Tips for PhD students to improve their academic writing

This post was inspired by an anonymous PhD student who started a blog to improve their academic writing. My advice to PhD students to improve academic writing is simple: read academic writing and write academic writing.

Read

There are many books and resources about academic writing, but the best way to understand conventions is to read academic writing such as PhD theses, journal articles and conference papers. Start with recent PhD theses in your discipline, from your university and others, and note similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses.

For new PhD students, it is particularly important to understand the form and structure of a thesis which is the ‘final product’ of the PhD research and assessed by examiners.

Then read journal articles. Read fellow students’ work. Accept offers to be a reviewer of journal articles. Consider why you might find one piece of writing hard to read and another clear and easy.

Write

Any writing is good writing practice, but learn and practise the conventions by writing journal articles, conference papers and thesis chapters. The more you write material for your thesis, the easier it becomes. Ask others for feedback on your writing and see if your institution has a writing group or training. See my posts on:

Here are some writing resources I like:

Please contact me for editing or writing inquiries at rhdaniels@bigpond.com

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s