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Reading & Writing

How to write effectively

How to write effectively

Committing thoughts to paper is something few of us find easy, but writing permeates all aspects of research (grant applications, ethical approval applications, reports for funders, papers, the thesis etc.) so developing good writing habits / strategies is important.

Find out if your University holds a ‘writing’ course for postgraduate researchers.

A number of books give advice about how to write. Your University library may stock these or others:

  • Murray, R. How to write a thesis
  • Guccione, K. & Wellington, J. Taking Control of Your Thesis: A Guide to Get You to the End
  • Thomson, P. & Kamler, B. Detox Your Writing: Strategies for Doctoral Researchers
  • Dunleavy, P. Authoring a PhD: how to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation
  • Silvia, P.J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing

Consider making a ‘writing timetable’ to ensure you have time each day/week for writing.

Consider writing a small amount every day.

Consider ‘free writing’ where you set yourself a short amount of time to write uninterrupted and without stopping:

Consider setting up a regular ‘shut up and write’ session with peers using the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of uninterrupted writing).

Write your thesis / papers ‘as you go along’.

Read a lot of papers: this will improve your writing style and it will also generate ideas.

Ask your supervisors to give feedback about your writing.