The writing skills that you develop as an accompaniment to PhD research will be put into practice on a regular basis and gradually refined throughout your academic career. According to Blaxter, Hughes and Tight (1998: 137) such skills will be a major factor in determining career development, promotions and job satisfaction: Writing is something that all academics engage in regularly: from writing notes and references on students, through committee papers, to reviews, articles and books. It is a role which many academics find hard, particularly when sustained pieces of writing are called for, but also one which can give great pleasure and a sense of achievement. A few years ago, I decided to explore these ideas in greater detail by collecting the testimonies of some experienced and skilled academic writers as part of a project entitled ‘Writers on Writing’. I interviewed six people from a range of social science and arts and humanities disciplines. All the interviewees had an extensive list of publications: surprisingly, none had ever been asked about their views on writing or their recommendations for ‘good practice’. The interview questions and the answers that I obtained are reported in a summarized version below. What are the skills and qualities of a good academic writer? For most people writing is something which has to be learnt and has to be developed over a long period of time. The process of writing is multi-skilled and no one is born with all of the skills that are required.
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- Writing throughout an Academic Career
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