Detox Your Writing

Strategies for Doctoral Researchers

By Pat Thomson, Barbara Kamler

© 2015 – Routledge

208 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415820844
pub: 2016-01-14
e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

There are a number of books for doctoral researchers which aim to help them. Unfortunately, many of the texts that most directly address questions of doctoral writing offer a rigid model of the dissertation that follows a set format and style. Their style consists largely of tips and tricks – do as I say and it’ll all work out. This book offers something completely new to help those undertaking postgraduate research.

The authors distinctive approach to doctoral writing mobilises the rich traditions of linguistic scholarship, as well as the literatures on scholarly formation. Building on years of expertise they place their emphasis both on tools and techniques as well as the discursive practices of becoming a scholar.

Here the authors provide a wide repertoire of strategies that doctoral students can select from rather than a linear lock step progression through a set of exercises. The book is a toolkit but a far from prescriptive one… as they show, there are many routes to developing a personal academic voice and identity. With exercises and points for reflection alongside examples from a broad range of disciplines the book offer thinking tools, writing tools, linguistic tools, and reading tools which are relevant to three stages of doctoral research:

  • Beginning work: Designing the study, becoming a scholar

  • Middle work: Performing the paper, putting the work out there

  • End work: Arguing the contribution, writing the examinable text

This structure is also designed to support writing throughout the doctorate rather than seeing it as an ending stage of ‘writing up’, which is the general position taken by many advice books. Here the authors do not to tell doctoral students what to do, but rather offer sets of strategies and let then try them out.

This practical text can be used in all university doctoral training and composition and writing courses. However it is not a dry hand-holding guide that ignores debates or focuses solely on the mechanical at the expense of the lived experience of doctoral research. It provides a practical, real-world, guide to postgraduate writing.

About the Authors

Barbara Kamler is an Emeritus Professor at Deakin University and an Honorary Professor at The University of Sydney. Thomson is Professor of Education and Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies at The University of Nottingham, a special Professor at Deakin University and an adjunct Professor at the Free University, South Africa. She blogs regularly on doctoral education on

Kamler and Thomson have an established reputation in the field. Thomson is an active PhD supervisor and both conduct writing workshops for universities in a range of locations. They have written a number of articles, book chapters and two other books together: Helping doctoral students write: pedagogies for supervision (2006) and Writing for peer reviewed journals: Strategies for getting published (2012). Kamler is co-editor of Publishing pedagogies for the doctorate and beyond (2010). Thomson is co editor of The Routledge Doctoral Students Companion and The Routledge Doctoral Supervisors Companion (2010). The books are all published by Routledge.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Reference