A PhD research project presents two types of challenges. The first relates to the project itself, the type of research that is being carried out, its content and its methodology. For these, there are many potential sources of support – individual supervisors, supervisory panels, discipline-related communities and an ever-expanding range of courses and books that offer training and advice on research design, data collection and data analysis. The other set of challenges relates to the ability to produce a written PhD thesis that will do justice to the quality of your research, enabling readers to understand and appreciate the development of your thinking. This ability will also sustain you throughout a future career in academia, when writing will be the main means of communication with other members of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary communities. It is evident that developing writing skills to the required level will be an important goal for all PhD researchers. However, there is a tendency for writing support to be made available only through occasional self-contained workshops while the need for ongoing support is often underestimated or even ignored. There are several possible reasons for the relative lack of attention to writing which can characterize research training programmes in higher education institutions. One is the fact that many PhD supervisors and research skills trainers see their responsibilities as limited to giving guidance on content and methods.
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