Developing and Refining Academic Research Writing (on themes of Conflict, Rights and Justice)


Communication Skills

Target group

Members of the Doctoral Schools of Arts, Humanities and Law & Social and Behavioural Sciences who are working on issues related to conflict, justice and rights and who are (or remain for some parts) in the early stages of writing their PhD. This includes but is not restricted to PhD researchers belonging to the 'DISSECT: Evidence in International Human Rights Education' and the 'Property and Democratic Citizenship' ERC research project teams.

Content & Objectives

This research writing development course offers a unique opportunity for PhD researchers to work both with the coach and with their peers, in order:

  1. to share and develop sound research writing practices for high-quality written academic work;
  2. to develop critical writing friendships; and
  3. to develop self-awareness about one’s own needs, strengths, weaknesses as well as possible available strategies.

This is done with the overall aim of generating confidence and success in current and future research writing related to to conflict, rights and justice.

The course aims at helping the participants:

  1. to develop sound and effective research writing skills for their PhD dissertation and academic publications through individual mentoring and support;
  2. to become actively self-aware of their strengths and development needs in respect to research writing, whilst developing means to work on these further and successfully;
  3. to build sound supportive collegial groups of critical friendships for ongoing development and success in research writing;
  4. to learn constructive responses to critical developmental feedback received from any source, including PhD supervisor, critic, academic journal or book publisher;
  5. to develop diverse, lasting writing skills and strategies to overcome writing blocks and other hurdles;
  6. to facilitate the development of sound research writing practices across a range of academic formats.

The course is constructed so as to enable both individual, focused development with academic research writing, and the development of supportive collegial critical friendships. The teaching involves a range of interactive activities aimed at developing sound writing habits for PhD dissertations and academic publications. It includes:

  1. an interactive workshop work including sessions led by the coach using powerpoint presentations to share knowledge and prompt developmental action;
  2. pair and group critical friend interactions on development and refining of academic research writing practice;
  3. individual developmental mentoring support on specific writing projects led by the coach during, between and after taught sessions
  4. participants are expected to read research literature and develop and refine their writing skills by working individually on their piece-in-progress throughout the course.


Professor Gina Wisker.

Professor Wisker currently works in the International Centre for Higher Education Management, University of Bath, where she supervises doctoral students and runs writing, research and supervision workshops. She is also Professor at the University of the Arctic Tromsø, co-running postgraduate supervision programmes there. Her work is directed at enhancing the postgraduate student experience and developing academic staff. She has authored 27 books and many journal articles, including Getting Published (Palgrave 2015), The Good Supervisor (Palgrave 2012) and The Postgraduate Research Handbook (Palgrave 2007).) She sits on various Council and publications committees including at Oxford University Press and Palgrave.


Pre-course preparatory planning and writing which will be subsequently supportively commented by the coach; pre-reading of supplied relevant academic research writing support materials written by the coach, and other recommended reading.

Important note: You must send the coach a piece of writing (work-in-progress) by 1 February at the latest. If you do not do this, she will not be able to engage with your work, and the benefit you will get from the course will be extremely limited. The text you send her can be a very first and incomplete draft. It should be a text you intend to eventually become a chapter of your thesis or a journal article.

Time schedule & Venue

Dates Time

15-16 February 2022

From 09:00 - 17:30 ONLINE

16 March 2022

From 10:00 - 12:00 ONLINE

19 April 2022

From 10:00 - 12:00 ONLINE

11 May 2022

From 10:00 - 12:00 ONLINE

7 June 2022

From 10:00 - 12:00 ONLINE

Registration procedure

Prospective participants are asked to express their interest in following the course by sending an email to, copying in (Failing to do this may mean you are not considered for the course). Your message must include a short motivation statement as to why you would like to follow the course and what you expect to gain from it (max 250 words, bullet points allowed). In addition, provide a short description of the piece on which you intend to work during the course (max 150 words). As long as candidates comply with these conditions, enrolment will take place on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Registration fee

Free of charge for the members of the Doctoral Schools. The no show policy applies.



Number of participants


Teaching and learning material

Participants receive three book chapters (pre pub version) written by Gina Wisker from her (2015) book Getting Published (London: Palgrave); approx 10 PowerPoints including ‘the politics and processes of publishing’, ‘working  with supervisor and other feedback’, ‘writing in the different sections of an article or  thesis’ (copyright Gina Wisker); ad hoc developed materials, Gina Wisker’s website and Gina Wisker’s Youtube channel materials. Participants will also receive access to approx 10 plus other journal publications written by appropriate authors on writing development (Pat Thomson, Helen Sword, Rowena Murray, etc) and on thesis-writing examiner expectations (Kiley and Mullins, Trafford and Leshem, etc) editor and reviewer behaviours (Acker, Rekola and Wisker etc) (freely available online).

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% attendance (with some possible leeway and compensatory work in exceptional circumstances); participation. Attendance is at the two-day initial workshop and the four 2-hour monthly sessions. Participation takes the shape of engagement with the one-to-one mentoring on the writing, and response to feedback; active participation in discussions in pairs, small groups and whole cohort; offering writing examples in progress for consideration by others or sharing issues orally with the group for developmental or refining suggestions supported by group work; critical friendship work and engagement.