Writing research books and PhD theses

Seven questions to ask about how your chapter ends

Final impressions are lasting — make them good ones

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How many times in reading academic work have you skimmed materials from the beginnings and ends of chapters or papers — the title, abstract, opening paragraphs and conclusions — to try to work out quickly what its key messages are? For myself, I do it a lot. It’s […]

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    In a PhD or academic book, do you really need a Methodology chapter early on?

In a PhD or academic book, do you really need a Methodology chapter early on?

Or would a Research Methods Annex be better?

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It is axiomatic that any doctorate (and any serious academic book) must be based on sound methods, systematically applied. PhD examiners especially (but also critical readers of academic work more generally) must never be left in any doubt about exactly how findings and results have been generated, their […]

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    Why do academics and PhDers carefully choose useless titles for articles and chapters?

Why do academics and PhDers carefully choose useless titles for articles and chapters?

Six ways to get it wrong, and four steps to get it right

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When you want to get your paper or chapter read and appreciated by a wide audience, adopted for courses, and hopefully cited by great authors in good journals — in short, when you want to ‘sell’ your writing to colleagues — titles can play […]

Top Ten questions to ask about your chapter start

Is it high energy and clear, or low energy and diffuse?

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Readers of Masters dissertations, PhDs or serious non-fiction books focus a lot of attention on the beginnings and endings of chapters. They look to them to get a quick impression of what the new chapter is about. So chapter starts need to be designed with some […]

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    In a book or PhD, start each chapter cleanly. Never link back

In a book or PhD, start each chapter cleanly. Never link back

Do “linking forward” at the ends of chapters instead

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In your PhD or large, non-fiction book every chapter needs to do a distinctive job. The ultimate low-energy way of beginning a new chapter is to say ‘As I discussed in the previous chapter, dum de dum de dum’. First, it’s a repetition and so could not be […]