You don't have to be a genius to write a PhD. Of course, it will always involve a lot of hard work and dedication, but the process of writing is a whole lot easier if you understand the basic ground rules.
How to Write a PhD in Biological Sciences is a guide through the dos and don'ts of writing a PhD. It will be your companion from the point when you decide to do a PhD, providing practical guidance to getting started, all the way through the nuts and bolts of the writing and editing process. It will also help you to get – and stay – in the right mental framework and establish good habits from the beginning, putting you in a commanding position later on. Examples are tailored to the biological sciences, offering a unique reference for PhD students in these disciplines.
Embarking on a PhD doesn't need to be daunting, even if it's your first experience working within academia. Each short section focuses on writing – considered by many to be the most difficult aspect of a PhD – and delves into a practical detail of one aspect, from the title to the supplementary material. Whether you're a student just starting your studies, an early career researcher or a supervisor struggling to cope, How to Write a PhD in Biological Sciences provides the insider information you need to get ahead.
How to use this book
Part 1: Before you start
- What is a PhD?
- Is a PhD more than a thesis?
- Criteria used to judge PhD studies
- Who are the examiners?
- What makes a good project?
- A healthy body to go with your PhD mind
Part 2: How to get started with writing
- How to write a hypothesis
- What happens if you don’t have a hypothesis?
- What’s the big idea?
- Writing a paragraph
- Construct a logical argument in your writing
- Storytelling in science?
- Why do you need to cite?
- Literature databases
- What software should I use to write my PhD?
- Scientific names and taxonomic authorities
- Writing style
- When is it possible to retain your own voice when writing?
- Writing concisely
- Writing a PhD if English is not your first language
- Making sure that you don’t plagiarise
- Academic phrasebank
- Why critical reading is crucial for improving your writing
- What is needed for your research proposal?
- Starting out transparent
- Fear of submitting written work
- Why use a formula to structure each chapter or paper?
- Data Management
Part 3: Writing the sections that make up your chapter
- Title page
- The Abstract
- The introduction
- The Materials & Methods
- The Results
- The Discussion
- The Acknowledgements
- The References
- Who did what?
- Supplementary Material
John Measey is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Stellenbosch University. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters, and five books. He was the Editor-in-Chief of an ISI journal for 9 years and currently serves as Associate Editor for four other journals. He has graduated more than 20 postgraduate students, and his blog on writing and publishing in biological sciences is read by thousands globally. British born and educated, he lives and works in the beautiful Western Cape, South Africa.