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Digital Research Ethics – Some Considerations …

I hope from this week’s posts you can now see the different ways that social media applications can be used for your research and researcher development. Different applications and strategies will be applicable to different disciplines and research methodologies however, what will apply to everyone are digital research ethics. In this post I discuss the three major ethical implications raised in my PhD research – Informed Consent, Access & Data Protection: Read more

Lucy Wickens – Using Facebook for Networking & Research
Facebook Icons

As part of our week devoted to social networking here we present the second in the two part guest post by our intern Lucy Wickens on how to use Facebook for networking and research, you can see her previous post here.

Welcome back!

So hopefully by now you have successfully set up an account and are eager to become avid Face- bookers! Read more

Eloise Zoppos – The Virtual for the Professional: How Postgraduate Students can Manage their Professional Social Media Use

This is the second of our social media week posts. Here Eloise Zoppos examines how postgraduate students can manage their professional social media use. Eloise Zoppos is now embracing the virtual for the professional and you can find out more about her on her website http://eloisezoppos.com or follow her on Twitter @eloise_z.

Lately it seems like everything virtual is now normal: using Facebook to contact friends, reading the news online, calling people through Skype, online banking. Over the last few years, this rise in online activities has slowly begun to seep into the academic world with online conferences, virtual internships and online resumes (hosted on both LinkedIn and personal websites) just to name a few. This got me thinking about whether as a postgraduate student interested in getting published I should be investing more time into using social media for professional purposes. Read more

Using Social Media for Research & Researcher Development

This week we are running a series of posts on different aspects of social media use in relation to conducting research and for researcher development. It appears to be particularly relevant as the Wall Street Journal Health published an article yesterday (25th April 2011) that illustrated the value of social media in research:

A new clinical trial found that lithium didn’t slow the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease, but the findings released Sunday also showed that the use of a social network to enrol patients and report and collect data may deliver dividends for future studies. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #40

Weekly Wisdom #40 Don’t give your ideas away and let someone publish before you; publicise the outline of your book, not the details!

Tim Rutherford-Johnson – Writing outside the Comfort Zone

This week Tim Rutherford-Johnson is looking at writing outside the comfort zone. Tim is an  academic copy-editor and proofreader with a plan to help writers feel more comfortable. (It starts with cake.)

It’s sad but true: even if the central chapters of a PhD thesis – the home of the research itself – are strong, things like the literature review, the introduction, the historical background and the conclusion are often written to a noticeably lower standard. When I’m proofreading, these framing chapters are often where I spend most of my time. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #39

Weekly Wisdom #39 Assess the extent to which publishing a book now will support your career plans over all!


Inger Mewburn – Seven Steps to Creating a Journal Article: Part Two

Today we present the next part of Dr Inger Mewburn’s series on ‘seven steps to creating a journal article’ (you can recap on the last part here). This post focuses on how to write your abstract.

This is the next post in my series on how to write a journal article. Previously I have talked about the importance of developing a publishing strategy and deciding what paper genre you wish to use. The next step is to craft an abstract for your unwritten paper. An abstract compresses the purpose, findings and implications of your paper into a paragraph. Developing skills in abstract writing are necessary for any budding academic as you will be often asked to do them for conferences, seminars and so on. A good abstract ‘sells’ the idea of the paper to the committees for such events – or even to yourself. Writing abstracts is an easy skill to learn, but is often not explicitly taught with many of us just picking it up by osmosis as we go on with other academic work.

Read more

Maria Rainer – “Lay Down Sally” & Other Grammar Errors

This week we explore something very close to my heart, grammar. Grammatical errors were something my PhD Supervisor constantly berated me for. Here Maria Rainier discusses what you should think about before pressing ‘enter’. Maria is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and what it takes to succeed as a student taking a bachelors degree program remotely from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

There’s little more embarrassing or discrediting than being caught with a grammatical error in an otherwise pristine paper being considered for—or has already undergone—publication.  The green squiggly lines in Microsoft Word are no help, and Spell Check can’t correct the misuse of words like affect versus effect (which will be discussed below).  Instead, you’re better off knowing in advance what some common problem areas are and how to tackle these grammatical mishaps. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #38

Weekly Wisdom #38 Adjust your writing style for your new audience (the one that isn’t examining your PhD)!

The Road from Dissertation to Book Has a New Pothole: the Internet

An article on The Chronicle of Higher Education called: The Road From Dissertation to Book Has a New Pothole: the Internet raises some important points about whether a thesis that exists online can still be published.

The important thing to consider is  that most publishing has to function as a viable business model. If a thesis has been freely available online, why would anyone buy it? And you need to bear in mind that when your book is sold, it’s likely to be funding not it’s own production, but that of the next book in line, so you’ve got more weight on your shoulders than just your career.

That said, as Gary Hall elegantly argues in Digitize This Book, these business models are being rapidly redeveloped by forms of online content sharing. So for example, your work might reach a bigger audience by being freely available online and this might become a surer route to career success.

Also, remember that presses seldom publish a thesis as is. We have a series coming up by Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD, that explains how much redrafting must go on before your average thesis is even remotely book-shaped.

Or you can take my route and work on a book that expands one element of your thesis and maybe come back to tackling the whole thing later (losing that element if need be). Or just have done with your thesis altogether, see it as a ladder you climbed to get this far and then kick it away and start on the next one…

Hello! We would like to publish your thesis … (Note of Caution)

Isn’t that what we all want to hear? Well yes and no as it depends who wants to publish it. Most PhD students I know have received at least one email with the exciting title ‘We want to publish you thesis’ or words to that effect and the follows this kind of line …

Dear ….

I am Joe Bloggs and I work for (insert name of random company here). We would like to offer you the possibility of making your academic paper / thesis available as printed book.

I would appreciate if you could confirm your interest in our publishing house and I will be glad to provide you with detailed information about our services.

I am looking forward to receiving a positive response from you

Read more

Lauren Bailey – A Procrastinator’s Guide to Finishing Your Book on Schedule

This weeks advice on how to finish your book on schedule comes from Lauren Bailey. Lauren is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about online colleges. Questions and comments can be sent to: blauren99 @gmail.com.

Submitting a proposal and getting it accepted can be difficult enough, but the real work comes along when you must deliver on your promise and complete the book on schedule. Whether you are publishing your dissertation or are writing a different work related to your research and expertise, it pays to nip procrastination in the bud and have a plan for finishing your book on schedule. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #37

Weekly Wisdom #37 Don’t set up a resource to help other people get published while working on your own first book. There isn’t time for both!

Postgraduates and the Privatization of English Higher Education

Just found this great article by Casey Brienza and Ernesto Priego from last November called: Postgraduates and the Privatization of English Higher Education

It starts: “On November 3, British universities minister David Willetts announced a proposal to raise the basic tuition fee cap for all UK and EU citizens to £6000, or up to £9000 under certain conditions, as early as 2012. This announcement comes in the wake of the Browne Report, which proposes to eliminate the block teaching grant received by all English universities for all non-STEM subjects. This, argues Stefan Collini in the London Review of Books, constitutes a de facto forced privatization of the university system.”

It’s well worth a read!