Academic Twitter blogs – 2/2

Similar to last month’s post, I continue with the remaining 20 blogs, which range from discussions of academic writing to reflections on research methods and career advice. I’ve drawn on Andrea Hayward’s article the article, which she wrote in April 2018 for the “editage insights”.1 Enjoy reading the second twenty:

  1. Learning Scientists (@AceThatTest):
  • Co-founded by cognitive psychologists Dr. Megan A. Sumeracki and Dr. Yana Weinstein.
  • Focuses on the science of learning and makes research more accessible.
  • Covers effective learning and note-taking strategies.
  1. Making Physics Fun (@jesswade):
  • Managed by Dr. Jess Wade, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London.
  • Offers resources on physics, grants, and science presentations.
  • Showcases vibrant doodles on various science topics.
  1. Nick Hopwood (@NHopUTS):
  • Nick Hopwood is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney.
  • Blogs about doctoral research, academic experiences, and social science methodology.
  • Known for an unconventional take on academic rejection.
  1. patter (@ThomsonPat):
  • Managed by Pat Thomson, Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham.
  • Covers academic writing, research education, and conferences.
  • Welcomes guest contributions and offers insights on various academic life aspects.
  1. PhD Talk (@evalantsoght):
  • Managed by Dr. Eva Lantsoght, Researcher at Delft University of Technology.
  • Focuses on PhD processes, academic skills, and structural concrete research.
  • Encourages guest contributions for academic blogging experience.
  1. PLOS ECR Community (@PLOSECR):
  • A forum for undergrads, graduate students, and post-docs to share insights.
  • Covers academic experiences and provides tips for ECRs.
  • Offers real-life experiences from the academic community.
  1. Reciprocal Space (@Stephen_Curry):
  • Managed by Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology.
  • Explores working in science, academic publishing, and open access.
  • Shares insights on academic conferences and peer review.
  1. Scientist Sees Squirrel (@StephenBHeard):
  • Managed by Dr. Stephen Heard, evolutionary ecologist.
  • Focuses on academic writing, publishing, and ecological interactions.
  • Discusses journal rejections and effective methods sections.
  1. Shut Up & Write Tuesdays (@SUWTues):
  • Virtual writing workshop for academics, organized on Twitter.
  • Aims to set aside dedicated writing time and inspire progress.
  • Provides writing tips and non-academic reads for inspiration.
  1. Surviving Science (@NatashaTracey):
  • Managed by Natasha Tracey, a PhD student studying cancer research.
  • Shares experiences as a PhD student and research tips.
  • Covers writing research papers and dealing with peer reviewer comments.
  1. The Comfort Pursuit (@silgtavares):
  • Managed by Dr. Silvia Tavares, Lecturer in Urban Design at James Cook University.
  • Covers architecture, urbanism, landscape, academic writing, and postgraduate life.
  • Shares insights on academic writing and relevant tools for researchers.
  1. The Mad Scientist Confectioner’s Club (@BioDataGanache):
  • Managed by Dr. Jason McDermott, Senior Research Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Offers academic insights with unique doodles.
  • Covers academic publishing, research funding, and science communication.
  1. The PhD Blog (@Rob_MacIntosh):
  • Managed by Robert MacIntosh, Honorary Professor at the University of St. Andrews.
  • Covers research methodology, academic writing, and career development.
  • Provides guidance for doctoral level research, especially in management.
  1. The Research Whisperer (@researchwhisper):
  • Managed by Dr. Tseen Khoo and Jonathan O’Donnell.
  • Focuses on research in academia, finding funding, and building academic track-records.
  • Encourages reader engagement for new blogpost ideas.
  1. The Serial Mentor (@ClausWilke):
  • Managed by Claus Wilke, Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas.
  • Offers series of blog posts on scientific writing and career development.
  • Covers writing effectively, making presentations, and applying for academic jobs.
  1. The Skeptical Scientist (@Research_Tim):
  • Managed by Tim van der Zee, PhD student at Leiden University.
  • Focuses on research methodology, evidence, and improving science.
  • Covers academic job applications and interpreting statistical data.
  1. The Thesis Whisperer (@thesiswhisperer):
  • Managed by Dr. Inger Mewburn, Director of Research Training at Australian National University.
  • Aims to help research and PhD students complete their theses.
  • Offers tips on writing, coping with stress, and achieving PhD goals.
  1. WebMz (@webmz_):
  • Managed by Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam, biologist and science writer.
  • Covers women in science, speaking about failure in science, and alternative academic careers.
  • Highlights inclusivity and equity in science.
  1. Write, Publish, Thrive (@WriteNThrive):
  • Managed by Dr. Rich Furman, Professor at the University of Washington.
  • Focuses on maximizing strengths and overcoming psychosocial barriers in academia.
  • Offers practical tips for publishing scholarly articles and strengths-based coaching.
  1. Writing for Research (@Write4Research):
  • Managed by Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at LSE.
  • Provides advice for advanced research-level writing and communication.
  • Offers suggestions for writing, doing PhD work, and blogging in academia.
  1. Hayward, Aandrea (2018): 40 Must-read academic blogs for researchers and PhD students, in: editage insights, https://www.editage.com/insights/40-must-read-academic-blogs-for-researchers-and-phd-students, [Last Access: 28.4.2024] []

Academic Twitter blogs – 1/2

I am currently in a deep writing phase myself, so I regularly look for writing guidance and inspiration to develop my writing. As you can imagine, the landscape of online science communication and outreach is thriving, with researchers and academics using various platforms to share their insights and experiences. Among these platforms, academic blogs stand out as valuable sources for gaining deeper insights into researchers’ perspectives on scholarly publishing and academia. These blogs offer a wide range of content, from research-based information to personal anecdotes and opinions.

Recently, I found the following website, which compiled and summarized a few blogs that offer perspectives on academic life and scholarship. From discussions of academic writing to reflections on research methods and career advice. I drew back on the article of Andrea Haywardss, which she wrote in April 2018 for the “editage insights”. 1 Enjoy reading the first twenty:

  1. Academics Write (@academicswrite)
    • Managed by Kim Mitchell, an Instructor at Red River College.
    • Focuses on academic writing across disciplines.
    • Covers topics such as writing myths, self-efficacy, and student extensions.
  2. Athene Donald’s Blog (@AtheneDonald)
    • Managed by Athene Donald, Physics Professor at the University of Cambridge.
    • Offers opinions and perspectives on academic life.
    • Covers topics like academic conferences and gender disparity.
  3. Belcher Writing Advice (@WendyLBelcher)
    • Managed by Wendy Laura Belcher, Associate Professor at Princeton University.
    • Provides writing advice for academics and research on Africa.
    • Topics include journal article writing and managing peer-reviewed journals.
  4. Beyond the Doctorate (@FionaEWhelan)
    • Managed by Dr. Fiona Whelan, Academic Standards Officer at Queen Mary University of London.
    • Offers advice on transitioning from doctoral research to practical careers.
    • Covers challenges of post-doctoral life and alternative academic careers.
  5. Dan Cohen (@dancohen)
    • Managed by Dr. Dan Cohen, Vice Provost and Dean at Northeastern University.
    • Covers trends in library science, digital humanities, and science communication.
    • Introduces the concept of “blessay” and discusses new ideas and discoveries.
  6. Diary of Dr. Logic (@SaraLUckelman)
    • Managed by Sara L. Uckelman, Assistant Professor at Durham University.
    • Offers insights into scholarly publishing and academic life.
    • Covers teaching philosophy, work-life balance, and productivity tips.
  7. DoctoralWritingSIG (@DocwritingSIG)
    • Moderated by Dr. Claire Aitchison, Dr. Cally Guerin, and Dr. Susan Carter.
    • Forum for sharing information and resources on doctoral writing.
    • Covers grant writing, thesis/dissertation writing, and academic publishing.
  8. Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD (@raulpacheco)
    • Managed by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, Assistant Professor at CIDE.
    • Offers insights into academic writing, research, and public policy.
    • Covers topics like academic productivity, reading strategies, and public policy issues.
  9. Dr. Catherine Pope (@catherinepope)
    • Managed by Dr. Catherine Pope, freelance research and writing skills trainer.
    • Focuses on academic writing and productivity tools for researchers.
    • Provides tips on overcoming procrastination and using tools like Evernote and Zotero.
  10. Dr. Nadine Muller (@Nadine_Muller)
    • Managed by Dr. Nadine Muller, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.
    • Provides support and resources for postgraduate and early career researchers.
    • Covers topics like academic job interviews, doctoral studies, and mental health in academia.
  11. Ellie Mackin (@EllieMackin)
    • Managed by Dr. Ellie Mackin Roberts, Teaching Fellow at the University of Leicester.
    • Offers insights into academic writing, conferences, and post-PhD life.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, job applications, and life in academia.
  12. Explorations of Style (@explorstyle)
    • Managed by Rachael Cayley, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.
    • Discusses challenges of academic writing and strategies for improvement.
    • Covers topics like writing anxiety, reverse outlining, and the writing process.
  13. Feral Librarian (@mchris4duke)
    • Managed by Dr. Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries at MIT.
    • Discusses research libraries, higher education, and scholarly publishing.
    • Covers topics like open access, social justice, and personal interests.
  14. From PhD to Life (@FromPhDtoLife)
    • Managed by Dr. Jennifer Polk, academic, life, and career coach.
    • Offers resources for transitioning from PhD to career.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, career paths, and work-life balance.
  15. From The Lab Bench (@FromTheLabBench)
    • Managed by Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau, Science Communication Specialist at LSU.
    • Discusses science communication, blogging, and social media.
    • Covers topics like science blogging, social media advice, and science journalism.
  16. Get a Life, PhD (@tanyaboza)
    • Managed by Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology at UC Merced.
    • Offers advice on balancing academic and personal life.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, publishing, and work-life balance.
  17. Green Tea and Velociraptors (@Protohedgehog)
    • Managed by Dr. Jon Tennant, Founder of Open Science MOOC.
    • Discusses research interests, peer review, and open science.
    • Covers topics like peer review, open access, and science communication.
  18. Helen Kara (@DrHelenKara)
    • Managed by Dr. Helen Kara, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
    • Offers insights into research methods, academic writing, and ethics.
    • Covers topics like academic writing productivity and research ethics.
  19. James Hayton, Phd (@jameshaytonphd)
    • Managed by Dr. James Hayton, PhD coach and former physicist.
    • Provides advice on PhD research and writing.
    • Covers topics like academic writing, thesis topics, and PhD survival.
  20. Jo Van Every (@JoVanEvery)
    • Managed by Dr. Jo Van Every, academic career guide.
    • Offers advice on academic writing and decision-making.
    • Covers topics like writing skills, publishing, and work-life balance.

These blogs offer valuable insights and resources for researchers at all stages of their academic journey, making them indispensable sources for anyone interested in scholarly publishing and academia.

  1. Hayward, Aandrea (2018): 40 Must-read academic blogs for researchers and PhD students, in: editage insights, https://www.editage.com/insights/40-must-read-academic-blogs-for-researchers-and-phd-students, [Last Access: 28.4.2024] []

What my dissertation project would say about the year 2021 (2/2)

July to September 2021 – vacation, vaccination, and preparation

In July 2021, I planned to take some weeks free from work, free from writing, free from reading articles and take a break of constantly thinking of my research project. Apart from visiting friends, applying for an UK visa, I used also the opportunity to attend together with some other doctoral researchers a “Schreibwerkstatt”, kindly organized by PD Dr. Simon Karstens from Trier University. Within two very intensive and productive days, we talked, discussed and analyzed text passages, the working environments as well as useful tools and skills to write and to structure the work in long-term projects.

I used the first weeks of August to organize the last aspects of my archive stay in the UK and to book the places in Birmingham, Aberystwyth, Haverfordwest and London. The August marked also the beginning of this research blog and one of my first intentions was to devote at least one blog article to each archive.

By the late August I eventually moved to London and Birmingham and quickly began to read the first manusripts of the Cadbury Research Library in Birmingham in the first weeks of September. The Missionary manuscripts turned out to be very productuve and helpful from the very beginning. In Birmingham, I also contacted some staff members of the Department of History at the Birmingham University and so came in touch with Dr. Tom Cutterham. We had a great conversation and agreed to stay in touch in the future.

October to December 2021 – conferences, conferences, conferences

The preparation of conference presentations as well as archive researches in Aberystwyth, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and London shaped the last quartal of 2021. At the first of October, I had the opportunity to introduce my topic to the audience of the Australian Seascapes Conference of the “Gesellschaft für Australienstudien“, which took place virtually via Zoom between 30th Sept. and 2nd Oct. 2021.

In the last week of November then between 23rd and 26th Nov. 2021, the New Zealand Historical Association came virtually together under the conference title “Ako: Learning from History“. I was delighted and very thankful to have had the possibility to present my research project in front of a Aotearoa/ New Zealand audience.

The last presentation, which I had in 2021 was in mid of Dec. 2021 to the GHI London Colloquium, where I have shown the first results of findings during the time in the UK. Being back in Germany now, I have used the christmas days to take a break and look forward to beginning the new year of 2022 with new motivation and to read the archive material, which I have collected and gathered.

What my dissertation project would say about the year 2021 (1/2)

I had aimed to write this article already earlier in December 2021, yet the last month of the year literally rushed over me. I travelled back from my archive stay in the UK – (in retrospect I came back very timely before the rise of the new Omicron variant) – and only some weeks afterwards I presented my research topic as well as the first archive results to the audience in the context of the German Historical Institute London Colloquium. Perhaps you have seen already the new page of my blog “upcoming events”.

From my dissertation’s point of view, the year of 2021 was very productive and I would like to go once again through the quartals and by giving some further insights.

January to March 2021 – Second Writing process

Before I come to the writing process of 2021, I need to give a few notes into my former writing process from the last year. In the first half of 2020, I wrote already the first coherent chapters by outlining the theories, concepts and questions of my dissertation topic. I was happy to have started writing at a very early stage in english language, because I quickly realized how difficult and heavy it was for me, to write this dissertation in a language, which I can use for sure, yet to which I still bear a bit of respect.

The writing process has also much to do with the comfort zone. It is comparably very easy to spent hours and days in databases, taking notes in research journals and quoting passages in research articles and monographs. These (still important) works merged to a “productive” way of procastination. It is however, much more difficult to write these results down, to form the thoughts and notes into sentences and passages and pages.

During my studies, I very seldom had experienced writing blockades, as I wrote the most of my works in german language, which is, in fact, my native language, and in which I feel much more comfortable. Therefore, I had many difficulties at the beginning to combine and to stick my quotes and notes of research articles and monographs into my own words and to structure them into coherent and logic passages. The first writing process of 2020 therefore was highly shaped by feelings of wrong perfectionism, by deleting passages and pages (sorry, I will never do it again!) and many discussions. Therefore, it took a while to recognize that it is all a process and that it does not need to be “perfect” yet, because right now the focus is on production, production, production, and not on perfection, perfection, perfection.

In the first months of 2021, however, the “second” writing phase went much easier and much more structured. While I dived deeper into the “Atlantic” part, I also started with writing the first few general chapters of the “Pacific” part. Starting with an “Atlantic” chapter allowed me to go in more detail into the characteristics of Nantucket, New Bedford, the history of the early colonization process of New England, the history of Quaker settlers, the Wampanoags, Native American, to the history of slavery as well as of practices of indentured servitude and unfree labour in the whaling industry too.

By focussing explicitly on the members of the Starbuck and the Swain Families, I filtered and extracted any information and knowledge, which I could receive from existing secondary literature (thank you CITAVI), and, what was much more important: from digitised historical aids like the whalinghistory.org database or the Barney Genealogical records of the Nantucket Historical Association.

All this combined with primary sources such as the entirely digitsed “Nicholson whaling logbook collection” of the Providence Public Library in Rhode Island as well as the entirely digitised Probate records for Nantucket I was able to collect and built my first source fundament (thank you EXCELL) in order to write down my first results and insights.

During this writing process, I regularly attended the online writing sessions of a group of doctoral researchers from various german universities, which had been established in Dec. 2020. I found it very helpful for myself, to create a sense of reliability together and to stay connected with like-minded during a period of lockdowns and physical social distance.

April to June 2021 – pursuing digital archive research – and applying for analog archive research

The addition of new aspects, changes and never ending revisions of chapters and the chapters’ structures shaped the month of April, while at the same time, I stuck to the screen for reading and analyzing digitised colonial sources about the local history and the economic circumstances of the whaling industry in Nantucket and New England in the 18th and 19th century.

It was in this period of time, when the German Historical Institute London announced their scholarship-application for archive stays for doctoral researchers who work on colonial or british-history related topics. The preparation of the research proposal – deadline: 31st May – was very intense and time-consuming, yet it gave me much inspiration and motivation for another writing process for the month of June.

The White-Board suffered a lot under my ideas and visual concepts. – private picture – 11th June 2021.

 

In manifold ways, the June formed one of the highlights of the year, because

1) the DFG decided to fund the research project, in which I am working in

2) the German Historical Institute London accepted my application

3) I finallly received the appointments for my Covid vaccinations 🙂

 

How everything began – and how it continues

Thank you very much for visiting this research blog. Let me give you a short introduction of the function of this website. I understand and consider the content, which I share here with you, as an extended, digitized version of my academic research journal.

In April 2017, when I returned from my Erasmus exchange semester at the KU Leuven in Belgium to Trier University to finish the M.A. degree in History, I had forged a thriving fascination for maritime history related topics. With several (very vague) ideas in mind, I began to talk with several lecturers and eventually found in Ursula Lehmkuhl and Eva Bischoff two encouraging and inspiring supervisors.

One of the most helpful academic practices Eva Bischoff taught (and later also Lynette Russell reminded) me was to trace my thoughts, ideas and process in a research journal. The more I read, researched, structured, changed and wrote the chapters of my M.A. thesis, the more I realized the advantages of journaling, in particular for long-termed projects such as a dissertation project later on.

Private Picture – 20.8.2021

Such a reconstruction and historical tracing method of the own work is crucial and helpful in several ways. It avoids losing the overview, it keeps your motivation – oh yes, even the most interesting topics can (and surely will) frustrate you – and it orientates you in your own process. Research Journaling helps you also to tackle the following questions too:

  • Where do I stay?
  • Which parts have I done successfully already?
  • Which steps are in front of me?
  • Which questions and tasks are urgent right now?

At this point, there is no right or wrong, there are no perfect lines, sentences or thoughts to be deleted.

Tracing the own thoughts can guide you through the wideness of a dissertation project and can (sometimes automatically) rise new questions and thoughts, which can be then discussed and mentioned outside the own research journal.

Having said this, I look forward to come in touch with you.

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