Essential tech and web tools for Geography Undergrads and Postgrads

Ladies and Gentlemen embarking on a degree, masters or PhD course.

Use a citation manager.

The benefits of using a citation manager have been proven by academics the world over. The rest of my advice about what are useful tools is somewhat subjective and possibly sub-discipline specific. But trust me about the citation manager. For academia, it’s more essential than sunscreen.

Things I wish I’d known when I started my PhD

I love to learn new things – my continued professional development is full of courses for that reason. But sometimes realisations come a little to late, are frustrating to learn or really mess up a bit of research. Here I’m going to share a few of the things that I have found out that I wish I’d found out just a bit earlier. Some of these points are more specific to climate modelling, others are general.

Write Words, Win Cupcakes

Write 750 words a day, 5 days a week, between now and 5th October and win 6 handmade cupcakes*. That’s the simple idea behind the PhD student writing project this month. I’ve offered to make cupcakes for anyone who manages to write for 20 days in the next month, as an incentive to keep me on track for writing up my first chapter.

We know that we should be writing up our thesis as we go along, so the idea of this is to write 750 words each working day, for 4 weeks, inflict a bit of peer pressure, use 750words to keep track of the writing and collect badges.

750 words a day, 5 days a week, for just 4 weeks is 15,000 words. That’s a whole chapter. No, it won’t be perfect. Yes, it will need to be extensively edited. But it will be the substantive part of a chapter written and that has to be a good thing.

In the great Geography department tradition of awkward acronyms, possible acronyms for this project include:

CHIMP: Chapter In a Month for your Phd
W3C: Write Words Win Cupcakes.
Or most likely we’ll just call it: 750 Words.

You can keep track of how I’m getting on with my 750 words this month.

Right, I’d better get writing!


*Sadly, I don’t think this idea will travel, so it’s only on offer to Bristol Geography PhD students. For them though, they’ll get cupcakes with buttercream icing and sugary decoration and everything, like the ones in the photo.