HomeEducational Assessment and evaluationThesis WritingHelpful videos: Doctoral writing as thinking

Helpful videos: Doctoral writing as thinking

By Susan Carter drawing on Cecile Badenhorst

Cecile Badenhorst MA (UBC), PhD (Queen’s) is a Professor in the Adult Education/Post-Secondary program in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University in Canada.  Her research interests are post-secondary and adult learning experiences particularly graduate research writing and academic literacies.  She has written three books in this area:  Research Writing (2007), Dissertation Writing (2008) and Productive Writing (2010). She has also co-edited with Cally Guerin, Research literacies and writing pedagogies for masters and doctoral writers (2016); and with Britt Amell & Jamie Burford Re-imagining doctoral writing (2021) which is available via open access: https://wac.colostate.edu/books/international/doctoral/

The value of videos

While I have long appreciated Cecile Badenhorst’s publications as her interests overlay my own, only recently have I found the rich trove of videos that she has given to the world. I am keen to share these gems with the DoctoralWriting community over the next few posts. There will be four posts in total: this one focusing on doctoral writing as thinking will be followed by one on some of the pragmatic factors of doctoral writing (for example, fluency, structuring, plagiarism avoidance), then one on different genres (article, conference abstract and presentation, different thesis chapters), and finally a post relating to literature review.

Why my excitement?

Over the last decade I have put on many workshops and often these were two or three hours. My goal was always to give advice and then prompt discussion that would take this further. When workshops run over an hour, I have found that participants enjoy the variety of different activities, including watching small targeted recordings.  A good pithy video is invaluable for triggering talk.

Before I stumbled into Cecile’s work on YouTube, I had never thought of using someone else’s video to shape a workshop; having watched these, I’d suggest that to learning advisors and academic developers wanting to host something fresh and new, you could use Cecile’s focus titles as workshop concepts that would probably attract doctoral writers.

These videos are also worth sharing with supervisors, as they can be kept as a resource to share with candidates at the right stages of the thesis, or a moment when the doctoral supervisee seems to need encouragement.

Finally, and of course, doctoral writers themselves can learn from videos that share tips from someone who really understands the social moves that the thesis text needs to succeed.

So that is me on ‘useful videos’—if there is interest in sharing such artefacts and you have some of your own, you could consider the DoctoralWriting blog as a place where sharing would be helpful.

Doctoral writing as thinking

Doctoral researchers do a huge amount of thinking as they design their project to fit the time frame and PhD criteria. This thinking is interwoven with reading: foundational literature, theorists, methodologies, and research to date guide doctoral research design. Text is hugely integral to a doctorate. Then these researchers must crank up cognition to ensure that they demonstrate that thinking in their writing. This post links to videos that encourage doctoral thinkers to appreciate how their practical research, their theorising and their demonstration of expertise are sustained by text.

Here’s Cecile on a range of topics that I have bracketed together into the theme of doctoral writing as thinking—they go beyond this often, but it is the way Cecile shows the link between text and thinking that draws me to this selection.

Preparing for a thesis

Conceptual frameworks

Giving and getting feedback

Critical reading

Scholarship and originality in a thesis

Conceptualizing research

Thesis/Research writing tips

Revision strategies

Quick revision strategies for thesis: Doctoral and masters writers. https://youtu.be/IosxQLF8d5I

Revision  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzj9b5iUmF8

The videos in this post have given many prompts for deep level understanding of how the practices of research become embedded in writing, and especially, in doctoral writing that has enabled thinking and demonstrates that thinking clearly. Our next post will turn to some of the practicalities of doctoral writing: how to sustain fluency and structure the whole thesis coherently, and at the same time how to overcome writing blockages and avoid plagiarism. We’re interested in your comments on videos as resources for doctoral writers. 


Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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