Handbook for PhD Students

This PhD Handbook serves a dual purpose: it defines the research methodology of our group and gives general advice to students, and it sets out standards and processes which all students in the group are expected to strive for.

Academic writing and pre-writing form direct link

A paper with great science can be difficult to get published if the writing is not good. This includes good text structure and flow, sound arguments, correct use of grammar, no typos or informal writing, etc. Practice is key to achieving a good standard. The IAD offers courses for PhD students, including courses about academic writing.

Style: A good guide is to follow the problem-driven research questions. The introduction can give summary answers to all four questions, while the related work section can give more details on why current methods fall short of solving the problem and why your method is different. The technical sections can then give a precise formal description of the problem and proposed method. This approach gives your papers a clear narrative and stronger justification.

There are some general principles which should be followed:

  • To maintain good reading flow, each sentence should logically build up to the next sentence.
  • A good rule of thumb is that a reader should be able to summarise the main point of every paragraph in one sentence.
  • Keep it as simple as possible, and as complex as necessary. For every sentence you write, ask yourself: do I need this sentence? Read: Simple rules for concise scientific writing
  • Use watertight logic. Anticipate a reviewer who will probe every statement you make.

Pre-writing form: To help you prepare for your writing, one month before the paper deadline, fill out and send me your pre-writing form. Then, send me your first complete draft of the paper at least two weeks before the deadline to leave enough time for feedback and improvements.