Academic writing should be clear and objective. In the pursue of objectivity, some believe that by using the first person and introducing ‘I’ or ‘we’ in their text, the outcome will not sound as rigorous or formal. But attempting to avoid the first person may confuse readers, leaving them wondering ‘who does what?’ as we discussed in our article about the passive voice. Focusing on objectivity may also lead to anthropomorphism.
Continue reading “Anthropomorphism or the art
of humanising nonhuman subjects”
For years, we were told that in scientific writing we needed to use passive voice to sound formal, neutral and serious. More recently, the contrary philosophy bursted in: suddenly, passive voice had to be by all means avoided as it forces hiding the agent of the sentence and creates confusion. This paradigm shift left many of us in the doubt… is using passive voice in formal, scientific writing right or wrong?
Continue reading “Passive voice in scientific writing: angel or devil?”
In many ways, pursuing a PhD resembles running a
marathon: long distance, loneliness and fatigue are seemingly insurmountable
obstacles and nobody can hope to reach the end without adequate training. [Actually,
according to ancient literature and mythology, one non-professional athlete ran
the first Marathon in full armor in the Greek August weather (Lucas, 1976), but he paid the
effort with his life! This certainly does not set a positive example for all of
us, aspiring PhD holders…].
Continue reading “What if your PhD didn’t need to feel as long and tiring as a marathon?”
We had the pleasure of interviewing Alessandro Parente, Professor at the Aero-Thermo-Mechanical Department of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and frequent member of juries for the FRIA and FNRS fellowships. He talked with us about his experience as a jury member and he gave us some precious tips for students preparing for this type of scholarships.
Continue reading “Succeeding at your scholarship interview:
Advice from Prof. Alessandro Parente”
One of my favourite time of the day, aside from having quality time with my family, is when I discuss (read argue) with the PhD students I advise or train.
I am a big fan of feedback, as I believe this is the only way we can learn (aka deliberate practice). So I enjoy being challenged by the researchers as much as I like to challenge them.
This post includes a simple technique to challenge your advisor, it then explains why it is important to do so, and it finishes with how you can apply it to yourself. Continue reading “Is your supervisor your best opponent?”
This post collects all the books I wish I knew about when I started my PhD. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have found one that is not in this list. Continue reading “I wish I knew about these books when I started my PhD”
You might have sometimes difficulty to communicate with your supervisor. He or she is often away in meetings, never there at the right moment and leaning over your shoulder just when you are busy. This might be a bit exaggerated but let’s have a look into how you can supercharge your communication. Continue reading “Do you have problems communicating or meeting with your supervisor?”