Tips

Advice on Selecting a Prospective Thesis Supervisor

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Although this blog is primarily aimed at technical communications – I am open to posting advice on other academic topics of relevance to university and college students. Today’s post comes at the request of one of our readers – who asked:

“I was hoping that you could do a post/ advise on what prospective students (Masters, PhD, etc) should consider before picking a supervisor. Read the rest of this entry »

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In-Text Citations and References Sections

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Today I’m very excited to bring you our first guest post on this blog.  It was written by my colleague Dr. Evan Davies and it’s all about how to handle your citations and references correctly in a formal report or thesis.  I’m sure you will find this information extremely useful!  Thanks Evan for sharing this great advice with us!   Read the rest of this entry »

Referencing (or how to avoid plagiarizing)…

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One thing I encounter consistently and frequently, from undergrads right up to PhD students, is general confusion about properly referencing source material. Whether it be an assignment, conference presentation, or term paper – students repeatedly present photos, graphs, tables, prose, and concepts painstakingly collected and/or developed by others, with absolutely no acknowledgements to the people who actually own that intellectual property. These students don’t (all) intentionally plagiarise, they just don’t seem to realize that copying the thoughts, ideas, or products of someone else’s efforts actually constitutes plagiarism. So if you’re a college or university student, read on and learn how to get it right…   Read the rest of this entry »

How to request an academic reference

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Most students need an academic reference sooner or later.  Perhaps you are applying for a job or a scholarship – or maybe you are trying to get into a graduate program?  Maybe you’re applying for professional certification or registration as a licensed professional; whatever the reason, getting an academic reference can be notoriously frustrating, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while.  Most professors dislike doing them, primarily because they’re time consuming and it can be quite frustrating trying to come up with sufficient information to do them well.  As a result, it’s not uncommon for professors to procrastinate on these, or to avoid them completely.  If you’re a student seeking an academic reference, my advice is to make it as easy as possible for the professor to do it quickly and effectively.  To help you do this, here below are some tips for getting a high quality academic reference.  Many of these tips also apply when requesting other types of references.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to write to a prospective PhD (or Post-Doc) supervisor

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I’ve noticed recently that a lot of people make their way to this site while searching for advice on how to write to a potential PhD supervisor. I’ve also noticed that many of the letters/emails that I personally get on this topic are actually irrelevant to me, poorly written, or both. So, I figured it might be a good idea to put a little bit of advice out there to help students who are trying to get into a PhD (or Masters) program. All the same principles also apply for those seeking post-doc supervisors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing a Winning Scholarship Proposal – Part 4 – The Closing

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Although this article is primarily aimed at university students writing proposals for scholarship applications – many of these principles and techniques are applicable to other types of proposals, as well. 

In the first post of this series I talked about the outline for the typical scholarship proposal:

We covered the first three topics in posts 1 to 3 of this series.  If you missed any of them, then I suggest you go back and read those first.  Just click on the relevant item in the list above to jump back to those posts.

The last item in the list is the topic of today’s post and, in some ways, it’s the hardest to write.  In addition, as with the conclusions to a paper or report, it’s usually the part that receives the least attention despite its importance.  It’s understandable – fatigue usually kicks in near the end of anything you write.  That’s actually good news for you; if most people are doing it poorly, doing it well yourself will put you ahead of the competition.   Read the rest of this entry »

Writing a Winning Scholarship Proposal – Part 3 – Methodology

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Notes:

Although this article is primarily aimed at graduate students writing proposals for scholarship applications – many of these principles and techniques are applicable to other types of proposals, as well. 

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of this series – I suggest you go back and read those first. 

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We’ve now been through the Pitch Paragraph and Literature Review sections.  The next component of your scholarship proposal is the Methodology section.  It’s extremely important and, though it should be the easiest part to write, few people ever do it well.  Here are some tips to give you the edge over the competition.

Read the rest of this entry »