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Top 10 posts on PhD Talk

It’s interesting to see which posts draw a lot of traffic, as it identifies what most graduate students seem to struggle with or enjoy reading.
Also, if you’re new around here, this post might be a good introduction to my blog.

So here it is, in descending order, the top 10 of most read posts on PhD Talk:

10. How much time does a conference take?
Going to a conference is not just taking the plane and presenting your work. It involves the time required to write your paper, prepare for your presentation and all the extra “little” things that add up. I’ve made the sum for an average conference for me, and I hope it can help you in assessing your planning towards a conference.

9. Book review: Starting research: An introduction to academic research and dissertation writing – Roy Preece
This post reviews a book on the skills required for starting research. Recommended for starting graduate students, especially in the social sciences.

8. Four reasons for blogging
Or why (and why not) I enjoy blogging and you might consider getting started on blogging too…

7. The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research – Gordon Rugg and Marian Petre
A must-read for all PhD students. If you haven’t read it yet, grab a copy from your library (TU Delft has it available in the library) – it’s a great read and it’s full of helpful advice.

6. How to write a paper in two days
A hands-on approach of how to draft a paper in two days straight. You might like to try this out if your supervisor pops in to ask you if you can pull out a paper before that deadline which is in a week from now. Write it in two days, let it rest a day, revise and discuss with your supervisor, make changes and submit.

5. How to handle a large amount of literature
On my hunt for experiments similar to mine, I ended up acquiring a mountain of information. This post describes how I kept this information manageable and usable. Also, make sure to check out the comments section.

4. Magritte
Every now and then, I write about traveling, art or a good book. Apparently, searches on the Belgian surrealist painter Magritte seem to bring some visitors this way. Maybe not the typical post for graduate students, but if a conference brings you to Brussels, why not visit the Magritte museum?

3. Five reasons why I decided to pursue a PhD
A rather short post on why I decided to start doctoral research. Every now and then I need to stop and think about why I am doing and still living like a student, but then I remember it is all worth the effort.

2. 7 ways to motivate yourself
Pep-talk from Auntie Eva 🙂 This post explains how you can learn to meet self-imposed deadlines. Become a go-getter today!

1. How to write an abstract in 30 minutes
By far the most popular post on this blog (and I wrote this little thing out in something like 15 minutes before heading towards the gym). The idea is simple: ask yourself the right questions, and type out that abstract. In the end, writing 200 words (or whatever your word limit is), is very easy.

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. (On the occasion of your departure to South America)Although being in a totally different field of science (i.e. medicine), usually dealing with much tinier structures, I followed your blog now and then for its generic wisdom and thoughtful reflections on doing a PhD, science, writing and more (like distraction). Thank you!I wish there were inspiring sources like your blog available when I was doing my PhD some 25 years ago. Me and my fellow PhD students struggled with much of the same problems that you addressed in your blogs. Though when it came to scientific writing, we were not entirely left alone. Piet Borst, our PhD supervisor, and a great teacher himself, at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, handed a copy of George Orwell's \”Politics and the English Language\” * to every PhD student embarking on writing his/her first paper. The timelessness and applicability of Orwell's essay, which he wrote in 1946, to all kinds of scientific writing, still strikes me, and I think it's worth sharing his rules here:1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.2) Never use a long word where a short one will do.3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.4) Never use the passive where you can use the active.5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.Piet Borst, when editing our manuscripts, used to summarize these rules with a remark in the margin: \”…kill your darlings\”.*

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