Category Archives: Writing

Learning to write is like learning to play tennis: written feedback is not always useful

Sometimes giving feedback on student writing is straightforward. They have missed something important, so we tell them what they didn’t know, or we tell them to do what they missed: for example, “criterion is singular and criteria plural”, or “You … Continue reading

Posted in Postgraduate education, Writing

Digging deeper: How do I tell where to go deeper?

When we write academically, one of our main tasks is to deeply explore the topics we write about. It is not enough to present a superficial overview, so we need to drill deep. Yet it is often difficult to judge … Continue reading

Posted in Reflection and improvement, Writing

Snow writing

Like many people, I schedule writing time to make sure I fit it in my busy week. But sticking to your schedule is often difficult, and there are many good reasons why you might miss your writing time (like getting … Continue reading

Posted in Postgraduate education, Writing

My student complains I don’t give enough feedback, but I give lots of feedback!

Here is my reflective, diagnostic process for figuring out what to do when I face situations like this. My initial analysis of the situation: Although my feedback practices normally work for my students, they aren’t working for this student. I … Continue reading

Posted in Postgraduate education, Reflection and improvement, Writing

Let me be clear! How can I tell when I need to clarify my writing?

I taught a workshop for supervisors recently about assisting your students to write. I said that one reason why our students write badly is because they cannot tell whether their writing is good enough. When they read their own writing … Continue reading

Posted in Postgraduate education, Reflection and improvement, Writing

Framing your advice for thesis writers: What would your examiners think?

I stumbled across a useful trick for cultivating good writing for thesis students. If I frame my writing advice as ‘this will help you deal with your examiners’ then thesis students are more likely to act on the advice. My … Continue reading

Posted in Postgraduate education, Writing