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Archive for the 'Academic writing' Category



Rumpus research

Published on April 24, 2020

Research question: β€˜In what ways is the Covid-19 pandemic changing understandings of the relationships between learning and fun?’ A limited case study of a research group in a UK university. We expect our findings to have implications beyond that group. Data collection using epistolary interviews (via email – one question per email, enabling thoughtful responses […]


Writing a methodology chapter (2)

Published on May 24, 2018

In my last post on this subject, I considered the distinction between method and methodology. In this one, I’ll look more at what is involved in writing the methodology chapter of a thesis (and I’m writing with social science theses in mind). The first thing you need to consider is a very high level question. […]


Citations in your literature review

Published on November 1, 2017

A common mistake that people make when first writing a literature review is to present the literature in a neutral and even way, as if it is all equivalent. For example: ‘Smith (2009) found that pigs can fly. Jones’ study (2009) suggested that this is not the case.’ This doesn’t help your reader to understand […]


Rigour in journal articles

Published on April 7, 2017

These points are taken from a talk by Sara Hennessy about assessing rigour in papers submitted to the British Journal of Educational Technology. Is the account analytical or purely descriptive? Do the authors critique the literature and present a balanced account or does the review gloss over known issues with educational technology initiatives? How do […]


Giving a conference presentation

Published on March 23, 2017

I’m just back from the LAK17 conference in Vancouver. While I was there, I talked to a professor who had given feedback to doctoral students on their presentations in previous years. In most cases, it was the first time they had ever had feedback on their presenting skills. Thinking back to some of the talks […]


Literature reviews

Published on May 19, 2015

Link to a useful article by the Thesis Whisperer, aimed at doctoral students beginning to work on their literature review. How to become a literature searching ninja


How to structure a literature review

Published on September 9, 2013

It’s difficult to structure a literature review – you have read tens, or even hundreds, of articles, chapters, blog posts and presentations, and it appears almost impossible to pull them into shape and relate them to your own work. As a PhD student, or an early-career researcher, it is difficult to know how your contribution […]