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Writing a thesis is like…

I read this beautifully crafted metaphor for the PhD process as a weaving project. It really captures the dedication and labour of love, and I liked it so much, that it has inspired me to list a few of the metaphors I use. I’ve found about PhD research is that it’s far too big and varied to be confined to one metaphor. I feel different ones apply at different times. So let me introduce you to the ones that work for me, the PhD researcher as a miner, soldier, lion-tamer, joiner and master embroiderer. Continue reading →

Brewing up a storm: what’s in a beer name?

The award-winning real ale ‘Top Totty’ brewed by Slaters has been removed from sale in the Parliamentary bars after some MPs and feminist commentators complained the name, along with the beer’s ‘bikini bunny girl’ label image, demeaned women.

I am a real ale drinker, and I want prize-winning real beers to promoted and enjoyed as part of traditional British culture. I am also a feminist and I understand the complaint.
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New Research Paper: Punishing with care: Revising the conceptual vocabulary of punishment

Recently I had the great pleasure of giving a working paper at the Global Politics, Economy and Society graduate conference at Oxford Brookes University. I’m very grateful to the organisers, Matt Hurley and Matt Donoghue, for putting the conference together and to all those who attended for their helpful questions. I look forward to using the feedback to improve my work and tighten up my ideas, but in the meantime, you can find the my paper ‘Punishing with care: Revising the conceptual vocabulary of state criminal punishment’ here and the slides to go with it here.

or view them below:

Got any comments? Feedback is more than welcome!

How to apply for Postgrad funding – How to make a strong application

So, once you’ve you’ve decided you want to apply for further study, at whatever level, you’ll want to think about the practicalities. As discussed in other posts, deciding to go back to school will have a big impact on your life and the lives of those around you. One of your first concerns will be where is the money going to come from to pay the rent and put food on the table? This is the second part of a two part post: Part 1 was Where to look for funding, this is Part 2 – How to make a strong application.
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How to apply for postgrad funding – where to look

So, once you’ve you’ve decided you want to apply for further study, at whatever level, you’ll want to think about the practicalities. As discussed in other posts, deciding to go back to school will have a big impact on your life and the lives of those around you. One of your first concerns will be where is the money going to come from to pay the rent and put food on the table? This post will be in two parts: Part 1 – Where to look for funding and Part 2 – How to make a strong application, to follow soon.
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Make your own Moleskine notebook

Everyone seems to love these notebooks, so when I stumbled across this tutorial to make your own, I just had to share it. This is perfect for your average broke student. What better way to save some money, recycle, and keep yourself occupied for free on a rainy winter’s night?
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How to write a Research Proposal

‘To apply for a PhD’ says the University website ‘send us a completed application form…’ – relatively straight forward – ‘…and a copy of your research proposal’ ….a what?

I spent ages turning in circles asking ‘what is a research proposal’? What should it contain? In how much detail? How long should be? Nowhere does anyone ever explain what a research proposal actually is. This post should answer some of your research proposal questions.
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How to formulate a research question

I had difficulty nailing down the thing I was interested in as a researchable question for my Masters dissertation. I found ‘The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb and Williams’ (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing and Publishing) really helpful then, and also for trying to formulate a research question for my PhD. This book has a couple of short chapters that take you through working out what you’re interested in and why, and then ways to turn that into a research question that are really worth reading…
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Should I apply for a PhD?

This is the $64,000 question that many grad students will be asking themselves about now – you enjoyed your first degree, maybe you’ve gotten interested in a particular topic in a postgrad course, and you’re wondering if the PhD route is for you. I’m currently an Arts & Humanities PhD student in the UK system (the system in Europe and North America is a little different, as is the process for science and social science). This post is a collection of the most helpful advice I got, and the things I wish I’d known when I was considering whether to apply.
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The importance of Trust in Care as a Practice

Finally – a post that’s relevant to my research. It’s my first one, so go easy one me. This brief post on the ethic of care considers the relation aspect of practical care-giving, and questions whether the important factor that does the work is actually the existence of trust between the cared-for and care giver. This is very much a work in progress. Interested parties are welcome to comment, but please do not cite without the author’s permission.

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