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…

View original post 784 more words

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…

View original post 1,404 more words

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.

View original post 1,040 more words

Master’s and doctoral writing – YouTube videos


Hello research writers! Along with two fabulous graduate assistants, Abena Boachie and Xiaolin Xu, we have created a whole range of videos on thesis writing, writing for publication and why writing is sometimes so difficult. Generously funded by Memorial University’s School of Graduate Studies, we have created short animated videos that are, hopefully, more entertaining than my long rambling PowerPoint videos.

On this blog, we will be creating new pages to organise the videos for you and these will be posted shortly. In the meantime, all the videos are freely available on YouTube and you can find them if you search “Cecile Badenhorst”. There are 25 new videos to add to the existing 16 videos. All the videos are based on literature from the field of Writing Studies, my own research, and from many, many years of teaching research writing to master’s and doctoral students. They are a culmination of “things that work”.

I hope you enjoy the videos and find them helpful. Any suggestions for further videos would be welcome because we will be making more.


A stimulating collegial event: the 2018 meeting of IDERN (International Doctoral Education Research Network)


Overview of the recent IDERN meeting in Japan by the DoctoralWriting SIG team.

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Susan Carter, Claire Aitchison and Cally Guerin

We three editors of the DoctoralWriting SIG had the re-energising experience of attending IDERN at Hiroshima University in Japan, 15-17 September, 2018.  IDERN is a loose group of people who come together every two to three years to discuss trends in doctoral research. The business of meetings is steered by a committee that organises key sessions including an introduction from the hosting country and followed thereafter by a series of provocations to stimulate discussion groups. This year the meeting was beautifully hosted by Machi Sato (Hiroshima University) and her team.

We learned about doctoral education in Japan from Professors Yohsuke Yamamoto and Shinichi Kobayashi, who described successful Japanese doctoral programs but nonetheless identified a need for reform, and for international collaboration.

View original post 749 more words

How many hours writing for the doctorate?


Here’s an excellent blog on thinking through the logistics of a writing a thesis:

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Ian Brailsford, Postgraduate learning adviser, Libraries and Learning Services, University of Auckland.

The rose-tinted view of the leisurely doctorate taking as long as it needed to complete (if it ever really existed) has been consigned to history with global drivers for ‘timely completions’. But it’s fair to say that doctoral candidates have more flexibility in determining their work schedules than most other ‘knowledge workers’. So, in determining this schedule, how much time should doctoral candidates devote to the business of writing a thesis?

View original post 1,286 more words

Write Your Way Out


Excellent blog post from Explorations of Style about writing blocks:

Explorations of Style

I recently had a request to give a talk to graduate students about writer’s block. This term is frequently mentioned in the context of graduate writing, presumably because of the general sense that something is inhibiting the writing processes of students at this level. While I was explaining why I didn’t want to give a talk on writer’s block, I realized that I spend quite a lot of time telling various people that I’m sceptical about the concept of academic writer’s block. Having recently read two interesting takes on writer’s block in academia in the past year (from Helen Kara and Julia Molinari), I decided that my own disinclination to use this concept might be worth exploring here on the blog.

In general, I am resistant to identifying common graduate writing difficulties as writer’s block. Most graduate writers who are struggling with their writing are actually struggling with their…

View original post 697 more words

Play, Visual strategies and Innovative Approaches to Graduate Student Writing Development

Hello all
This is just to let you know that a new special section of Vol. 28 of  the Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie has just been published, titled “Play, Visual strategies and Innovative Approaches to Graduate Student Writing Development.” Britt Amell and myself had the wonderful task of putting together this special edition.  We enjoyed working with the authors, reviewers and the editorial team from CJSDW.
This section comprises eight pieces by contributors from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and Thailand. The table of contents is outlined below, or you can visit the website at
Please enjoy the selection of papers and share them widely with those to whom they may be of interest.

Helping students write a literature review – Part II


DoctoralWriting SIG

This is Part II of the guest post by Cecile Badenhorst of Memorial University in Canada. For an extended discussion of these ideas, go to her article on “Literature reviews, citations and intertextuality in graduate student writing”

In the first part of this blog post, I suggested that explicitly teaching students the genre of literature reviews and the many ways experienced academic writers use citation practices can help students understand this challenging genre. In this post, I want to focus on complexity in literature reviews. These papers require complex higher order thinking skills and the ability to critique, evaluate and review knowledge in sophisticated ways. Reproducing this complexity is often the most challenging for students. It is even more challenging for those of us involved in teaching this genre: How do we make the complexity more visible and accessible?

View original post 726 more words