Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 8, 2019

"I haven't finished writing my book, but it's on top of my list" ~Celeste AlexanderThis week’s collection of posts from around the web includes practical advice from past experiences balanced with ideas to move us forward. We start with practical advice on mistakes to avoid when doing your PhD, what nobody tells you about ‘minor corrections’, strategies to manage work and enjoy life, and reviewing literature to situate it in a research tradition. We then share some articles with new ideas for mapping a text (beyond the traditional mind map or concept map), addressing global imbalances in scholarly communication, and training PhD graduates for jobs outside of academia.

Celeste Alexander once said, “I haven’t finished writing my book, but it’s on top of my list.” This week focus on that item on top of your list. What can you do to move closer to crossing it off? Happy writing!

Avoid these 10 mistakes during your Ph.D.

For the last few years, I’ve been consistently giving you my best advice. Today, I will give you a list of what not to do during your PhD years. Without me blabbering away with too much of an introduction, here are the 10 mistakes you should avoid when doing your PhD.

What nobody tells you about ‘minor corrections’

If you’re lucky, corrections are simply typos, formatting issues etc. So far, so good. Any thesis will inevitably contain some of those, and you’d definitely want to correct them before submitting the final version. Corrections of that nature can legitimately be considered ‘minor’. But corrections of that kind are only a small part of the story. Much more problematic, in my experience, are corrections that, although still considered ‘minor’, involve re-thinking and re-writing. Nobody warns you that you’ll need to re-gather your energy and brainpower to tackle them. That, for me, turned into a struggle for which I was completely unprepared.

Leveling up in saying ‘no’

To aim for balance and a good life (not just surviving), I use a few methods that I’ve been trying haphazardly over the years. They’ve now crystallised into a good set of strategies for me to manage work and enjoy life – and manage life and enjoy work (seriously – it’s true). Here’s how I’m managing my year so far.

Methods literature review

A literature review shows the reader where your research is coming from, and how it is situated in relation to prior scholarship. Attention is necessarily given to literature about the research problem, which places the study in one or more disciplines. To situate the study within a scholarly milieu, we must also review literature about methods, methodology, and theory. This is a focus for March on MethodSpace: reviewing literature to situate it in a research tradition.

Mapping a text

A states-of-writing map – like this illustration – could have its uses in a shared discussion about writing. Writing a book, a thesis, a journal article in particular. None of these texts are straightforward. Most writers can benefit from sharing some of the common highs, lows and ways we‘ve found to get a piece of writing done. And maps might help the conversation.

Leveling the playing field: How to address global imbalances in scholarly communication

How can the global scholarly communications community address economic and infrastructure imbalances that prevent researchers from the Global South from achieving equality?

Industry training must become the norm

With simply not enough academic careers for the high numbers of Ph.D. graduates, universities must equip students for a variety of careers outside higher education, argues Amy Loriaux.