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Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS): Research Students

Enhancing academic practice, writing development and study skills

How CLaSS works with research students

CLaSS offers support for students conducting independent research in a variety of ways; these include:

  • Writing Group for Research Students 
  • "Shut up and Write" group writing sessions 
  • "Thesis Boot Camp" weekend writing retreat 
  • One-to-One tutorials
  • E-tutorials Upon booking an e-tutorial with CLaSS, research students may be offered an extended (50-minute) slot, upon request.
  • Workshops

CLaSS lecturers also deliver a range of modules within the Doctoral College's programme of  training for researchers. To sign up for one of these, please check the Researcher Development Programme page.

Appointments with a Royal Literary Fund Fellow

Writing Group for Research Students

The Writing Group for Research Students is a small, informal group that meets in the Kimberlin Library on a monthly basis to discuss topics related to writing at doctoral level. We're always looking for new members, so please do come along to find out what we do. Whether you've only just started your research or are in the writing up stages, all research students are welcome.

Each session starts with a short workshop (1hr) followed by an hour of peer-to-peer writing feedback. Students can also attend as an interactive webinar - contact us for details of how to do so.

Meetings in 2018/19 are held monthly from 10am to 12pm on Thursdays in the Learning Development Zone, Ground Floor, Kimberlin Library.

The dates of our upcoming sessions are as follows: 8th November, 6th December, 10th January, 7th February, 7th March, 11th April,
9th May, 6th June, 8th July.

‘Overcoming writer’s block’ Thursday 8th November 10 am – 12pm
Encountering writer’s block can be a frustrating experience. We may find ourselves unable to write for many reasons, including: difficulties getting started, time constraints, an inability to maintain focus, or having a lack of confidence in our own writing abilities. In this session, we will reflect on these reasons, and explore a variety of practical strategies and tools that can be integrated into our regular writing practices to overcome writer’s block.

Building Resilience Thursday 10th January 2018, 10am-12 pm

Guest speaker: Rachel Davies (Student and Academic Services) This session considers what characteristics emotionally resilient people share; how to build resilience; and helpful strategies to manage emotional states in a healthy way.

For any enquiries, or to register to attend, please contact Neil Skinner on

Doctoral Writing Resources

Further support at DMU

The Researchers Libguide page offers details of the support available to researchers from the Library team. The information included in the Library's guides for International Students and/or Distance Learners may also be of interest.

You may also want to check out the Postgraduate Students' Society as a further way to meet fellow researchers.


Resources from past events

Please follow the links to access resources from Academic Writing Day: Develop your confidence as a writer and Academic Writing Day 2: Strategies to develop your manuscript for journal publication.


Online resources

There are a wealth of excellent online resources, books and blogs on academic writing, geared towards doctoral students. Some good examples include:

  • The Thesis Whisperer. A website with a wide range of contributors, edited by Dr Inger Mewburn
  • The Writer's Diet: Helen Sword's website on stylish and productive academic writing
  • Patter: Pat Thomson's blog on academic writing

Thesis Boot Camp

Thesis Boot Camp is a weekend writing retreat, that aims to create a supportive environment for PhD students to make real headway in drafting text for their thesis. This event is aimed at late candidature (writing up stage) PhD research students based at DMU. The objective of the weekend is to produce up to 20,000 words of first draft material. It is generally unsuitable for proofing, and literature review-related writing tasks.

Contact Jason Eyre ( for more information about the 2018/19 Thesis Boot Camp - likely to take place in Spring 2019.

Shut up and Write

“Shut up and write” groups meet regularly across the globe (and weekly at DMU) to spend a little time together in a room to get some writing done. DMU plans to hold regular sessions aimed at staff and postgraduate researchers. No booking or long-term commitment required - just turn up.

For details of upcoming sessions, contact Jason Eyre on


Proofreading for Research Students

Research Students often enquire about proofreading support.

The research degree regulations at DMU (section 14.3) allow for "limited assistance with proof reading... with the prior approval of the supervisor". The role of a professional proofreader is limited to correcting "spelling, grammar and punctuation accuracy", but otherwise it is vital that the document is the student's own work.

The CLaSS Proofreading for Grammar Toolkit offers useful advice on developing your own proofreading strategies.


English Support for Research Students

DMU's Centre for English Language Learning (CELL) offer weekly English sessions for doctoral students. Please contact CELL for more details.