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The best academic blogs

Struggling to make sense of academia? These bloggers get it. Our pick of the 9 best academic blogs out there.

Academic cultural critique is best served in blog form. Thankfully, there are a slew of academic blogs on the interwebs, waiting to dish. Blogs commenting on funding and higher education policy. Blogs mulling over early-career research struggles, or musing about the ever-elusive path to tenure. Blogs with tips to help you get to grips with conference etiquette, and with toolkits for surviving academic life.

You could read all day and your journey would be only part-way begun. So we’ve picked 9 of the best academic blogs for you to investigate. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. The Thesis Whisperer

“Just like the horse whisperer – but with more pages.” The Thesis Whisperer is the blog of Inger Mewburn, Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Inger and her contributing academics contribute thoughtful posts on topics ranging from writing and presenting your work to getting stuff done. The blog also has a helpful review section for PhD-themed books.

In the midst of thesis haze? This academic blog will cheer you on.

Sample blog post: We need to talk about competition

2. The Research Whisperer

“Just like the Thesis Whisperer – but with more money.” (Yep, there’s a theme.) The Research Whisperer helps early-career researchers build professional profiles and navigate the sometimes-treacherous channels of academic funding. It’s edited by Tseen Khoo, Lecturer in Research Education and Development at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, and Jonathan O’Donnell a PhD and grant application advisor at RMIT University in Melbourne.

If you’re tackling a funding bid, hit subscribe.

Sample blog post: The cruel world of funding peer review

3. Blog on Math Blogs

Blog on Math Blogs is Anna Haensch, assistant professor at Duquesne University, freelance math writer Evelyn Lamb and Brie Finegold, co-organizer of Women Advancing Arizona Mathematics. Whether it’s misunderstood political polling, AIs that name paint colors (Burf Pink or Hurky White, anyone?), mathematically inspired GIFs, or upping your presentation game, they’ve got it covered.

Visit the blog and ready yourself for a trip down the rabbit hole.

Sample blog post: Just in time for the holidays

4. Writing for Research

Writing For Research is Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science & Public Policy at London School of Economics. This academic blog aims to help you master writing “creative non-fiction at a research level”, something easier said than done. Thankfully, it’s packed to the gills with advice on everything from structuring research papers to what to consider when choosing which journal to submit your paper to.

Subscribe and boost your academic writing skills.

Sample blog post: How to write a blogpost from your journal article

5. Piled Higher and Deeper (aka PHD Comics)

“The comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in Academia.” PHD Comics is the brain-child of Jorge Cham. Whether you’re battling imposter syndrome or dealing with harsh reviewer comments, Jorge’s been there. And his wry sense of humor makes the chewy bits of academic life a bit more digestible.

Dealing with a nightmare supervisor? This comic will help.

Sample blog post: Average time spent composing one e-mail

6. Get a Life, PhD

“All around me I heard that academia eats at your soul, breaks you down, and does not let you have a life outside of work.” So cheerily writes Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, and author of Get a Life, PhD. This academic blogs about finding balance as a researcher and a parent in a world where overwork and stress are endemic.

Searching for work-life balance? Subscribe.

Sample blog post: What to expect when you are invited to share your work

7. GradHacker

GradHacker is an academic blog for graduates looking for “stories, tips, and challenges of others who are experiencing the same things.” Written by a community of bloggers, the topics range from software reviews to disabilities, to how to communicate your research to a general audience. Pretty handy during family holidays.

Like life hacks? GradHacker’s for you.   

Sample blog post: Advice to graduate students from beyond the Ph.D.

8. Patter

Patter is Pat Thomson, Professor of Education at The University of Nottingham. This varied blog is chock-full of posts about everything from refining your research topic, to academic bad behavior, to taking inspiration from improv.

Subscribe for sound advice with a dash of whimsy.

Sample blog post: A conference paper? it may be five texts, not one…

9. Nick Hopwood

Nick Hopwood is the academic blog of an Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. Though Nick largely writes about his work in educational research, his candid posts publicising his rejection in academia have been widely shared. “Success in academia is not about never failing, never being rejected,” he writes. “It is about not allowing rejections to take hold of you. If I preach this but don’t have the gall to match generalisations with concrete detail, I should just shut up.”

Got a stinking rejection recently? This blog will strike a chord.

Sample blog post: My wall of rejection and why it matters

Get subscribing

You’re not alone with your research: these people get it. So subscribe, or follow them on Twitter. (We’ve even made a handy Twitter list of academic bloggers, just for you.)

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Dee McCurry
Dee moved back from London to help Ex Ordo tell their story. Although she finds it tough to source turmeric lattes and other hipster nonsense in Galway, she enjoys writing about the weird and wonderful world of research conferences.
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