Communication, Research

391. Resources for PhD students: information your supervisors may not tell you

Over the years I’ve written quite a few Pannell Discussions (and some other things) that are intended to be useful to postgraduate research students. Here I’ve pulled together a collection of these resources to make it easy to see what is available. They cover skills you need to master other than doing the research itself. Some bits are targeted at applied economists, but most of the material is not discipline-specific.

I’ve got plans to add a few more pieces of this type to the list when I get time (e.g., how to respond to reviewer comments), so check back here later for more suggestions and advice.

Writing efficiently and correctly

Using an efficient process for writing – gives a detailed step-by-step example of how I write something (a Pannell Discussion).

How to cite references properly – it’s pretty common for people to do a poor job of citing references in their academic writing. Here’s how to avoid that.

Writing a literature review – suggestions on how to do a good lit review.

On the need for clarity when describing changes in percentage terms – one of my pet gripes is when people are ambiguous about percentages.

Microsoft Word tips – it is well worth investing some time to develop your Word skills.

Here are a few tips about grammar rules that I find people sometimes get wrong:

Grammar tip: hyphens

Grammar tip: however

Grammer tip: split infinitives are not a problem

I recommend that you install Grammarly and use it to check the grammar in all your writing. It’s free.

Publishing in and reviewing for journals

Prose, psychopaths and persistence: Personal perspectives on publishing – this is a paper I published back in 2002. Some aspects of the publication process have changed (journals now use online systems, not snail mail for submissions and reviews; turnaround times are, on average, much faster now), but there is much in the paper that is still relevant.

More on the need for persistence when publishing

Responding to journal reviews – how to approach making revisions to your paper if the editor’s decision is revise and resubmit.

Reviewing journal articles – how to conduct a review for a journal. This is also really valuable for authors to understand.

My poem about journal referees

Seminar and conference presentation

PowerPoint tips – so many people do terrible slides. It’s easy to avoid.

Answering questions – after a seminar or conference presentation.

Computer modelling and statistics

How to do a good sensitivity analysis – essential for pretty much any applied economic analysis.

The cult of the asterisk – on the need to not apply statistical criteria too mechanistically.

Microsoft Excel tips

Communicating with non-researchers

Connecting research with policy

Communicating economics to policy makers

Engaging with policy: tips for researchers

On making submissions to government inquiries

Making video lectures

Making video lectures part 2

Other resources you could explore

Alderson, D., Clarke, L., Schillereff, D., Shuttleworth, E. (2023). Navigating the academic ladder as an early career researcher in earth and environmental sciences, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 48(2), 475-486. Here

Almeida-Souza L., Baets J. (2012). PhD survival guide. Some brief advice for PhD students, EMBO Reports 13(3), 189-192. Here

Bellemare, Marc F. (2022). Doing Economics: What You Should Have Learned in Grad School – But Didn’t, MIT Press. Here

Creedy, John. (2007). A PhD thesis without tears, The Australian Economic Review 40(4), 463-470. Here

Jenkins T. (2020). A PhD is just the beginning. Neuronal Signaling 42(4), 60-61. Here

Paltridge, B., Starfield, S. (2019). Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: A Handbook for Students and their Supervisors, Second Edition, 236 pp. Here

Tan, W.C.(2022). Speaking the language of defence: narratives of doctoral examiners on the PhD viva, Qualitative Research Journal 22(4), 478-488. Here