Can I help you in any way? Dissertation

Can I help you in any way? Dissertation“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on questions about requirements related to writing a thesis or dissertation. [Read more…]

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! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 24, 2019

"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes a variety of topics important to authors. We begin the collection with concepts of semantic gravity, using visuals, and personal safety. We then discuss PhD requirements for publishing and the process in New Zealand. Next we explore the use of social media for improving citations or sharing conference material. Finally we explore some of the changing landscape in academic publishing.

As you write this week, be true to yourself and your ideas. As once noted by Ray Bradbury, “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

#AcWriChat Tweet Chat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter every other Friday at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for a TweetChat on various aspects of academic writing.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]

Defensive scheduling: Increase your productivity & piece of mind

I am a big, big fan of protecting time in your schedule. I live and die by my Google calendar, because I can always access it, but on that calendar, you’ll find more than appointments.

There are two kinds of scheduling – appointment and defensive. Appointment scheduling is pretty self-explanatory – you have somewhere to be at a certain time, and so you put it in your calendar. These are the kinds of things that people usually use their calendar/schedule/planner for, and of course, it’s useful. It gets you to where you need to be when you need to be there!

But defensive scheduling is a little different. It’s about protecting time, rather than filling it up. You put something on your calendar so you WON’T give that time away to someone/something else. You claim your time before someone else does. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 12, 2019

"Plagiarism: Getting in trouble for something you didn't do."This week’s quote – “Plagiarism: Getting in trouble for something you didn’t do.” – comes from an unknown source, but as often seems to be the case, the articles in our collection from around the web seem to have kindly fallen in line with this academic pun.

While our collection doesn’t have anything to do with the true definition of plagiarism, it does have a lot to do with the concept of getting in trouble for something you didn’t do. Specifically, problems or challenges may arise if you don’t check an index properly, if you don’t adequately prepare for a thesis proposal defense, if you don’t accept the dissertation publication requirement, if you don’t follow a traditional research path, if you don’t include your PhD on your CV (or if you do as the article discusses), if you linger in between identities during a career transition, if you don’t properly market yourself for a job, or if you don’t plan your approach attending a large conference.

As you approach your writing efforts this week, challenge yourself to not only look at accomplishing the things on your to-do list, but also examine the things that never made it there – the things that you aren’t doing that may be making your efforts more difficult than they need to be. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 15, 2019

"Writing is a continuous discovery – a learning process." ~Amae DechavezThis week’s collection of articles from around the web starts with ways to develop the habit of writing and to get creative with your thesis or dissertation. Our next set of articles offer different writing styles including tiny texts, the uneven U paragraph structure, and a tour of Roald Dahl’s “writing hut”. We close with articles focused on social media-based digital portraits of academics, valuing all of your time, and continued discussion of open access publishing.

As Amae Dechavez once said, “Writing is a continuous discovery – a learning process.” This week, we encourage you to discover new information, new habits, and new ideas. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: November 23, 2018

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~Albert SchweitzerThis week’s collection of posts from around the web includes advice on writing for impact, ways to reduce fear of theory, changes in the affordability of textbooks, and an author’s perspective on self publishing from a dissertation. We also found articles on invited keynotes, more creative presentation delivery practices, and a new podcast for PhDs.

Albert Schweitzer said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” At TAA we are grateful for our members, followers, and supporters who light a flame within us every day. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Dear dissertation advisers: Ask for short drafts, use page limits

Ask for short drafts, use page limitsIf you want to give better feedback and also save yourself time, ask for short drafts and suggest the use of page limits (or word count limits). Both you and your students will benefit.

For any reasonably intelligent and diligent graduate student, the problem of having far too much to say is more common than the problem of not having enough to say and is the much more difficult problem to fix.

With someone who has not said enough, all that is needed is a question that leads to the necessary addition: “What about X?” It is much harder to give concise feedback to someone who has too much to say, not only is there more to cover, but there is greater potential for problems of focus to arise. [Read more…]

Dear dissertation advisers: Focus on the practical dimensions of the research project

Focus studentsGenerally speaking, this may be the least common of the “bad feedback” issues that I see, but it can be crushingly bad feedback. Many, many professors try to force their students to look at the practical dimensions of the project and try to get the students to do less. Almost every professor I ever worked with told me some variation of “do less,” and many students with whom I’ve worked have also been told to try to do less, so I know it’s no rare idea, but some students could really benefit from this advice.

I have two main suggestions here: 1. Get the students to reduce the scope of their project if possible and reasonable, and 2. Explicitly focus on the practical dimensions as a reason to make the project smaller in order to reduce the emotional impact of being told to do less.  [Read more…]