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How is it possible to write?

Explaining things

This blog is partly from the common memory of what happens so often in doctoral vivas, when examiners say ‘why didn’t you explain that in your thesis?’ But it also comes from lots of situations when people just don’t tell you what you need to know. I was talking to …

How to write about data

Following my last blog, how should we write about data? There’s a chapter on this in my qualitative research book, plus another chapter on writer voice. Here though are some thoughts about basic principles. I’m writing about qualitative data; but I have also heard examiners make it clear that they …

Getting the data chapters written

Getting writing done seems often to be a major problem for postgraduate researchers. A common scenario is that half way through the programme excellent progress has been made – large parts of literature review and methodology chapters written, most of the data collected and analysed, and perhaps a third of …

Being focused

The space in the morning is such an important thing to have. It used to be the case that I could just get up and write for half an hour, and that set me up for the day. These days it seems more complex. And for a while I’ve understood …

‘In my mind’s eye’

‘In my mind’s eye’ is a common expression that I heard my parents’ generation use, which means, I think, imagining visual images or ‘seeing’ ideas and arguments. I experienced an excellent example of this recently at a seminar for doctoral research supervisors. Most of the event was quite remarkably paperless …

The value of painful review

Following the theme that something can be made of everything. My co-author and I have just finished revising another article. As is often the case when trying to break new ground, one of the reviews is negative. “What is the point of this paper? It doesn’t seem to make any …