Should You Quit Your PhD?

At a recent business networking event, I met no fewer than three people who’d quit their PhD. Although they believed it was the right decision, they still felt a sense of failure or defeat. Estimates vary, but it’s likely that around 40% of PhD students leave. The figures are much higher for part-time students and …

Read more

Photo of Charles Darwin

Dealing with Darwin Days

In 1861, Charles Darwin wrote in a letter: “But I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything.” Ever had a Darwin Day? Yep, me too. It’s frustrating when we’ve put aside some time for deep work, then our brain refuses to cooperate. There are a few options to consider, though: …

Read more

Photo of proofreading

Should You Hire a Professional Proofreader for Your Thesis?

Proofreading is perhaps the one activity I dislike even more than housework. This stage is unbelievably tedious, but absolutely crucial. Typos creep in all the time, especially when you’re stressed and frantically editing the text. The only way to approach proofreading is calmly and systematically. And you need to do this right at the end, …

Read more

Implementing Feedback from Your Supervisor

Does this sound familiar? The long-awaited email lands in your inbox — it’s the feedback on that piece of writing. Your stomach ends up in your slippers and you feel slightly clammy. You open the document and start reading. Disaster! Your supervisor clearly hates this piece of work. It’s a sea of red comments and …

Read more

Photo of someone transcribing

Three of the Best Tools for Transcribing Interviews

It’s fun doing interviews, but who actually likes transcribing them afterwards? The novelty wears off after about 5 minutes. Unless you’re a fast and accurate typist, this activity is also incredibly time-consuming. Fortunately, it’s now possible to get near-perfect transcripts at a very low cost. In my previous post, I explained how you could use …

Read more

Photo of highlighter pens

How to make Zotero even better with Zotfile

My love for Zotero is great, but even I have to admit that it’s not perfect. Thankfully, a third-party plugin called Zotfile makes up for its minor limitations with PDF management. Here are the two features I’ve found particularly beneficial. 1) Extraction of highlights and annotations from PDFs I warn you, this feature is exciting. …

Read more

Photo of camera and books

Organising and Annotating Research Photos with Tropy

If you’ve been rummaging in the archives, you probably have a lot of digital images. They can be quite tricky to manage, especially when you’ve got more than a few dozen. Although tools like Zotero are great for bibliographic data, they’re not really suited to archival material. Fortunately, the Zotero developers have also created Tropy. …

Read more

Protecting Your Assets by Backing Up

Laptops get stolen, memory sticks seldom survive an accidental boil wash (I’m on my third), and Word can be relied upon to corrupt your most important document. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realise the importance of backing up until it’s too late. If you’ve spent many years working on a research project, then your data …

Read more