starting the phd – comparing and contrasting papers

Thinking of starting a PhD. Read this, it shall help.


Wondering how to bring some of those texts you are reading together? Working with literatures always requires you to summarise, then compare and contrast various aspects of a text. This is a little exercise I often ask people to do right at the start of the PhD. It offers a way to practice a systematic comparison of texts.

It’s best to save this kind of very detailed exercise for the texts you want to work most closely with, but reduced versions of this exercise are a helpful way to get your head around a chunk of material you want to interrogate.

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defining a contribution – #studythewriting

Now this is how to approach a contribution!


So you are going to write a paper/book/thesis. You suspect – no, you know – that you’ll need to state your contribution at the outset so that the reader knows what to expect. So it will helpful, as part of your preparation for writing, to examine the ways in which other, perhaps more experienced, writers have accomplished this same task. This is going to mean studying some published texts.

Studying the writing of others requires looking not simply for the technicalities of their writing, but also the work that their writing does.In this post I’m going to ‘show’ how I approach a small chunk of text to see how it’s been constructed and to what ends. In this necessarily brief ‘show and tell’, I’m looking to see how two co-writers define their place in the field and the contribution to be made.

41b-N9JHl4L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The text I’ve chosen is the introduction…

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