Catch Up, 29th September 2014

Every two weeks or so I intend to write a post just like this one – where I’ll talk about what I’ve been posting for the last few weeks, and link to any posts or things I’ve seen that I think are also worth having a read or look at. OK?

On this blog

The last – and first! – two weeks of posts here have been about acronyms, the neatly encapsulated ideas that I use all the time both for myself and for working with postgraduate researchers. I’ve written about INTRO, which helps start presentations; STAR, a technique for talking about your skills; PMI, an idea evaluation tool; and five other acronyms. If you haven’t already, take a look, and let me know in the comments what acronym ideas you find really useful!

Meanwhile, elsewhere

Social Media Skills for Students – the wonderful Nadine Muller has launched a new project, and the title describes it perfectly. Even just two weeks in, I know that this is going to be THE resource that I point people towards. Go and have a look if you’ve wondered what the difference between Tumblr and Twitter is, or if you’re wondering what software to use for your blog. Go and find out WHY engaging with social media is so important.

How long is a lit review sentence?Ben Libberton delivers a fun and useful article on the literature review. He writes a lot about the literature review for PGRs (as you can guess by the name of his site!), and this is another excellent piece.

“I’m writing a book no one else will read” and other reasons the PhD can get you down – a brilliant guest post on the Thesis Whisperer blog. I remember at times that I really struggled with thinking about my thesis and PhD in a positive way – why do it if no one will read it? But as the article says, the PhD is so much more than the thesis. A refreshing reminder.

conference blog: survival essentials – I came across this post by Pat Thomson earlier in the month and it is wonderful. Conferences need preparing for – more than the talk you’re going to give, you need to pay attention to the fundamentals. Conferences can be exhausting. Get the most out of them by following this brilliant short guide.

6 Subtle Things Highly Productive People Do Every Day – a post from Business Insider from June; postgraduate researchers always talk to me about managing their time and getting more done. This article, while not PhD-focussed has a lot of interesting thoughts and I think is worth a look. Plus they spoke to Tim Ferriss for it, who is pretty much the paragon of productivity!

How Neil Gaiman Stays Creative In An Age Of Constant Distraction – the last link has another “does what it says on the tin” title. Being creative is of maximum important to the PhD. As researchers, we constantly rise to bring new ideas to life – whether to add value to a thesis or to solve a problem along the way. And the flipside of modern research is that someone, somewhere is always trying to get our attention. I thought that this was an interesting interview, and had a couple of really neat ideas in it about how to beat distraction.

Looking ahead

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some creative thinking related tips, and on Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be sharing new articles for people just starting a PhD and for people who are starting a new year. And next week will be FIVE posts summarising my research into the PhD viva in the UK!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)