PG Writing Group 13/02/12 Social Science South Rm 2204 Monday 12-1pm
This week I was tempted to abandon my promised review of blogs, websites & books and divert to topic sentences. I had convinced myself the topic sentence post was a ‘good’ distraction – in reality I was just avoiding the prospect of reviewing a load of textbooks. So I thought I should follow the advice that I commonly give to students about avoiding distractions and staying on task – hence this post on books about postgraduate study. Next week we’ll move to ‘relatively’ more exciting topics.
Books that focus on providing advice about postgraduate research studies can be useful at all stages of candidature. They range in content from tips for starting your research through to thesis examination , and often include advice on publication, networking, study skills, motivation, supervision, and life-work balance. There is a mix of styles from the step-by-step ‘Dummies guide to….’ booklets through to the more academic text. When you need a short break or you’re struggling with motivation you can’t go past the light, easy-to-read guides. When you have just commenced studying or you want to change your approach to your studies you may want to delve deeper into the texts. If you do randomly grab a book from the library it is worth noting both the country and year of publication – like most things, postgraduate studies do vary in place and time. Also look at biographical information of the author and ask yourself if you think they are qualified to give you advice (obviously the publishing house thought so but you may not agree!).
Many thanks to Anthony who vetted the UWA library books for me. Here’s my views on the books he thought are worth a look. I’ve only included the title of the books – if your search for them from UWA using OneSearch according to title and restrict the search to books they are easy to find. But if you need further details, email me and I’ll send them to you.
- Doing Postgraduate Research in Australia. Has all the obvious advantages of being a local publication (including a foreward by one of UWA previous VCs). Quite factual but reasonably easy to read and more detailed readings provided in a reference list at the end of each short chapter. Provides a solid overview of postgraduate studies and lots of practical advice.
- The Postgraduate Research Handbook: Succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD. One of the well known Palgrave Macmillan study guides. The handbook draws on the experience of supervisors from Australia,USA and the UK so the advice is relevant. It provides basic advice aimed at directing you to further specialist reading & task boxes that ask you to consider the advice in relation to your studies. I particularly like Chapter 3 which provides advice on maintaining momentum.
- Doing Postgraduate Research. Similar to the Postgraduate Research Handbook this text has a practical approach to describing higher degree research with worked examples and activities.
- Your PhD companion. Equally relevant to Research Masters students, this easy-to-read text provides a mix of tips and advice and answers questions from ‘How long will it take?’ to ‘How do I make my final corrections?’. The cartoons are good, the headings are even better. Of the four books this is by far the lightest and most accessible.
PS. If you’re interested in more hints and tips about staying focussed, particularly if your writing space is crowded with lots of other students, see 18 Ways to Stay Focused at Work.
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