Category Archives: Writing

Join the 29 Step Challenge: Finish Your Dissertation in 1,078 Hours or Less!

The Journey Before You:  29 Steps!

Outlined in  

Foss, Sonja K., and William Waters.
 Destination Dissertation:A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007.

So,  I have, most often in moments that are nestled somewhere in between panic and procrastination, read and reviewed at least a few dozen self-help books that claim to explain ‘How to Write Your Dissertation’, usually fast.   One panic stricken day, full of anxiety and overwhelm, I saw this book – the destination diss covercover and catchy title is perhaps the reason why I never picked it up before.   But I was desperate and my pride, which was now a mound of defeat and worry,  was put aside and I grabbed the book.   I glanced over the  Contents;  then after noting some promising titles and subtitles, I jumped passed the usual ‘thank you everyone and the kitchen sink section’, and  started to swiftly scan the introductory Chapter One:  Preparing to Go:  The dissertation Journey.

As corny as the title may seem, I found myself slowing down and reading each sentence, each line, every word.  Okay, so as is the case with many academics – regardless of which step or how many years or how much affluence – I rarely neither take the time nor thought it wise to read anything this slowly or with so much interest and purpose, at least since grade school and perhaps The Catcher and Rye.  The conversational and witty style of Foss and Waters presents the journey of the dissertation in a smart yet assessable fashion.  They are both funny and poignant, and often ‘throwout’ direct ‘digs’ on the usual existence of an ABD – wagging war against procrastination and excuses.  Their humor which – aside from the intentions of the author – makes for an enjoyable read! Oh, and you won’t feel like you are a moron – at least not one that is alone on your journey!

Now, let’s get to the point.  Like any good research scientist,  I have decided to do an experiment.  I want to get a random sample (all of you) and another sample directly from my department (I will more fully be able to account for certain variables) and test this 29 Step Method.
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My Journey

Shelby Manney – PhD :


11 Practical Ways To Stop Procrastination

old-alarm-vector-sketch-clock-30326612You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier. The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps which I use to overcome procrastination with great success.

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The Journey Before You: 29 Steps, 1078 Hours by Dr. Sonja K. Foss and Dr. William Waters


One of the pieces of advice many people will give you about writing your dissertation is to turn the project into a series of small, concrete steps.

The first place to do that is in conceptualizing the basic processes of the dissertation. There are 29 of them. Already, the dissertation seems more manageable, doesn’t it? There are just 29 steps.

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Writing for an academic journal: 10 tips



What seems like common sense isn’t common practice, says Rowena Murray who shares her top tips for getting published.


1) Have a strategy, make a plan

Why do you want to write for journals? What is your purpose? Are you writing for research assessment? Or to make a difference? Are you writing to have an impact factor or to have an impact? Do you want to develop a profile in a specific area? Will this determine which journals you write for? Have you taken their impact factors into account?

Have you researched other researchers in your field – where have they published recently? Which group or conversation can you see yourself joining? Some people write the paper first and then look for a ‘home’ for it, but since everything in your article – content, focus, structure, style – will be shaped for a specific journal, save yourself time by deciding on your target journal and work out how to write in a way that suits that journal.

Having a writing strategy means making sure you have both external drivers – such as scoring points in research assessment or climbing the promotion ladder – and internal drivers – which means working out why writing for academic journals matters to you. This will help you maintain the motivation you’ll need to write and publish over the long term. Since the time between submission and publication can be up to two years (though in some fields it’s much less) you need to be clear about your motivation.

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Article Writing – 10 steps to getting it done write!

The topic of academic writing has been popular in the blogosphere and Twittersphere in the past couple of weeks. I think it all came from Stephen Walt’s Foreign Policy piece “On Writing Well“. Several fellow academics responded to Walt’s scathing critique of our scholarly writing (read Stephen Saideman, Jay Ulfelder, Dan Drezner, Marc Bellemare, Thomas Pepinsky, Greg Weeks, and I’m sure a few more that I missed. Yes, I also know that I linked to political science and public policy professors. There are two reasons for this. First, because they were the ones who responded to Walt’s critique and commented on it. Second, because I am largely trained as a public policy/political science scholar. I taught at a department of political science for 6 years and now I teach at one of public administration. My training comes largely from that academic field.

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APPS FOR ACADEMICS: 8 iPad Apps that could change your world!


So , here are the 8 Must Have Apps, at least in my opinion:


Few activities define research as well as taking notes, and few apps cater to note-taking so well as Notability ($1.99, Universal). Not only can you take pages of handwritten notes and drawings with a good stylus, but you can also create audio recordings of lectures and interviews that sync with the notes you type in the process.

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