equally useful for new and continuing postgraduate researchers alike.
Why do I need to use referencing software?
Keeping an accurate record of all the material you have consulted in the course of your research is essential and can help you to avoid plagiarism. Referencing software is an excellent way to manage your research literature. EndNote is the referencing software recommended to researchers as it is suitable for most subject disciplines, has functionality that is especially useful to researchers, and is fully supported by the University. Other software is available (e.g. Mendeley) so find the option that works best for you.
Much like keeping a ball in the air without using your hands/arms, it can feel like it requires constant effort and concentration to stay up-to-date with the latest research literature in your area. In this post we’ll look at some of the useful tools that are out there to help make this that little bit easier.
Last week was the PGR Writing Summer School 2019, and Eric Ngang, a Global Challenges Scholar in Law, was there.
If you want to get top tips on how to navigate your PhD journey irrespective of the stage at which you are in the process, the PGR Writing Summer School is the ideal opportunity. I took part in the 2019 Summer School and it has been the most invaluable opportunity for me to reflect on my PhD journey after one year.