How to become a literature searching ninja

The Thesis Whisperer

We often talk about ‘searching the literature’ – but how do you actually do it?

Literature searches are one of those skills that we assume students already have when they get into a PhD. As a consequence we rarely make time to explicitly teach the skills, so it’s probably not surprising that I meet many students who feel like they aren’t doing it ‘right’. Many of these confused students are too afraid to ask for help from their supervisor. I think the fear comes from the feeling that you should know, even if you have never been properly taught.

This fear, by the way, is a good example of the effects of what my friend Dr Mary-Helen Ward would call the ‘hidden curriculum’ of the PhD. The hidden curriculum is created by the environment in which you are located and instills you with the norms and values of your academic…

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How to write 1000 words a day (and not go bat shit crazy)

The Thesis Whisperer

Recently I Tweeted a link to an article called “How to write 1000 words a day for your blog” which I thought had some good productivity tips for thesis writers. @webnemesis wrote back: ” would like to see someone write a blog post on how to write 1000 words of substance for yr dissertation every day”. Of course I answered: “Challenge? Accepted!”

When I was nearing the end of my PhD, I added up the number of words I had to write and divided them by the number of days of study leave I had left. Then I freaked out and had to have a little lie down. According to my calculations I had to write 60,000 words in 3 months.

After a  cup of tea (with maybe just a whiff of scotch in it) I contemplated this problem and made a PLAN, which was cobbled together from all the advice books on writing I…

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What to say when someone asks you: “Should I do a PhD?”

The Thesis Whisperer

“Do you think I should do a PhD?”

It seems like I can’t go to a party without at least one person asking me this question – does this happen to you too? I probably shouldn’t be surprised; according to a recent government report the number of people undertaking a research degree in Australia has increased by 41%  over the last 10 or so years.

There’s no doubt that some students start without realistic expectations of the amount of work that is involved and how it may affect their life, which is why I was pleased when Dr Ehsan Gharaie, a lecturer in the school of property Construction and project management at RMIT, sent me this guest post.

As a recent PhD graduate in a field which is relatively new to this form of education, Ehsan tells me that he is often approached by people who ask him

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So, you’re starting a PhD?

The Thesis Whisperer

This month, all around Australia, there will be a whole crop of PhD students starting their degree. It’s an exciting time, but a nerve-wracking one as well. Here’s another post to help you start your journey!

This post is by Erika Harris, PhD Candidate. Erika has a Master’s degree in Education, General Education and has worked in instructional design and development in both corporate and higher education settings in the U.S & Australia. Currently Erika is an educational developer, elearning, for RMIT designing online and hybrid courses working with academics in the higher education and vocational education sectors. In this post Erika reflects on the advice given about why NOT to do a PhD and why you would still give it a go anyway.

I am a new PhD student, and have been reading and conversing with current and past PhD students and have come to the sad conclusion…

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Lupakan Soal Beasiswa, Kamu Pejuang Malas!

a madeandi's life

Tentu saja tulisan ini bukan untuk Anda, pembaca yang budiman. Tulisan ini adalah untuk orang yang tidak Anda kenal. Orang yang memiliki keinginan untuk mendapatkan beasiswa luar negeri tetapi tidak sadar kalau dirinya menderita kemalasan stadium tinggi. Saya menyebutnya pejuang malas dengan ciri-ciri seperti ini:

  1. Menanyakan hal-hal yang sebenarnya ada di website atau buku panduan beasiswa. Mereka malas membaca.
  2. Selalu mengatakan ‘tes TOEFL/IELTS mahal banget’ tapi malas menabung dan tetap rajin nongkrong di cafe 😉
  3. Sibuk berpikir caranya lolos beasiswa meskipun tidak memenuhi syarat. Mereka tidak fokus berusaha agar bisa memenuhi syarat. Anehnya, dengan begitu mereka merasa kreatif.
  4. Mudah bertanya “syarat beasiswanya apa saja?” Seakan itu satu rahasia yang tidak ada di website atau buku panduan (terutama jika ditanyakan lewat email ketika penanya memiliki akses internet yang memadai).
  5. Bertanya “jurusan yg cocok buat saya apa ya?” seakan orang lain lebih paham tentang dirinya. Untuk menggali bakat dan minat sendiri saja…

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The 'Green' Machine

the man in my story and the GREEN machine. Photo by. Neni Marlina

Tokyo is a city with almost free from cigarette buds. That was the first thing across in my mind when I visited Tokyo in September 2012. I went almost bare foot from Tokyo – Harajuku – Tokyo and …Thank God, my feet were just fine, never stepped on any particular ‘hazards’. Then I studied that there are quite many signboards of ‘no smoking’ here and there. In addition to that, people obey the rules of those all ‘no smoking’.

here is more fact I can tell: I spot one particular shape of box in green painted which is located here and there among the crowd, i.e. intersection, train station…. what the machines are for. In the bus during my other visits to Harajuku, I noticed a man walking while smoking approaching that ‘green’ box, stood there a while until his cigarette was finished. …then put the cigarette buds inside the machine….and continue his walk along the Harajuku. AHAAA…that green box is cigarettes buds recycle machine!

Rules, regulation and other supporting facilities to advise people to throw the cigarette buds properly can be established by most governments, it is building the character of the citizen to obey the rules that matters. Yeap, Government and people of Japan apparently manage to solve that homework, I guess.

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Indonesia-Japan. Part I) WHERE IS ‘KATE HILL’ GOING?


After visiting Moscow two weeks ago, now I am visiting Tokyo. It is just seven hour flights from Indonesia. However, long distance flight to Eastern part usually takes us the late at night boarding …..and that surely I am NOT keen on. It is a direct flight and everything should be fine then. Just fine ….until I missed my ‘Kate-Hill’ trolley bag!

Clear and Clean, I told you I was alone, right.

I arrived at Narita International airport at around 8am, walking and enjoying the morning breeze of Tokyo. Almost alone (I wonder why? I am alone in this ‘ninth busiest airfreight hub in the world’, Wikipedia)….walking along the corridor, immigration check…taking some picts here and there, heading to the baggage claim…and I heard someone calling my last name with the weird accent.

I tried hard to understand his word, then with some helps of ‘wild gestures^^ I concluded that the officer asked me to the station which labeled “Baggage Loss”. NO, not NOW! I will have an important workshop and all my papers are with Kate-Hill..ehmmm (#KateHill is a famous brand originated from Melbourne. I am familiar with Kate Hill during my study in the Australian National University, Canberra. Kate-Hill is about bags, handbags etc. oh, just click here by the way:

Next click, I will write on how I survive during my early days in Tokyo for an international workshop, without KateHill and all with her:)

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