Author Archives: Prof_Alistair

The PhD as Quest: The Movie!!


In 2013, I presented a paper at the excellent biennial Stellenbosch conference on doctoral supervision. It drew on the poet W.H Auden’s discussion of the ‘hero’ as a key component in Quest literature, a form of story known to all … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How many references should I have in my thesis? How many references do I need in this paper?


Its the question everyone has asked at one time or another. Its also the question every supervisor is asked by almost all of her or his research students. ‘How many references should I have in my thesis/chapter/conference paper/article?’ Put simply … Continue reading

Posted in Academic integrity, Publishing, Research writing, Thesis writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Invitation to complete a short survey on ‘Influential literature and scholars in the field of doctoral education’


As is easily discovered, I work as part of the Research Education Team in the Learning & Teaching Unit at the University of South Australia and I am currently working on a research project examining: (a) the most influential and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to select an examiner for your PhD


Some great advice on choosing an examiner for your PhD or Masters by Research has just been published on the Doctoral Writing SIG blog. The piece is titled ‘Choosing the examiner: It’s in everyone’s interests to get students involved’ and … Continue reading

Posted in Examination | Tagged | Leave a comment

Responding to email and tweeting conferences – a beginner’s guide for the experienced user


Dealing with the digital world is not always easy, particularly for the beginner. In addition to the technology, which can be daunting, there are also issues associated with the etiquette of the various media. So, it was pleasing earlier today … Continue reading

Posted in Communication skills, Research communication | Tagged , | Leave a comment

After the UK REF, the IREF…the Intergalactic Research Excellence Framework


For the last couple of decades, exercises to assess the extent to which university research is excellent have been all the rage. The UK led the way with the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) to be followed by Australia, New Zealand, … Continue reading

Posted in Higher education policy, Research, Uncategorized, University ranking systems | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tips for interpreting research…the do’s and the don’t’s


There’s an increasing volume of research being published, driven in large part by the ‘publish or perish’ culture and the associated regular national assessments of research quality, and also university league tables. Because research is presented in print form, this … Continue reading

Posted in Publishing, Research methods, Research writing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment