Writing a PhD proposal (social sciences)

genders, bodies, politics

For many academics, each New Year brings a flurry of Email enquiries about PhD supervision. In my experience these tend to range between a vague notion about a topic (or a few possible topics) and a detailed account of a research idea, usually drawn from a successful MA thesis or an area of professional interest. What I hardly ever get, however, is a proper draft proposal.

For me, having at least a rough draft of your proposal before you contact potential supervisors is good practice, for a number of reasons: (1) it shows you have given the matter some thought; (2) it identifies you as someone who is able to work independently; and (3) it allows you to take ownership of your work from the start (and some supervisors WILL take over if you let them). If you are planning to apply for Research Council funding, a draft gives you a valuable head…

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How do I know I’m coding well in qualitative analysis?

Nick Hopwood

Coding. Yay. Eek. Ugh.

Let’s face it, coding is a biggie. You don’t get far in the qualitative data analysis literature without seeing some mention of it. To be clear, this post does not assume coding is necessary in all qualitative data analysis. Nor does it assume coding amounts to qualitative analysis in the sense that coding is all you need to do. There is always an analytical residue – more interpretive work post-coding; in fact coding is often only a small part of qualitative analysis. Lots of analyses I’ve done haven’t used coding at all.

But coding can be incredibly valuable to us as qualitative data analysts. The problem is, it’s really easy to be busy coding but not to be doing so well. In this post I’m trying to spell out what it might mean to code well, and how you might know if you’re doing so.


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giving feedback on a paper

the rubric to give comment on a paper ….


If you’re working with a writing partner, or a group, there’ll come a time when you want to give each other feedback. And you’ll want that feedback to be affirming not debilitating, and helpfully critical and not crushingly negative.

Here’s a few starting points that you can consider. They are leads to help you to organise your thoughts, and the conversation.You won’t cover all of these pointers of course in youractualconversation, but they arehelpful for yourpre-reading. They simply flag some of what you could discuss.

283792277_c04cb875f5_z.jpg Photo by Annabelle Shemer, Flickr Creative Commons. First of all, briefly sum up what you think is the argument of the paper. Hearing your versionis helpful for the writer as they cancompareyour interpretationwith their intention.

Now sum up what you think are the major strengths of the paper.

Tell the writer who you think will be interested in reading the paper and why –…

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what does a book proposal reviewer do?

I can learn from this to write my book proposal ….


A post for academic book week.

When you send in a book proposal to a publisher, chances are that it will be sent out to reviewers. This is peer review – and a versionthat actually gets talked about very little.

The publisher often asks youtorecommend two to three proposal reviewers. When you make these recommendations, it’s important to pick people who look credible. Your nominatedreviewers should be people who know your work, and who are also likely to be considered as ‘an expert’ by the publisher.

Now, reviewers don’t have to be academics. It depends on the type of book you are proposing. If you are writing a book where you are looking for professional readers for instance, you could recommend someone in a professional field. This person should be someone who is influential and is able to speak on behalf of others.

The publisher will probably go to at…

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The Global StartUp Ecosystem

Paul4innovating's Innovation Views

The 2017 report by Startup Genome recently came out (April 5, 2017) You can find it here “Global StartUp Ecosystem Report 2017” which provides a 150-page review of the global state of startups. It is a really good resource to understand that not everything “starting up” is just coming from Silicon Valley, there are some vibrant startup ecosystems emerging all around the world, some most certainly near you.

The report goes into some depth of the top 20 places and then deep dives into others in America, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific. In all 45 cities around the world are nurturing startup ecosystems that are worth reading up about.

The report is copyright to the Startup Genome but I am sure they will not object to me quoting them in their goals for this

“Every city has the right to participate in the global startup revolution and reap the…

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Enjoying your viva

viva day is harvest day, it is very enjoyable despite of of a lot of stress…

The Thesis Whisperer

The Viva – a live presentation of your thesis to examiners – is not common in Australia. Our thesis examination is a blind peer review process, which has its own fears, but nothing like the anxiety that a viva can provoke. Horror stories tend to circulate, which is why I was happy to be sent this post by a student who preferred to remain anonymous.

“I had my doctoral viva. And I enjoyed it.”

Yes, what you are reading is indeed true. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 3 3/4 hour viva voce. But it wasn’t just me. Both of my examiners also enjoyed the experience.
Why was this the case and what lessons does it hold?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom handing in my thesis until my viva, I was overcome by a crippling state of anxiety. I had heard all of the horror stories: people having their work rubbished, examiners proclaiming…

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