Monthly Archives: July 2011

research as an argument

One of the things that doctoral researchers sometimes find difficult to ‘get’ is that the thesis is not a report of a set of findings with a discussion and a conclusion tacked onto the end.  It is an ARGUMENT. An … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, argument | 7 Comments

when is a conference paper not just a paper?

Doctoral and early career researchers are always encouraged to present their work in conferences, and often the earlier the better. The reasons usually offered are that the conference paper offers an opportunity to communicate about your research and it allows … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, conference papers | 4 Comments

why write a book review?

 A good way to begin to publish academically is to undertake a book review for a peer refereed journal. Book review editors often find it hard to get people to review, and they are likely to welcome your offer, particularly … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, publishing | 3 Comments

how to give feedback on a peer’s paper

It is very good practice for doctoral and early career researchers to get feedback from peers about their writing. Indeed, many experienced researchers and writers do this too.  Here are some things to try out when giving feedback on writing. … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, reading | Leave a comment

ethical research with children

 Dr Kaye Johnson, from South Australia, worked with children at her school to develop ethical standards for research. They called this The Child Speaks to the Researcher. 1. Please treat me and my life with respect. 2. Tell me about this … Continue reading

Posted in ethics, research methods | Leave a comment

two points about visual research

(1) An image is not a neutral. It is literally and culturally constructed by a person or team of people through processes of: selection – where the image maker literally stands, what they foreground, what is in focus and out … Continue reading

Posted in research methods, visual | Leave a comment


Post-positivist social sciences typically name a set of characteristics that describe key features of the topic under question. This has the effect of making the subject under scrutiny a ‘thing’ whose attributes can be refined, named and renamed, discussed and … Continue reading

Posted in discourse, research methods | 4 Comments

why do doctoral researchers get asked to read so much?

Work with literatures is an integral part of scholarship. There are four key tasks accomplished through engagement with texts that others have produced. These are: (1) To map the field or fields relevant to the inquiry. This is likely to … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, reading | 2 Comments

the context, text and effects approach to researching policy

Sandra Taylor(1) has argued that policy analysis can be undertaken through investigation of three inter-related avenues: (1)   Context. The context of any given education policy is always specific and particular. It is always also historically situated. Examining the context of … Continue reading

Posted in discourse, policy | Leave a comment

writing skeletons

 In order to get into the hang of academic writing it is sometimes helpful to examine closely the way in which other writers structure their work. Swales and Feak (1) offer the use of skeleton sentences to achieve this. This where all of … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing | 10 Comments