How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 11: Reading academic papers: visiting and re-visiting old friends

Jennifer Robinson


When I started as a doctoral student, I used to believe that I could read a paper once and fully absorb the key learning. Oh, my goodness! How I have re-calibrated that opinion. After nearly six years in post-graduate education, there are papers in my files that I have re-visited not just once but twice or three times. I can tell how my reading of a paper has changed and developed with each re-reading by looking at the highlighting and marginalia that I leave behind. I’m looking now at the seminal paper by Weick and Roberts, ‘Collective mind in organizations: Heedful interrelating on flight decks’. When I first read this paper, my focus was very intentionally on the literature the authors used to support their argument and all the comments to myself focus on following through on salient pieces that I think might help me to formulate my research question.

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