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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, full of good tips - and witty too
I bought this book because I'm thinking about doing a PhD part time and wanted to get a better idea of what it would entail and how to get started. I found it very easy to read and, most surprisingly, funny. I have to write long research reports for non-academic audiences and the book is full of excellent advice about structure and signposting which applies equally to...
Published on 29 Nov 2003 by Susan J. Sparks

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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but don't rely upon it as your sole guide
This book is written by a political scientist and I think this shows through quite clearly in the focus and content of the book. Although there is no specification of it in the title, the book is probably excellent for PhD students in disciplines similar to his, the usefulness is very much more limited for students in, for example, science.

The content of the...
Published on 16 Feb 2008 by C. Bragg


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but don't rely upon it as your sole guide, 16 Feb 2008
By 
C. Bragg (Sheffield) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
This book is written by a political scientist and I think this shows through quite clearly in the focus and content of the book. Although there is no specification of it in the title, the book is probably excellent for PhD students in disciplines similar to his, the usefulness is very much more limited for students in, for example, science.

The content of the book is detailed and reasonably comprehensive in many aspects of PhD authorship but I would be wary of blindly following his advice too closely without consideration of whether it is strictly appropriate for you. There are numerous passages in which his personal likes and dislikes in terms of PhD content are stressed but without sufficient acknowledgement that other examiners - and particularly those in other disciplines - might have contrasting, but equally strongly held, convictions. Examples given of thesis structure are less appropriate for natural scientists and medics than for those studying humanities.

In its favour, the book is particularly geared to those studying in the UK. While the differences between the UK PhD system and those of continental Europe and the US are mentioned, the emphasis remains on the UK, in contrast to much of the information available on the internet, for example.

In summary, this is a good, and generally well written, book but I would strongly recommend consulting at least one other on the same topic in order to gain a more balanced range of opinions rather than relying on one person's personal slant.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, full of good tips - and witty too, 29 Nov 2003
By 
Susan J. Sparks (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
I bought this book because I'm thinking about doing a PhD part time and wanted to get a better idea of what it would entail and how to get started. I found it very easy to read and, most surprisingly, funny. I have to write long research reports for non-academic audiences and the book is full of excellent advice about structure and signposting which applies equally to this type of non-fiction writing as well. It is particularly good at suggesting how to help your readers to navigate your text rather than expecting them to go out of their way to understand your work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for UK-based humanities research students!, 22 Mar 2010
By 
Jake Lange (Galgorm, County Antrim Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
This is an excellent resource for UK-based PhD and MRes students, especially those in the humanities, at the start of their three-four years. Facing the bewildering task of becoming an original-thinking, independently-critical academic, the learning curve is simply huge, regardless of PhD topic. What this book does so well is try to level the playing field by giving generic, but excellent, practical skills advice on the most important and daunting aspect of the PhD process - writing the 80-100K word thesis.

It is clear the author has very good firsthand experience as a PhD supervisor, and this comes through well in his spot-on advice. It is also apparent in how he balances being supportive and aware of the reader/researcher's needs, while explaining in no uncertain terms what is expected of him/her when writing at the PhD level. The book is well-written, with chapters segmented by relevant quotes that help to break up any monotony and keep it interesting.

As a first-year media studies PhD, I wish I had read this at the start rather than six-months in, but even now it has been the best resource that I have viewed regarding the difficult thesis process. I don't think it is for everyone, especially science-based work, or those doing PhD's outside of the UK structure. It also offers no advice for those combining art practice in their work (as I am), but this is a minor quibble as it covers the written work so exceptionally well. Highly recommended.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, succinct, practical, 12 Oct 2004
By 
C. Tan (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
In the midst of an unstructured mass of data and ideas, this book helped me to construct a semi-workable framework for writing up my PhD thesis. Dunleavy is concise with languge and examples and unlike many 'how-to' dissertation writing books, does not clutter his book with useless anecdotes. His chapters on structuring and maintaining a coherent argument across a 80,000 - 100,000 word doctoral dissertation are a lifesaver to any social science/humanities student. Dunleavy gives practical advice on everything, including structuring your thesis, how to start and end chapters and sections of chapters, and gives practical tips on tricky language use. This book is one you will keep even after you finished your thesis as it contains helpful chapters on how to turn your thesis into papers and books, giving you an incentive to get out there and complete the degree ! Definitely a winner.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A practical and high value-added guide, 10 Mar 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
I strongly recommend this book to other Ph.D. students. It is practical and contains useful and very specific advice. The author stays clear of general and obvious comments of the type 'communication with your supervisor is important'.
A particular focus of the book is on the structure of the thesis and the organization of chapters. There are tips on clear writing (but this is not a style-book). Further, the book contains: how to draft and remodel text; how figures of different types ought to be integrated; tips on finishing the thesis (first and laster chapters, abstract); and getting published.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, inspirational guide for all academic writers, 20 May 2004
This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
I am a new University of South Africa (Unisa) PhD student still at the stage of refining a suitable research area and title. Dunleavy reslises full well the daunting prospect of embarking on doctoral studies. His advice is both practical and inspirational. He does a superb job in taking the PhD from its Ivory Tower pedestal and placing it within (easier) reach. I feel empowered after reading this book, especially after realising I am not alone in feeling daunted and under pressure. Dunleavy argues that all these problems are eminently tractable. The most important aspect of this book is that it stresses the craft of authorship, which takes its potential audience into account as well. The advice on structuring a thesis and writing skills are invaluable. In fact, this book is ideal for anyone involved in academic writing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for all writers, 20 April 2009
This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
This book is fantastic. It has a step by step guide on how to write your PhD. Sadly I didn't realise how useful it is until I have reached a stage where I have to put my thesis together and was overwhelmed by the task at hand. I borrowed the book from the library and found out that it was what I need and wanted to have a copy to refer to whenever I needed. Even at this later stage, it proved to be a life saver. I keep it on my desk and whenever I feel stuck or panic, I start reading in the relevant sections that teach me how to overcome the problem at hand. I say it is a must have book for not only PhD students but writers in general because it is a very handy manual that explains the writing process in an accessible way.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and not limited for use by PhD Students. It can help us all..., 22 Jan 2007
By 
Chandan Chowdhury (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
I found this book to provide fundamental guidance to anybody looking for assistance to carry out a constructive research on any subject, be it management, science, technology or art. I found it useful for writing essays/articles in technology areas.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Turgid, 27 Sep 2011
By 
floyd (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
This was almost as difficult to finish as the actual PhD thesis. I found the writing style to be dense and complicated. Buy Becker's, instead. It's a perfect example of what good writing should look like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful on some aspects, 26 Aug 2011
This review is from: Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation (Palgrave Study Guides) (Paperback)
I got this book when I was writing my MA dissertation and simultaneously writing research proposals for PhD applications. It's really a great idea for a book as it aims to fill in the blanks about what's involved in PhD writing that universities seem to think students know automatically. A lot of it will be things research students probably already know, but it's worth going through for the things you haven't thought of and to remind yourself what you're supposed to be doing when you're confused in the midst of all your writing. It's mostly focussed on organising chapters, paragraphs, etc. and presenting data - don't expect it to give you ideas for the content of your theory or research.
It seems suited to social science/humanities subjects, and I found a lot of it could be applied to my MA dissertation, obviously adapting for the shorter length.
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