About this blog
All the blogposts here are written by Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics.
Patrick is also Centenary Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra.
This blog aims to give practical advice to PhD students, early career researchers, full-time faculty and researchers working outside academia on how to best write and communicate at an advanced research level. Like most aspects of academic practice, this used to be a ‘learning on the job’ thing, and the typical result was the proliferation of academese – that is badly written, discipline-siloed and often pointlessly obscure text, sustained by professor brow-beating newbies into bad practices.
Thankfully the tide has turned and the need for better academic communication is now widely recognized – but not everywhere. Many elite and non-elite departments and universities continue to harbour and encourage ‘legacy’ bad practices. So continuous vigilance and learning are needed to combat always-present regressive tendencies.
In addition, the advent of digital scholarship has upended many past conventions and ways of working and writing – as we move towards a new paradigm of more inter-disciplinary, fast-moving and open scientific research and academic scholarship. This blog seeks to help put readers in touch with new developments on all these fronts.
Every post here offers only a menu of suggestions – one that you should assess and only try out if they seem to work for you. Just as you don’t go to a restaurant and eat everything on the menu, your own tastes and needs should guide you here.
My core areas of expertise lie in the social sciences, but I have learnt an enormous amount too about the humanities and many STEM science disciplines from undertaking research on the impacts of academic work. I am very grateful too to everyone who follows the @Write4Research account on Twitter for their wonderful inputs. I hope that you can pull me up on any discipline-blindness in the advice here and point me to ways of improving this content via this account. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find interesting these books of mine:
– Patrick Dunleavy, Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
– Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy, Jane Tinkler and others, The Impact of the Social Sciences (Sage, 2014).
– Patrick Dunleavy and Jane Tinkler, Improving the Impacts of University Research (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 forthcoming)
And this book by four LSE colleagues:
– Amy Mollett, Cheryl Brumley, Chris Gilson and Sierra Williams, Communicating Your Research with Social Media: A practical guide to using blogs, podcasts, data visualizations and video (Sage, 2017)
Writing for Research website
Concept and design by Tena Prelec (2017).