The PhD journey: Tips & resources

I have put together some resources that I think are helpful for guiding students through the PhD journey. These include i) general tips, ii) surviving your first, second, then third year, iii) visualising your research and argument through the PhD planning templates, iv) researcher development, v) and Mike’s top ten readings all PhD students should read.

Top ten general tips for writing your PhD

Dr Mike Duignan, Head of Department and Reader in Events
at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, UK.

Your first year…

Useful PhD planning templates

Writing your methodology


Secondary data collection and analysis in tourism research | by Temple University and the University of Surrey

Qualitative data analysis – using NVIVO

Introduction to discourse analysis | Teun van Dijk’s (2013) talk on ‘Discourse and Knowledge’ | Discourse Analysis by Adrian Coyle with useful examples

Walking Methodologies, Digital Platforms and the Interrogation of Olympic Spaces: the #RioZones Approach | #peripathetic #walkingmethods #digitalplatforms #postpositivism #Olympics #Rio2016

Misc resources, tips and talks for researcher development

Research skills

Mike’s top resources every PhD should read

Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis by Burrell and Morgan (1979) – to provide a deeper understanding as to the history and development of social theory and different positions one can take.

George Orwell’s ‘Politics and the English Language’ – how to avoid writing in ‘academese’.

Christopher Hitchens collection of essays in ‘Arguably’ – how to write with concise prose and find your voice in your writing.

The art of writing literature review: What do we know & what do we need to know? (Paul and Criado, 2020).

Writing resources

The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing: Striving for Complexity (Article in The Atlantic, 2015)

Writing for an academic journal: 10 tips | #TheGuardian #Article

Storytelling techniques for writing, presenting, leading (Harvard Business Review, 2020):

Writing a journal article | #writing #journals #research #ideas #organising #peerreview #publishing #preparingthepaper #writingthepaper #finalisingthepaper #respondingtoreviewers

University of Chicago Social Sciences: ‘The Craft of Writing Effectively’ – useful for writers at all stages in their careers.

Writing in defense of writing ‘research notes’ by Prof Sara Dolnicar, entitled: “Brilliance is Succinct: Embrace and respect the short communication”. Then, some technical advice given by Sara on how to write a ‘research note’ for Annals of Tourism Research – video below.

Researcher development

The PhD journey is not just about completing your doctorate and publishing in the highest ranked journals. Look around and you will most likely find students working on a range of topics, objectives, with wildly diverse career ambitions. One student may wish to advance a particular theory, whilst another may be looking to commercialise their work. Though both are in pursuit of a PhD, they will require different skills and commensurate researcher development training.

The UK Government body ‘Research Councils UK (RCUK) funded a national researcher development organisation entitled: ‘Vitae’. Vitae created the UK’s national framework to plan PhD research development, entitled the ‘Researcher Development Framework (RDF)‘. I was fortunate to spend the first years of my career at Vitae developing and managing skills programmes, workshops, conferences and events to support the RDF.

PhD actions: Review the RDF and supporting materials online. Use this to recognise your strengths and weaknesses and work with your supervisor to develop a plan and some actions.

Miscellaneous resources

The Surprising Power of Questions (Harvard Business Review, 2018)

How to build a great relationship with a mentor (Harvard Business Review, 2020)!~OMSelectionMarkerEnd~

  • Piero Vitelli’s – challenges and fears of presenting, and tips for effectiveness (and bringing passion on to the stage…)

Writing dissertations is a daunting process, particularly at the beginning. Where to start, how to plan, what to research – are the initial starting points. Thanks to the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and affiliated authors, they help to deconstruct the process down to the following 9 parts in the context of tourism, hospitality and leisure.

Have a read, and let me know in the comments – how they helped you, and the advice you would give students entering the third year to prepare and succeed at their dissertations…

Research in tourism, leisure, events (part 1)

Introducing the research process (part 2)

Getting started (part 3)

Literature reviewing in tourism, hospitality and leisure (part 4)

Designing research and methodology in tourism, hospitality and leisure (part 5)

Analysing your results in tourism, hospitality and leisure (part 6)

Discussing your findings in tourism, hospitality and leisure (part 7)

Concluding your research dissertations in tourism hospitality and leisure (part 8)

The final dissertation write up in tourism hospitality and leisure (part 9)

Thanks to @HEA Academy and associated authors for providing these resources.


Being supervised (or supervising) online? here are some good tips

Preparing for your viva?

Annals of Tourism Research webinars by Prof Sara Dolnicar and Prof Scott McCabe

Peer review
16 September 2020
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Curated Collections
14 October 2020
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Why am I getting desk rejected?
4 November 2020
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Social Sciences in Tourism
17 February 2021
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Research Ethics
17 March 2021
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What to do before you hit “submit”
14 April 2021
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Responding to reviewer comments
12 May 2021
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