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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 31, 2019

"A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses." ~James AllenThis week’s collection of articles from around the web provides insight into a variety of ways that academics can improve their success both in their individual academic efforts and those that require collaboration or presentation of work to others.

We begin with advice on managing the isolation that often exists in academe and balance that with tips for collaborative writing. We then look at creative ways to reach new audiences, how to avoid a bad first impression, and different tactics for presenting at conferences. Finally we explore concepts of showing up, working on your own timeline, and preparing for the next steps in you academic efforts.

As James Allen shared in his book, As a Man Thinketh, “A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.” This week, be limitless. Happy writing!

Managing isolation in academe

The nature of our work can prevent us from building meaningful connections with other people, writes Stephen J. Aguilar, who provides strategies for dealing with the issue.

Collaborative writing: Top ten tips

I love the variety: this year I’m collaborating with forensic scientists, education researchers, an anthropologist working in a sociology department, geographers, and comics professors. This enriches my professional life, as well as enabling me to produce far more work than I could do alone. I thought it might be useful to share some of the key things I’ve learned from collaborating across different disciplines and in different ways.

Create graphical abstracts to reach new audiences

With electronic delivery of scholarly journals and the increasing presence of academic blogs, our options for using visuals have expanded beyond black-and-white charts and images. Embedding links to photographs, video, or animations is one option for enlivening academic articles. Or, you can create visual or graphic abstracts to promote academic writings.

Don’t give your thesis examiner a bad first impression

The lesson here is simple. Don’t put your examiners off. Help your examiner browse. Steer them to focus on what matters – your research. Textual mistakes can easily distract examiner-readers from the substantive content. Present a clean text that meets the basic conventions.

On research presentations at conferences

Junior Prof describes how they ascribed to the common practice of simply reading their research paper to attendees — until they were forced to change their tactics for the better.

Do or do not. There is no try.

Now, as a lecturer in a researcher development unit, convening programs is a big part of my job. It is my everyday. The joy of room bookings, mailing lists, registrations, and constant event promotion campaigns – they are all mine! But before you feel that my life is just a big ball of enviable funstering (which, it must be said, it can be because I work with funsters), I think I should tell you about what makes me sad: When people don’t show up.

A PhD in 2 years… or less?

But how exactly does one go about completing a PhD by thesis only in less than 24 months? The answer lay in knowing exactly what I wanted my dissertation to address (the research problem and questions) and how (methodology).

PhD defenses around the world: A viva in linguistics from England

Twelve hours earlier I had been lying on the floor in our living room telling (more like wailing to) my husband, “I give up. I just can’t do it. I have nothing left inside me.” After that momentary pity party, I locked myself in my office and worked all night, checking, double-checking, triple-checking everything. Finally, just before the break of dawn, I submitted my thesis to my supervisor. I was done. Now on to the next step, wait for the date for my PhD defense, or viva.