Some useful blogs for study and research

Here are a six of my favourite blogs which offer helpful material to help doing with study and research—and the organisation required to accomplish those things. I thought others might be interested; please share other blogs and websites you have found helpful in the comments.

  • Study Hacks is Cal Newport’s blog. He is the author of the superb books Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You, and teaches and researches in Computer Science at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Cal is simply excellent at helping people think about research and writing, and I’ve benefitted enormously from his ideas about deliberate practice, making focused time for deep work, and much else.
  • Scott Young blogs about productivity in learning—he’s a fascinating man who has a wonderful curiosity about learning and study. He accelerated his learning to complete the full sequence of MIT’s computing courses online in a year! I’ve learned a lot from him, and been provoked to think harder about how I keep learning and growing as a researcher and scholar.
  • The Thesis Whisperer is a wonderful blog aimed at research students and those who supervise them, put together by Dr Inger Mewburn, who oversees training in research at the Australian National University. It’s full of thoughtful, practical wisdom, and I warmly recommend it to my research students.
  • Research Degree Voodoo is from the wonderful Katherine Firth, who advises on research at the University of Melbourne. Like the Thesis Whisperer, full of practical and wise advice on research, especially if you’re doing a postgraduate research degree.
  • The Supervision Whisperers offers good input for research supervisors—and many students would benefit from reading it too! Inger Mewburn (of the Thesis Whisperer) and Dr Evonne Miller of  Queensland University of Technology c0-edit this and have quite a range of contributors. Deeply practical, thoughtful and a place to look for advice in supervision.
  • The LSE Impact blog comes out of the Social Sciences at the London School of Economics. There’s useful material here on research and its impact on wider society—and British academics will recognise the response to the REF ‘impact’ agenda. Recently, there have been more ‘how to’ blog posts on developing as a research and they’re generally helpful.

And for keeping track of the blogs, I use the wonderful Feedly, which allows me easily to add blogs I want to follow in my browser (in my case, Safari on my Mac—but it works in any browser because it’s a website), and also has apps for iOS for iPhone and iPad, as well as for Android—and that means if I’m on a bus or train, I can quickly catch up on what’s new. The free version lets me keep things for 30 days before removing them—and I reckon that if I haven’t read them in that time, I never will!



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