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Academic writing

Research Skills required by PhD students E1: Write clearly and in a style appropriate to purpose,...

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9 March 2010

Check this skill

By the time students complete a PhD, they should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions.

In terms of the following:

  • an abstract,
  • a research proposal,
  • a progress report,
  • a conference paper,
  • a journal paper,
  • a doctoral dissertation?
  • records for your Progress File
  • reports for your Personal Development Plan

Can you:

  • specify their distinguishing features and key ingredients?
  • distinguish between an effective and an inadequate example of each?
  • write one at a satisfactory level?
  • Can you explain how you might go about selecting material for a particular publication target, say an upcoming conference?
  • Can you explain your research in writing to a lay audience?
  • Can you enumerate some strategies for ensuring that your writing is 'fit for purpose'?
  • What do you do to overcome writing block?
  • Do you regularly ask your supervisors and other students to read and critique your research reports?

Evidence of this skill

These are examples of documents you can collect. Each implies a piece or work, which may be a good way for you to develop this skill.

  • Your probation report.
  • Your PhD thesis.
  • Successful submission of papers for publication.
  • A collection of exemplars of good practice, with notes on why they are exemplary.
  • Written critiques of others' writing.
  • Record of active participation in a writing development course.
  • Example of a published piece on your research written for a web page or the popular press.

This page is based upon material produced by The Open University’s research school to support doctoral students.

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