Some of the posts on this blog offer general advice to researchers, whether aspiring or existing PhD students or early-career academics. I’ll continue to add to this collection every so often. Much of the content has a social science slant, since I’m a social scientist: but it also raises general questions and discusses broader themes, which may be helpful to all researchers. Some of the posts also come with infographics that students or researchers can download. Click the titles to access the posts.
Writing a PhD proposal (social sciences)
This post sets out a suggested framework for a PhD research proposal, with details and reflections on what should be in each section. It may also be helpful to early-career scholars writing grant applications. The post was intended for social science colleagues, but those in the arts and humanities or natural sciences might also find it useful.
Getting through your dissertation
This is an infographic offering some general tips on getting through the process of dissertation writing – suitable for MA or PhD students, or perhaps even for undergraduates (the link above downloads the file). Feel free to use it for your students or yourself! It can be used as a screensaver or wallpaper or printed out as a poster if preferred. Text for text readers can be accessed here.
Doing intersectionality in empirical research
Students are often familiar with the language and politics of intersectionality but unsure of how to apply it in their projects. This post sketches out some protocols for ‘doing’ intersectionality, based on the idea that it is an inherent, rather than an additive, principle that needs to shape our ontologies and epistemologies, our research questions and sampling, and the knowledge claims we make. There is an infographic to download for students to use as a reminder of this.
Arguing from qualitative data
One of the most common questions I get from students is about how to construct an argument with their data. This post gives tips on how to do this, and also highlights some common pitfalls, such as a focus on novelty rather than significance. There is also an infographic to download, summarising the key tips.
Research with marginalised groups
This post raises general questions about the ethics and politics of working with marginalised communities for research purposes. It encourages scholars to question their own motivations and social locations, and discusses the ethics of data collection and representation. There is also an infographic to download, summarising the key principles.
This is another infographic students can use as their wallpaper or screensaver, giving nine tips on academic writing. It can also be printed out as a poster if preferred. The link above downloads the file, and text for text readers can be accessed here.
Responsible self-promotion: negotiating the relationships between self and Other, myself and ‘my’ work
Using the figure of the ‘public intellectual’, this post asks questions about what it it’s responsible for us to talk about, beyond our own research work and areas of expertise. It also explores what can happen when the ‘self’ begins to consume the work in problematic ways.
This post argues that the ‘will to impact’ in academic research has created individualistic, competitive forms of public scholarship. It encourages researchers to forget about the demonstrable ‘impact’ of their work and focus instead on their communities and what they want to change.
Juggling the balls, having it all: advice from a mother and part-time Professor
This post offers a series of tips based on my experiences of juggling academia, part-time working, and motherhood, while trying to challenge the ‘superwoman fallacy’. It argues that we can apply the idea of ‘good enough’ at work and at home. The key point: be (very) kind to yourself.