Re-imagining Doctoral Writing


I am thrilled, along with my co-editors Brittany Amell and James Burford, to share Re-Imagining Doctoral Writing with you. The best news is that it is open access and available in PDF and ePub formats.

It is published by WAC Clearinghouse, under the care of publisher, Mike Palmquist, and appears in the International Exchanges on the Study of Writing book series, which is edited by Joan Mullin, Magnus Gustafsson, Terry Myers Zawacki, and Federico Navarro.


Re-imagining Doctoral Writing

Edited by Cecile Badenhorst, Brittany Amell, and James Burford

What imaginings of the doctoral writer circulate in the talk of doctoral researchers and their supervisors? How do institutional policies and the conventions of particular disciplines shape the ways in which doctoral writing is imagined? Why, and in what ways, has doctoral writing been re-imagined in the twenty-first century? What future imaginings of doctoral writing may be hovering on the horizon? This edited collection has gathered a diverse group of authors—from Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, South Africa, the UK, Denmark, Canada, and the US—to consider these challenging questions during a time in which doctoral education is undergoing enormous transformation. Together, the contributors to this collection explore how the practice of doctoral writing is entangled with broader concerns within doctoral education, including attrition, timeliness, the quality of supervision, the transferability of knowledge and skills to industry settings, research impact, research integrity, and the decolonization of the doctorate.

You can find the book at This book will be available in a print edition from University Press of Colorado in the coming months.

The link between research conceptualization and writing


For some time I was an academic contract worker and I existed on short-term contracts and free-lance work. One of my free-lance jobs was as a language editor of master’s and doctoral theses. I read many theses and dissertations and soon realised the link between research conceptualization and “good” writing. If the research hadn’t been well-conceptualized, then no amount of editing made the writing clearer.

That’s when I began to focus on research conceptualization as the starting point of thesis/dissertation writing. When I began to teach classes and workshops on publishing or thesis writing, the very first session was always devoted to research conceptualization and Sharan Merriam’s technique – the Problem Purpose Statement and Questions (PPS&Q). Even though I cover many aspects of academic and research writing, this technique and this focus on research conceptualization has always resulted in break-throughs for students and participants in my workshops. From feedback, it is the most useful technique they learned and the most helpful in terms of getting a thesis written.

Recently, I published a paper in Writing & Pedagogy explaining why the link between research conceptualization and successful thesis writing is so important. To give you the short story: Research conceptualization doesn’t just happen at the beginning of a project. It needs to be tweaked and refined all the way through a project and then written into the thesis. Research conceptualization is written into problem statements, research proposals and introduction sections of papers/theses. (It also appears in Abstracts – which I don’t discuss in the paper.) The point I’m trying to make is that the way we conceptualize a project influences how we end up writing about the project. So it is worth spending time at the beginning to develop a PPS&Q that reflects exactly what you want to do.

If you want to learn more about developing a PPS&Q, watch:

As always, if you need to access my research or want a full list of videos on YouTube, send me an email at

Writing the literature review


For many years now I’ve focused my research and reading around the literature reivew section/chapter/paper. It’s such a complex paper to write and I’ve been trying to find ways of explaining the complexity that are do-able and understandable and not overwhelming.

I published three papers where I analysed Master’s student’s literature review papers:

Badenhorst, C.M. (2018). Citation practices of postgraduate students writing literature reviews. London Review of Education, 16(1), 121-135. DOI:

Badenhorst, C.M. (2018). Graduate student writing: Complexity in literature reviews. Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, 9(1), 58-74.

Badenhorst, C.M. (2017) Literature reviews, citations and intertextuality in graduate student writing. Journal of Further and Higher Education.

I don’t think I succeeded in unpacking the complexity of literature reviews in these papers but they really helped me understand the stress student writers are under when they write Literature Reviews.

Eventually I decided to try and unravel the different layers and tasks involved in writing a Literature Review, through videos. I starting with reading and general citation use, then I develop a series on writing the Literature Review itself. I’ve now created a number of videos that I think will really help writers who struggle with this genre:

If you have any further ideas for videos on literature reviews (or anything else), let me know. And if you want to access my research or if you want a full list of videos on YouTube, send me an email:

Strategies for Writing a Thesis by Publication: Book Review


A new book on writing manuscript thesis – it will help supervisors and students.

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Cally Guerin

Book Review: Lynn P. Nygaard & Kristin Solli (2021) Strategies for writing a thesis by publication in the social sciences and humanities. Insider Guides to Success in Academia Series. Routledge.

I was delighted to come across Lynn Nygaard and Kristin Solli’s Strategies for writing a thesis by publication in the social sciences and humanities; sensible advice on this topic from such well-informed scholars is welcome and timely. This book is the first one I’ve read in the series edited by Helen Kara and Pat Thomson and it makes me keen to see other publications in the series.

The primary audience for Nygaard and Solli’s work is doctoral candidates, but it is very useful for supervisors, writing teachers and researcher developers. It takes a straight forward, practical approach to the thesis by publication, outlining the challenges and offering implementable strategies to produce a document suitable for examination…

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Dealing with criticism


Here’s a podcast on dealing with criticism from the University of Alberta:

You might also want to watch my videos on dealing with criticism:

Crafting your personalised soundscape for writing


Wonderful post on writing to music by Kay Guccione:

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Dr Kay Guccione, a Senior Lecturer in Academic Development at Glasgow Caledonian University.Kay has been a teacher and educational development professional since 2010, working in Researcher and Academic Development at the University of Sheffield for nine years. Her specialism is in Dialogic Learning, as applied to Mentoring, Personal Tutoring and PhD Supervision. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2018 in recognition of her national profile in these areas, and she edits a blog on Research Supervision, and edits the Journal of Imaginary Research

Selfie by Kay Guccione wearing her ‘obnoxious headphones’

Researchers in music psychology (of which I am not one, to be transparent) have produced a huge body of evidence, documenting how music affects human behaviour and emotion within a wide range of performance contexts, varying music genera and tempo, task type, volume and the presence or absence of vocals. Writing to the right musical…

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Graduate students and imposter syndrome


Listen to this podcast by Robert B. Desjardins and Suman Varghese from the University of Alberta.

This is well-worth listening to. Many students feel imposter syndrome when it comes to writing. It’s important to understand that this is not an individual flaw but a fiarly common response to an environment that is often competitive and critical. In the podcast, the presenters talk about different manifestations of imposter syndrome and how it can affect a graduate student’s progress.

Working toward generous scholarship – during and after COVID-19


I certainly endorse the idea of “generous scholarship”:

The Research Whisperer

Andrea MacLeod is a professor at the University of Alberta, Canada, where she is the Chair of the Communication Sciences and Disorders department.

Her research has focused on the speech and language abilities of bilingual children and adults. She works with local stakeholders to better understand the language development of multilingual children in inner city schools, to support early language development of refugee children, and to train clinicians and educators in providing support for these children and their families.

Andrea’s ORCID is 0000-0002-4752-9476, and she tweets from @AAN_MacLeod.

Photo by Zachary Keimig | Photo by Zachary Keimig |

Academics who are parents and caregivers will likely be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly women. As so clearly articulated by Yolande Strengers and Alessandra Minello, the impact of extended working from home will impact women who work in a wide range of fields.

During these difficult times, we are doing our best…

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Academic Writing: Perspective from an English as Second Language Speaker


Have a look at this blog on writing for international students…

DoctoralWriting SIG

This post comes from guest blogger, Sabrina Islam. Sabrina  is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the University of Melbourne.

Sabrina is a rookie coder, trying to answer what committing to the response by serotonin means at cellular and evolutionary contexts by looking at biological data. 

Here she reflects on academic writing and doctoral identity.

The language tree image source is artist Minna Sundberg              Source:

As I was parallel drafting both my thesis chapter and an editorial for the past couple of weeks, I realised how quickly I flipflop between different personalities when I write different pieces. From this realisation resurfaced a much bigger realisation—I switch my personality every time I communicate in English.

“Learning another language is like becoming another person”- said Haruki Murakami. I sort of agree. Donning a second language feels really very similar to donning a “work…

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Writing a thesis by publication. Some reasons for and against


Some interesting thoughts here…

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Kalypso Filippou

Kalypso Filippou is a post-doctoral researcher and part-time teacher at the Faculty of Education, University of Turku in Finland. Kalypso’s research interests mainly focus in the field of higher education, international education, and intercultural postgraduate thesis supervision.

I have recently defended my article-based thesis (aka thesis by publication, collection of articles thesis) and I was intrigued by the blog of Cally Guerin regarding the ongoing debate of writing a thesis by publication ( I actually agree with all the reasons for and against that were indicated but I decided to re-examine these advantages and disadvantages and add a few more reasons based on my experiences as a doctoral candidate who wrote a thesis by publication.

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