Helping Doctoral Students Write : Pedagogies for supervision book cover
2nd Edition

Helping Doctoral Students Write
Pedagogies for supervision

ISBN 9780415823494
Published March 4, 2014 by Routledge
208 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Helping Doctoral Students Write offers a proven approach to effective doctoral writing. By treating research as writing and writing as research, the authors offer pedagogical strategies for doctoral supervisors that will assist the production of well-argued and lively dissertations.

It is clear that many doctoral candidates find research writing complicated and difficult, but the advice they receive often glosses over the complexities of writing and/or locates the problem in the writer. Kamler and Thomson provide a highly effective framework for scholarly work that is located in personal, institutional and cultural contexts.

The pedagogical approach developed in the book is based on the notion of writing as a social practice. This approach allows supervisors to think of doctoral writers as novices who need to learn new ways with words as they enter the discursive practices of scholarly communities. This involves learning sophisticated writing practices with specific sets of conventions and textual characteristics. The authors offer supervisors practical advice on helping with commonly encountered writing tasks such as the proposal, the journal abstract, the literature review and constructing the dissertation argument.

The first edition of this book has helped many academics and thousands of research students produce better written material. Now fully updated the second edition includes:

  • Examples from a broader range of academic disciplines
  • A new chapter on writing from the thesis for peer reviewed journals
  • More advice on reading and note taking, performance and conferences,
  • Further information on developing a personal academic writing style, and
  • Advice on the use of social media (blogs, tweets and wikis) to create trans-disciplinary and trans-national networks and conversations.


Their discussion of the complexities of forming a scholarly identity is illustrated throughout by stories and writings of actual doctoral students.

In conclusion, they present a persuasive and proven argument that universities must move away from simply auditing supervision to supporting the development of scholarly research communities. Any supervisor keen to help their students develop as academics will find the ideas and practical solutions presented in this book fascinating and insightful reading.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Putting doctoral writing center stage

Chapter 2. Writing the doctorate, writing the scholar

Chapter 3. Persuading an octopus into a jar

Chapter 4. Getting on top of the research literatures

Chapter 5. Reconsidering the personal

Chapter 6. A linguistic toolkit for supervisors

Chapter 7. Structuring the dissertation argument

Chapter 8. Publishing out of the thesis

Chapter 9 Institutionalizing doctoral writing practices

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Barbara Kamler is an Emeritus Professor at Deakin University, Australia.

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education and Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies at The University of Nottingham, UK.


"The book is very readable and engagingly written. The use of quotations from doctoral students and supervisors make the book lively and the inclusion of figures and highlighted text effectively prevents monotonous presentation. Supported by ten pages of rich and state-of-the art studies on the topic, this book is not only a firm platform but also a reliable springboard for supervision." - Franklin Obeng-Odoom, an early career supervisor, is the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at School of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.