Tools for Writing

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Here are 4 interesting online resources that can help in the sometimes difficult task of academic writing.

1. The Academic Phrase Bank from The University of Manchester

The academic phrase bank really helped me as I was writing my PhD thesis, even if you end up not using any of the sentences they suggest, just by reading them it can help you get unstuck when you’re looking for phrases to compare, contrast, be critical etc. .  that helped me at different moments

2. University of Richmond Writing Center

It’s called ‘Writer’s Web’ and has quite a bit to explore. It can definitely be useful and has information from ‘Getting started’, to ‘First drafts’, ‘Focusing ideas’, ‘Clarity and Style’, and much more.

3. The Cache (Tracy Duckart’s Instructional Website at Humboldt State University)

I think some of the Prewriting exercises and the Elements of Style are particularly interesting and useful. Some parts of the website do not seem to be working but then there’s things like ‘Avoiding Oatmeal Verbs’ (Referring to the verbs to be, to give, to have, to say, to use) which suggests verbs to use instead. And ‘My Best Advice about Thesis Statements: Tattoo on the inside of your eyelids the following definition: “[A thesis] is a debatable point, one about which reasonable persons can disagree. It is not merely a fact [. . .]. Nor is it a statement of belief [or faith] [. . .]. Neither facts nor beliefs can be substantiated by reasons, so they cannot serve as a thesis for an argument” (Hacker 574).’

4. ASK – Assignment Survival Kit from Staffordshire University

This one is maybe not that useful if you’re writing your PhD thesis as it seems to be aimed at undergrads doing their first assignments but I still thought it was interesting to look at their suggested steps when writing an essay.

You provide a start date a due date and select from a list of types of assignment and this software ‘will help you to plan your time and the steps you might need to follow to survive and produce your first piece of assessed work’.

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I’m sure there are many others, and I will add to this list.

Please feel free to share other writing tools available online!

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Sickness gone, welcome back brain!

End of April

After weeks of feeling miserable and not really capable of doing anything I was really happy when finally I felt I could get some work done, I was feeling a lot better and magically I could cope with the idea of having to write and finish chapters of my PhD thesis.

Unfortunately the sickness was substituted by migraines and all different sorts of pain in my head – medication? Well… not really. I was still happy because it was better than the previous weeks of “morning” sickness (still feels wrong to call it morning!)