Category: academic writing

Students can write: Making writing tasks relevant and personal can bring out hidden skills.

A common complaint about student writing is that it is often very poor. Students don’t understand grammar, don’t know how to spell, don’t know what paragraphs are for, don’t understand how to reference… and so on. James Hartley writes that all of this is often true – but that it needn’t be. In one experiment, students wrote much more clearly when […]

Why is this reading so hard? Finding your way through unfamiliar texts.

Entering a new field of inquiry through reading often takes time. You don’t get a sense of it all straight away and it is sometimes very hard to discriminate between the writing that is unfamiliar and deals with difficult ideas that really challenge and stretch our thinking, and the crappy stuff. But, Pat Thomson argues, it is important to do […]

Life in the Accelerated Academy: anxiety thrives, demands intensify and metrics hold the tangled web together.

The imagined slowness of university life has given way to a frenetic pace, defined by a perpetual ratcheting up of demands and an entrepreneurial ethos seeking new and quantifiable opportunities. Mark Carrigan explores the toxic elements of this culture and its underlying structural roots. As things get faster, we tend to accept things as they are rather than imagining how they might be. […]

Book Review: How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco

Now in its twenty-third edition in Italy and translated into seventeen languages, How to Write a Thesis has become a classic. This is its first, long overdue publication in English. Vanessa Longden thinks that in addition to its witty one-liners, Eco’s book contains the bare bones on which to build research.  This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books. How to Write a […]

Unbundling is Over-rated: On the value of contributing to an edited book

Terry Clague sheds reasonable doubt on the assertion that contributing to edited book chapters is a waste of time. The sole aim of publication isn’t necessarily to maximise citations. If citations are the only measure of academic value then there’s a danger that academic research becomes the X-Factor. Furthermore, edited collections can also aid discovery of new material where new […]

The researcher’s guide to literature: Visualising crowd-sourced overviews of knowledge domains.

Given the enormous amount of new knowledge produced every day, keeping up-to-date on all the literature is increasingly difficult. Peter Kraker argues that visualizations could serve as universal guides to knowledge domains. He and colleagues have come up with an interactive way of automating the visualisations of entire knowledge domains and relevant articles within fields. Through similarity measures identified in a Mendeley powered data-set, an interested […]

How to write a killer conference abstract: The first step towards an engaging presentation.

Helen Kara responds to our previously published guide to writing abstracts and elaborates specifically on the differences for conference abstracts. She offers tips for writing an enticing abstract for conference organisers and an engaging conference presentation. Written grammar is different from spoken grammar. Remember that conference organisers are trying to create as interesting and stimulating an event as they can, and […]

The Organized Mind: How to better structure our time in the age of social media and constant distraction.

The information age is drowning us in a deluge of data, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate facts from pseudo-facts, objective from biased sources, and at the same time, we’re all being asked to do more at home and at work. Daniel Levitin reviews the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory, presents the differences between mind-wandering mode and […]