‘How to write:...’ series for reserachers

Provider business unit: Researcher Development »

‘How to write:...’ series

One of the most prized skills in research intensive jobs is the ability to write, but employers want people who can write across a range of formats and genres. HDR candidates who wish to freelance after graduation can find ways to support themselves through nurturing their abilities to write in different ways and for different purposes.  

The ‘How to write:..’ is a series of short seminars that can be ‘stacked’ into multi-day, writing retreat style formats, or as ‘pop up’ workshops. They can be delivered online or face to face. The purpose of these workshops is to help our PhD students strengthen their writing skills across a range of genres and formats: books, documentary films, reports, short research scripts (3MT etc), blogging, newspaper articles, games, movie scripts, comics – and anything else we can imagine, even emails!

Contact Reseracher Development if you wish to arrange training for your area, to see what sessions we are currently offering - check out the latest HDR Update.

How to write:

Short description

Logically connected sentences

Sentences convey ideas. Linking sentences together in the right way helps you carry an argument through a piece of writing. In this short webinar we will look at one technique to ensure there is a logical progression of ideas from one sentence to another. This technique can help you edit your work and be used to speed up your writing when you are not sure what to say next.

A blog post about your research

Blogging is a great way to share your research, but how can you make it interesting for your reader? In 45 minutes we will explore the structure of a viral blog post and how you can use these insights to create content people want to share.

Clearer sentences

When you have to write about complex ideas it's hard to write clearly at the same time. Academics often write sentences that are perfectly 'correct' but terribly difficult to understand. We know clear writing is more likely to be read and shared even in academic circles, so it's in your interest to strive for clarity. In this webinar we will try to bring some clarity back to your writing by going back to some basics of good sentence structure. English is a ‘writer responsible’ language. You have to work hard to make sure the reader can follow your train of thought. In this one hour webinar we will show you why some sentences are unintentionally vague and some simple ways to fix them. This webinar has some short, practical exercises to improve your writing, so make sure you have some of your drafts handy. You can work on thesis chapters, journal papers or blog posts - whatever you like!

A more powerful paragraph 

There is a lot of confusion about the role of paragraphs in writing. In this workshop we will look at one technique - semantic gravity - for ordering the progression of ideas and arguments in a paragraph. This technique is useful for the writing and editing phase and helps you make decisions about the sequencing of ideas. If you want to be in charge of your paragraphs, this webinar is for you!

With less ‘word clutter’

Reducing the number of words that people need to read to understand your ideas helps your work be more readable and accessible. Work that is more readable is more likely to be read and cited than work that contains a lot of ‘word clutter’. In this one hour webinar we will go through a series of simple techniques for reducing words and increasing readability.

About other people’s research

One of the major tests of a new researcher is how they write the literature review. It should be more than a ‘survey’ - the literature review should make an argument for the importance of your work. Academic writing has a number of ‘hidden’ conventions for doing this, which can come as a surprise to writers new to the format.  In this one hour webinar we will do a deep dive into how to use references and verbs to make more convincing academic arguments. Mastering these intricacies will help you write the ‘standard academic form’ with more confidence and authority.


In this one-hour webinar, we will embrace free writing: a technique pioneered by Peter Elbow to help people write more quickly. The idea behind free writing is simple: you just write anything for a specified length of time. In this webinar we will introduce you to a couple of variations of the technique which help you think through various aspects of your research while taking pressure off yourself to be perfect. ‘Make a mess and then clean it up’ is a surprisingly effective way to get through a lot of academic writing in a short amount of time and is the backbone of our highly successful bootcamp program.