CVs and Academic Websites

On April 14th, Dr Itamar Kastner will be holding a workshop aimed at PhD students in MGRG. It will be about getting CVs and academic websites ready. If you’ve got something already (even if it’s just a draft), you can bring it along for discussion. But it’s fine to come just to talk — no preparation is required. The workshop will be held on the MGRG Skills Workshop team in Microsoft Teams. If you’re in MGRG but have not joined that team, please send Itamar a message.

IAD PGT Dissertation Workshops

PGT dissertation writers will find some of the upcoming workshops from the Institute for Academic Development to be of interest. Relevant titles include:

  • Being Critical for your Dissertation (Mar 24)
  • The Art and Craft of Editing (Mar 29)
  • Dissertation Planning (Mar 30)
  • Dissertation Writing (Mar 30)
  • Critical Reading (Apr 1)
  • Critical Writing (Apr 1)
  • How to Plan, Run, and Complete Your Project (Apr 1)

The full collection is available at https://www.ed.ac.uk/institute-academic-development/postgraduate/taught/courses-events/open-workshops

PhD/PGR Online Writing Retreats

It might surprise you at first that writing retreats have moved online. After all, some of the key benefits of in-person retreats (the provision of a quiet space & various delivery vehicles for caffeine) are no longer relevant when you’re sitting in your own room.

But there are good reasons to give online retreats a try. There’s the camaraderie, of course, but also externally imposed structure. You might be less likely to wander off to check the news if you know that other people will see you.

If you’re interested in attending, consider signing up for a session. There are two retreats held by the Institute for Academic Development on Nov 16th and 27th. There are also regular sessions every Monday and Friday held by Dr Mirjam Eiswirth, who worked for the PPLS Skills/Writing Centre for four years before moving to the University of Duisburg-Essen. She has held over 150 hours so far this year!

Both of these sessions are aimed at PGR and PhD students. Postdocs and other staff are welcome, too.

Something to do while we’re waiting

Eager for the semester to start? There are plenty of ways to build up your skills and knowledge in preparation for the upcoming year.  You could watch a recorded workshop on how to write an essay in philosophy, read about the different ways of conducting psychology experiments online, or learn how to use your computer to keep track of your notes and references. 

All of this and more is available to UoE students at the PPLS Learning Resources site.

Learn a new skill: Referencing software

Every year the number of publications you have to track will grow. This will become unmanageable around the same time that you will no longer have time to learn new software: when writing your dissertation. That’s why it’s a good idea to start using a reference manager as soon as possible. You’ll find that writing becomes much easier when your brain isn’t occupied with worries about tracking citations and updating your bibliography.

When I last surveyed staff members, Mendeley and EndNote were two of the most popular choices. Mendeley has ample documentation at their site, and there’s a LinkedIn Learning course called EndNote Essential Training.

For more on essential academic skills, visit “Developing your skills” at PPLS Learning Resources.

Dissertation Guides

Karen Fleet, our librarian in PPLS, has sent through a list of books on how to write dissertations that are available (at least temporarily) through DiscoverEd. To access this list, go to our Learning Resources site, select “DiscoverEd lists” from the menu at the top, and click on “Dissertation guides”. For a more general guide to academic writing, check out Booth et al.’s The Craft of Research (see “The fundamentals” for a description and a link).

MSc Dissertation Exemplars

Writing a dissertation is easier if you have an idea of what you should be aiming for. To see some well-received PPLS dissertations from previous years, head over to our Writing Examples page. We’ll add to this collection again.