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It’s not just about the thesis…

Here’s food for thought – should we really be spending so much time writing, asks the Thesis Whisperer:

“…What I didn’t realise all those times I was ‘too busy writing’ was that doing a PhD is one of those extremely rare opportunities in a busy adult life you get to concentrate on your own professional development. Consistently placing writing above other kinds of PhD activity is undergraduate thinking. I thought assessment happened when examiners read my thesis.

But the real assessment happens when someone reads your CV.”


First draft written. What next? Moltaí úsáideacha sa bhlag seo ó Thesis Whisperer

Alt an-úsáideach eile ar fáil ar Thesis Whisperer.

Some very useful hints and tips on how to proceed once you have written “that shitty first draft”.

With the Red Robe on… suddenly the PhD journey becomes worth it!

I left Galway last year as I completed my PhD. Such a relief !
I was not really sure I would come back to Galway for my graduation.
I did not really get the point of celebrating my PhD that I associated mainly with pain and exhaustion.

However, in the back of my mind, I knew that I could regret not coming back one day…

Therefore, I flew back to Galway for the conferral ceremony of the 19th of June of this year. I definitely don’t regret it!

First of all, we were blessed as the weather for the ceremony was amazingly beautiful! For people who don’t know Galway: the weather is mostly miserable, except for a couple of days per year. Galway becomes heaven then, and there is nowhere else you want to be. The 19th of June 2014 was one of those days !

Secondly, I was delighted to attend the same ceremony as some of my PhD friends. We have been in the same boat for a couple of years so we felt very happy to be together on that special day 

In the evening, I was so happy to party with them and some other friends who are completing their PhDs this year.

I was also delighted that my mum made it to Galway. It was a way for her to have a better sense of what I have been through, and met the people who contributed to my PhD and who became my friends.

In this regard, I was so pleased that one of my supervisors, some colleagues and other academics who have been involved in my PhD process attended the ceremony. They booked robes to join the academic procession during the ceremony, and then we took a lot of pictures. It was a lot of fun !!!

The ceremony in itself was very nice : Not too long, some Irish music, nice speech from the president…
It was definitely a celebration of the journey we went through, and I got quite emotional remembering mine.

But I think the most exciting thing of that day was being able to wear that beautiful red PhD robe. I just loved it! And something unexplainable happened: once I had my robe on, all my moments of despair and suffering suddenly vanished. I felt that everything I went through during my PhD journey was worth it in the end !

What to do when you get stuck…

@ ThornyBleeder

@ ThornyBleeder

You know the feeling, you’ve got lots of data, lots of research done, lots of things to say. All is going well, you manage to write lots and then something disrupts the flow and you just end up stuck. The question is, how can I free myself from this? Here’s what I’ve been trying…

Read more…

Conas struchtur a chur ar argóint

Tá an taighde déanta agus na fíricí bailithe. Céard a dhéanfaidh tú leo? Tá sé in am struchtúr a chur ar d’argóint. Ach, conas? Tháinig mé ar an leathanach seo:

An bhfuil aon mholtaí agat?

Have you any helpful hints for putting an argument together?

Two exercises to help you your writing life

Alt úsáideach ar chleasanna a chuideoidh leat le scríobh an tráchtais – The Thesis Whisperer.

Two exercises to help you your writing life.

Aiseolas / Feedback: Capall rása nó asal? A silk purse or a sow’s ear?

Why does feedback hurt sometimes?

Litir a scríobh stiúrthóir chuig mac léinn ag míniú próiseas foghlamtha an PhD.

How to make the most of feedback….which bits to treat with a pinch of salt and when to really listen.


Would you like to share some tips or maybe just have a moan?


Thesistalk would love to hear from you. Do you have something you would like to share? Perhaps some writing or time management tips. Something you read somewhere and might be of interest to other PhD students. Or perhaps you would just like to have a moan and share the challenges you are facing. Or would you like to tell us what you are researching and what it is that drives you to continue on this journey of discovery?

Ba bhreá linn cloisteáil uait agus cuirfimid fáilte mhór roimh ailt i nGaeilge.

Maybe it’s time to “Shut up and Write!”

Tá an bunalt ar fáil anseo/ Find the article here:



Is í bunús an choincheapa seo go dtagann cairde le chéile i gcaifé chun roinnt oibre a dhéanamh i dteannta a chéile. Read more…

what’s the answer to “would you like to write for this book/journal”?

Ceist mhaith…


I was recently asked by an early career researcher whether it was better to say yes to an invitation to write a chapter for a book, or to say no and write a refereed journal article instead. It wasn’t just the question of book or journal but also writing about something that someone else had chosen, versus something that she wanted to write herself. I’m not sure I had a great answer at the time, but her question did make me think about the criteria that I use in these circumstances.

Book chapter or journal article, their choice or my choice, is not an unusual quandary. It’s not uncommon for any of us – doctoral researcher to prof – to be asked to contribute to a special issue or edited book. You get asked to write because either the editor has heard you speak on the topic, someone’s told them…

View original post 1,362 more words

Thesis verb cheat sheet—check it out on

Verb Cheat Sheet

Supervisor/PhD student relationship. Freagrachtaí an mhic léinn PhD.

Interesting article on the role of the supervisor and the responsibilities of the PhD student.

Ag déanamh moilleadóireachta…

Tuigim nach mé an duine is tapúla ar domhain i  mbun taighde nó scríbhneoireachta. Táimse an-tapaidh, áfach, ag ceapadh leithscéalta. Tá scil agam i gceapadh na leithscéalta – fágfaidh mé an t-alt sin atá le scríobh go dtí go mbeidh mo chuid smaointe curtha le chéile agam, go mbeidh an cupán tae ólta, go mbeidh an clár thart. Déanfaidh mé é nuair a bheidh an leabhar léite (nó faighte agam ar a laghad!), an tagairt chuí aimsithe, an tagairt eile a bhréagnóidh í aimsithe, na focail a dhéanfaidh an cur síos is iomláine ar an gcoincheap ceaptha agam…go dtí ar deireadh go mbeidh lá eile istigh. Ach, má leanaim ar an gcuí seo ní chríochnófar an tráchtas go brách. Tá sé in am teacht ar phlean….



Read more…


Source: Wiki Media Commons

Source: Wiki Media Commons

If you were to ask me if I was sleep deprived I would have said no but lately I wonder if my standards are just low. I honestly can’t remember a time when I felt wide awake insofar that it resembles feeling refreshed or weightless or anything that’s opposite to slow, heavy or foggy. I’ve been a full-time student for six years straight and counting and I’m pretty sure that the number of hours clocked in bed outweigh the number of hours of quality sleep that I’ve had. I’m probably exaggerating a little but it’s no big surprise that Grad students are chronically sleep deprived not just because of the time and energy required for coursework and thesis work but because of the various other bits and bobs that we do. There’s the stuff outside of our programme but related to it like attending skill-building workshops, attending and presenting at conferences, publishing, teaching, administrative duties etc. Then there’s the stuff outside, outside of our programme but still sort of related to it like blogging, volunteering with relevant organisations, journal editing, collaborating with peers on projects etc. Then there’s the life-stuff that’s totally unrelated but necessary like other paid work, laundry, grocery shopping AND the stuff we want to do, like anything fun. Read more…

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. Read more…

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. Read more…

Writing to think or writing to complete?



I was recently asked to participate in a workshop about the PhD writing process. The idea was to share experiences about the PhD writing process across disciplines. So I set out to reflect on my own writing process as a humanities student and on the different types of writing which have become an intricate part of my PhD journey. Read more…


Source: Wiki Media Commons

Source: Wiki Media Commons

I look up at my current goal-board hanging on my wall above my desk at eye level. On it I have 9 post-it notes with various short-hand messages jotted down on them. Each message corresponds to a goal of sorts that I wish to achieve. They are as follows:

Read more…

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I’m slow; I read slowly, think slowly and write slowly. In the best of times this is merely a little annoying but at the worst of times it can be debilitating. This especially applies to writing and I’m not alone here. It can be a real source of anxiety for many graduate students. Even journaling and free writing, otherwise easy creative processes, can be laden with perfectionist expectations that can hinder productivity. None of what I’m saying will come as a surprise to most grad students because, A: as mentioned, it’s aquite common, and B: even if we did think we were alone in feeling this way, the slew of books, blogs, articles, webinars and workshops dedicated to reassuring us that we’re not and providing advice for getting around it should serve as a reminder.

Read more…

Best practice when blogging on Thesis Talk / Dea-chleachtais

Here are a few tips to follow when blogging on Thesis Talk.

Tá roinnte nodanna ar fáil anseo maidir le blogáil ar Trácht ar Thráchtais.

Read more…

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