Lost in the Delta Quadrant


“Writing a thesis can be a lonely business.” So begins the blurb of the (excellent) Writing Group for PhD Students, which is run by the Academic Writing Centre.

Ha! I wish! I think to myself. Yes, it’s lonely … for my PhD. I’m fine, but my PhD is sitting in the garret, lonely, neglected, in a dusty half-opened box, crying quiet tears of neglect. Yes, I hear it cry, so I try to snatch a few hours here, a few hours there, to go in and meet with it. It has no other friends. Unfortunately, the meetings are so infrequent that we begin by reintroducing ourselves. Continue reading “Lost in the Delta Quadrant”

Finding a writing style to bridge disciplines – Gabriel Bourke

railroadMy structured PhD GYG33 in the Learning Sciences and technology-enhanced learning was introduced in 2010 as a joint effort between the School of Education and the School of Psychology and I, being part of its piloting, am enjoying co-supervision from both schools. The opportunity is not however without it’s challenges. Continue reading “Finding a writing style to bridge disciplines – Gabriel Bourke”

An scríbhneoireacht acadúil – comh héasca le Zumba!

Is fiú go mór an t-alt seo leis an thesis whisperer a léamh. Míníonn sí go bhfuil an-chosúileacht idir zumba a fhoghlaim agus an teanga a úsáidtear sa scríbhneoireacht acadúil a fhoghlaim. Le obair chrua agus cleachtadh is féidir an dá rud a shárú.

How to use deliberate practice to improve your writing

The known and unforeseen benefits of critical writing groups

I’m doing my PhD through NUI but I’m based in Brooklyn, NY. A number of circumstances dictated my decision to do this and although I initially had reservations about it things have been running smoothly so far. Thankfully I’m pretty self-motivated and disciplined which means that I treat my PhD like a full-time job (with flex-time of course). I also have a fear of falling (side-ways, backwards, flat, whatever and wherever) which means that I take great care in being as organized and structured in my work as I can be.  Continue reading “The known and unforeseen benefits of critical writing groups”

Seven months in and already with the highs and lows!

The roller coaster of emotions has already begun. Really? This has been a hard pill to swallow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that the PhD process is an intense one that can lead any one of us down a dark path from time to time. I just figured that this would happen a little bit further in (like when I’ve rightfully earned my self-pity). Truth be told, it’s the writing bit that sends shivers down my spine. Yes I know, writing is a big part of doing a PhD. This has not just occurred to me. When the writing happens and it’s good (in my estimation) it’s as though the planets align. I have a visceral response that manifests as a twinge in my eye sockets and butterflies in my belly, and not of the nervous kind. When the writing doesn’t come it can be frustrating, demoralising and like trying to run rocks through a sieve. On top of this, I’m not a speedy reader nor do I synthesize the information I’ve read very quickly. This makes things a little more challenging and, at times, anguishing. Continue reading “Seven months in and already with the highs and lows!”

Glac misneach! Take heart…all is not lost.


‘Glac misneach’, a deir mo stiúrthóir liom. ‘Tá anailís sofaisticiúil déanta agat’. Ach, chím faoina lámh lorg a phinn dheirg. Cé go mbímid ag súil le moltaí agus le treoir ónár stiúrthóirí, nuair a thugtar dúinn é bímid cosantach agus in uaireanta buaileann lagmhisneach sinn. Bíonn guth éigin ar chúl mo chinn ag béicíl orm Continue reading “Glac misneach! Take heart…all is not lost.”

Noting The Changes

On my recent research trip to carry out archival research in New York I brought the following equipment:

  • Laptop with Soho Notes software- with required power chords and adapters
  • I phone – with specific app for scanning documents, creating PDFs and storing to Dropbox
  • Kindle – for reading PDFs in transit
  • Digital camera – with card reader and more chargers/adapters etc.

I also brought one properly sharpened pencil and a softback notebook, as reading rooms abhor the hardback kind.

And which item of equipment got the most use over the ten-day trip? Continue reading “Noting The Changes”