PhD Toolkit: How to Understand Critical Reading

The literature review is a major part of any dissertation project. My adviser suggested that I start with the lit review (Chapter 2) before writing the introduction (Chapter 1). Some students start with Chapter 1, but it seemed backwards to me. How can you write the introduction to your research without a good review of the literature? But it’s easy to get stuck in the lit review section. It’s a tedious and slow process slogging through scholarly articles. You’re trying to understand foreign concepts, theories, and jargon. What strategies can improve your lit review? What tools help you understand and create a flow in less time? What are you doing wrong to slow down the process?

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Alt-Ac Toolkit: Freelancing at Academic Conferences

Academic conferences can seem like a strange place for those of us in the alt-ac world. Conferences may not feel like a good fit for freelance academics – as freelancers, we’re not affiliated with mainstream higher education. But academic conferences offer a place to meet and pitch your book to editors, offer a workshop, and present a research paper. Even as a freelance academic, you have a voice as a scholar and expert.

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Alt-Ac Career Toolkit: Blogging

Social media is not exactly at the top of the list for many scholars. Whether you’re an alt-ac professional or an academic, you need to share your ideas with the world. One thing I kept in mind as I wrote my dissertation: I didn’t want it to sit in a dark corner, beautifully bound, collecting dust, silent and quiet. I picked my food policy topic because it was  dynamic – our food system is broken and there are different ways to fix it. I’d like to  explore solutions and publish what I find. Blogging is one pathway I use to improve my alt-ac career.

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Social Media Tips for Academics

Social media (SM) can be a time waster or a resource for academics. How do academics use social media?  Is social media even a tool for scholars? If it is, how do you find time to use SM? What is the real value of SM for academics?

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Toolkit for Alt-Ac Survival

If you’ve earned a doctoral degree, you know how to survive. You learned how to live with uncertainty and overcome your fears. What’s next?  What’s your next career move? Work in academia? Be an independent researcher? Start a business? Explore a series of new directions? Or maybe you’re thinking about life as an alt-ac.

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Dissertation Feedback: Ignore Selective Hearing

Selective hearing is a human trait – we hear what we want to hear. So when it comes to getting feedback on your dissertation, it can feel like a personal attack. Feedback is a double-edge sword of the good and bad. But when we hear the negatives, that’s all we hear. And we tend to block out the positives.

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