Wissenschaft schreiben – beyond paper writing

Ich habe gerade eine Anfrage erhalten von einer Forschungseinrichtung, die sich durch eine immens wichtige Aufgabe und einen entsprechenden Anspruch auszeichnet: die weltweit besten WissenschaftlerInnen anzuziehen und mit diesen auf höchstem Niveau zu forschen. Hier geht es um Workshops für DoktorandInnen. Das habe ich zum Anlass genommen, mich zu fragen: Wie kann, wie muss in einem Umfeld mit diesem Anspruch die Schreibausbildung junger WissenschafterInnen aussehen? Weiterlesen

Read to write? A review of „Writing about Learning and Teaching in Higher Education“

A review of „Writing about Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Creating and Contributing to Scholarly Conversations across a Range of Genres“ by Mick Healy, Kelly E. Matthews, and Alison Cook-Sather

[This review was written for the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, JLDHE initially; but then we couldn’t agree on issues that I considered too important to give up, especially when reviewing a book like this one, and criticising it the way I do. So I withdrew my submission, and decided to go with the blog-post alone.]

What does a book on academic writing need to deliver? That depends on what we want academic writing to be. Academic progress happens not only because we think: it happens because we are all different, we work differently, we think differently; and if we manage to draw on each other’s experiences, insights, and questions, we can think further than before, sometimes even further than we had ever imagined. For that to happen, we need to write. For that to happen as widely and as well as possible, we need to write in a certain way: so that others will read what we have written, understand what we mean to tell them, and get engaged to think about it. Could this book help with that? Yes – and no. There is a lot that is remarkably good about this book; but in other aspects it really disappoints. Weiterlesen

Neben dem Beruf zu Master oder Promotion: Spezielles Coaching-Angebot

Effizient an Master oder Promotion herangehen

Sie sind ehrgeizig und erfolgreich in Ihrem Beruf; Sie wissen, was Sie können – und jetzt möchten Sie das noch ausbauen und Ihre Kompetenz durch einen Master- oder Doktortitel unterstreichen? Wer berufsbegleitend an Thesis oder Dissertation schreibt, der hat keine Zeit zu verschenken. Umso wichtiger ist es, Ihr Vorhaben von Anfang an optimal zu gestalten:

  • ein Thema zu wählen, das Sie wirklich motiviert;
  • die Fragestellung so einzuengen, dass Sie mit überschaubarem Aufwand zu ganz wörtlich bemerkenswerten Ergebnissen gelangen können;
  • Ihre Denkprozesse und Arbeitsabläufe durch hilfreiche Methoden zu unterstützen, gleich ob aus Psychologie oder Projektmanagement;
  • und vor allem effektiv zu schreiben!

Coaching-Unterstützung mit regelmäßigen Terminen

Ich unterstütze vorrangig Wissenschaftler, die berufsbegleitend an ihrer Qualifikationsarbeit schreiben. Als besonders wirksam hat sich dabei ein Konzept mit regelmäßigen Terminen bewährt: 


Adversity is your ally (and so are obstacles)

At my workshops with universities and research organisations, we tend to spend quite a lot of time on an exercise called „Jumping Obstacles“ (based on the card deck „75 tools for creative thinking“ by Cordoba Rubino/Hazenberg/Huisman, by the way). This has proven to be very helpful; and if you’re interested in the science behind this, you might want to read about Gabrielle Oettingen’s research: it shows that plain positive thinking is actually harmful, but having a vision and combining this with developing a strategy to deal with upcoming obstacles will help enormously with reaching one’s goals.

Yet obstacles are much more than just a hindrance to deal with, something to get over. Actually the obstacles are what can make your work good, more than just solid – remarkable. This may sound ridiculous at first, but there is a reason to it. Weiterlesen

To get to the desired end, you have to forget about it

So you want to write a doctoral thesis or something similar? First of all you need to know where you’re headed; otherwise you’ll never get there:

  • You really have to know why you want to do this. The more complex, hard and time-consuming the project, the more important this will be.
  • You have to know your goal: what is it you aim for?
  • You have to know what this means for the text you are trying to produce: which criteria will it need to meet?

Yet at the same time you have to be aware that „writing“ actually means two completely different things: the text as an outcome, and the process leading to it. I assume you want to produce the best text possible. What must seem like a paradox to you is the central point of good writing:

To produce a really great text, quite often you will have to forget about all criteria for that when working your way towards it. Weiterlesen

Write like a pro: workshop with GIGA Hamburg

In October and November I’ll be heading north again: for a workshop with GIGA Hamburg.

GIGA, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, is an independent social science research institute and member of the Leibniz association. There they have a very impressive concept of providing their incoming doctoral students with a number of workshops to give them the best possible start. I will give one of these workshops: Weiterlesen

Choosing a PhD subject: there’s more to it than THE tells you!

On their Facebook site, academics.com have posted a link to a Times Higher Education piece on choosing a PhD subject.

This article contains some useful tips, but I don’t think it suitable for general guidance on the issue – probably because it focuses too heavily on the thesis as an outcome, instead of the process leading to it. And some of the statements are just wrong: like the advice to go for an empirical study rather than a theoretical one, because a PhD student is considered too young to come up with a major breakthrough. This is just bollocks! Some major scientific discoveries have been made as part of a doctoral thesis, and people have even won Nobel prizes for their theses. So, be a proper academic: don’t believe everything you see, even if it is said to come from an expert.

I coach academic writers of all levels and fields, mostly doctoral students though, and I give workshops on how to succeed with your PhD thesis for universities and international PhD events. Based on my experience and a lot of research into everything that can help with writing one’s thesis, from psychology to agile project management, I’d recommend a more systematic approach to make sure you get off on the right foot. So here you go: Weiterlesen