You don’t have to be smart to get a PhD

But you do have to be pragmatic and stubborn according to Daniel Soule, PhD holder and a trainer specialising in academic and research writing.

Struggling at school with dyslexia, he was always looking for hacks to improve his writing and spelling. Overcoming this to do well at school, he was faced with the fact that no one really believed in dyslexia, especially the philosophy department at Glasgow University.

Undaunted he changed strategies and focussed on English instead, but while writing his PhD, he came to the conclusion that actually he wasn’t very good at writing. So, much like when he was at shool he when back to basics to see what he was doing wrong, and what do the professionals do?

As we talk we uncover that writing a PhD thesis and writing a grant proposal share many of the same challenges, because once you go past three to five thousand words your planning strategies don’t work anymore. Instead, you need to focus on being clear about your messages, understanding the culture that you are writing in, and give yourself rules to write by.

We also discover why you should understand how the paragraph works, and why

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”

is one of the greatest first sentences in English literature.

You can find out more about Daniel at – or follow him on Twitter.

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