I’m doing this blog for a number of reasons:

  • I want to share thoughts with people;
  • I want to hopefully help PhD students;
  • I want to build up a good writing habit for myself;
  • I want to develop my own writing.

My first goal is to be consistent though: I want to publish one post, Monday to Thursday, every week of the next year (with the exception of holidays!) at a minimum. Quick back of the napkin calculation says that’s around 210 posts. Yikes.

So I’ll be writing and preparing some posts in advance, and I have a slush pile of ideas. I’m also keen (like I said yesterday) to hear what people think, and see what topics people are keen to hear about.

I’ll be starting the blog properly next week with a two week series of posts on acronyms.

Wait! Come back!

Over the last few years I’ve become fascinated with how ideas get condensed down. How are they made as succinct as possible, made so that people can take them onboard and not forget? I’m still trying to figure that out, but what I have found are some ideas that are genuinely helpful for postgraduate researchers to know. Maybe you have heard some before, and I hope that I can either provide a new spin, or at least convince you to act on them.

Earlier this year, via this blog’s sister-project (an older sister!) the Viva Survivors Podcast, I launched a survey on viva experiences of UK PhD graduates. I’ve spent the last few months – alongside home improvements and childcare – looking through all of the data that I’ve collected, and from the week beginning 6th October I’ll be summarising the results of the survey. While I’ve talked about this privately and presented some preliminary results at a few workshops this will be the first time that these results have been shared. At the end of that week I’m aiming to have a short pdf summarising the results so far too.

In the months to come there will be

  • one-off posts about topics I find interesting;
  • a short series on time and the PhD;
  • an irregular series of posts where I answer common questions that people ask me about the viva;
  • posts on other topics, book reviews and more!

I have some ideas, I have some thoughts – I even have some opinions. But nevermind all that: what do you want to read? What would be useful to you? Let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.

Tomorrow I’ll have the last of these starting posts, where I’ll talk about the ways that you can support this blog. If you think, like I do, that advice for postgraduate researchers is really important then check this post out so that you can see all of the ways that you can help me do that.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)