Having gone through 5 years of undergraduate and postgraduate education in the UK, which has led me to now pursue a PhD, there has not been one week in the later years of my higher education experience, where friends and family members have not consulted me about academic issues such as referencing correctly, coming up with a bachelor’s thesis topic and getting it in shape, or conducting online research for this same thesis and how to best go about it.
I could list many more issues here and each and every one of them has its own right of being asked. The thing about academic work is that it can be incredibly exciting (at least for some including me, otherwise I guess I wouldn’t have ended up starting a PhD), yet equally daunting. The thing about academic staff is that they can be incredibly friendly and caring, yet equally unhelpful in their feedback and comments. And finally, the thing about academic literature is that it can be incredibly insightful and deep, yet equally abstract and not to the point. What’s more, often both academics and their publications can be quite detailed in the things they tell us, yet leave out the common sense stuff that we would need to understand first in order to appreciate their deep thinking. Here I am again referring to the tools of the trade like referencing, coming up with a research question or simply reading an article effectively and retrieving and retaining the relevant information. Having said all this, it is now one of my missions to address this problem by providing first-hand information on how to actually do these kinds of things based on my own experiences, the knowledge I have amassed over the years of being a student and young researcher myself and my constant review of the methods literature out there.
Please see this blog as a helping hand and a platform where no question about academic things is too banal to be asked. It is the little things that confuse us and mess up our day. We have all seen them and struggled with them ourselves. Comments and suggestions for topics to be covered are also very welcome!