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

How CLaSS works with research students

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

  • Writing Group for Research Students (check dates below)
  • "Thesis Boot Camp" weekend writing retreat 
  • One-to-One tutorials
  • E-tutorials - When 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.

Thesis Boot Camp

Are you a late-candidature PhD student struggling with the writing-up battle?

Do you put off writing tasks until ‘tomorrow’?

Are you finding it tough ‘going it alone’?

We have just what you need – Thesis Boot Camp! Dedicated solely to getting words down on paper (or a computer screen), this program is designed to help late-stage doctoral students get over that final hurdle, or to kick-start their writing progress if it has stalled.

Sign up to join other graduate research comrades at the same candidature stage in a no-excuses, no-time-for-procrastination, take-no-prisoners intensive writing weekend. Not for the faint hearted, Thesis Boot Camp recruits will battle through third-year blues, writer’s block and thesis fatigue to achieve significant progress on their manuscript.

Introductory sessions will include motivational talks, goal setting and strategies for writing quickly and well.

Support staff will be on hand and catering will be provided to ensure an encouraging, distraction-free environment. Attendees will be required to complete pre-program planning activities and to commit to their own tangible aims for the weekend, such as completing a thesis chapter draft or similar.

The De Montfort Thesis Boot Camp will take place take place from

Friday 21 June (4pm-8:30pm) to Sunday 23 June (10am-8:30pm, Sat & Sun).

Please complete the form below and send to Jason Eyre (jeyre@dmu.ac.uk)

Applications close Friday 24 May 2019.

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.

2018/19 Dates

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  meetings are as follows: 8th November, 6th December, 10th January, 7th February, 7th March, 11th April, 9th May, 6th June, 11th July.

Workshop topics

  • 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: 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 reflected on these reasons, and explored a variety of practical strategies and tools that can be integrated into our regular writing practices to overcome writer’s block.

  • Mindfulness Thursday 6 December, 10am-12pm 

This session explored a range of mindfulness techniques that can support student writers.

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

Guest speakers: Rachel Davies and Fay Jelley (Student and Academic Services). This session considered what we mean by resilience, maintaining a healthy work/life balance; dealing with unhelpful thinking styles; and dealing with difficult situations.

  • Building an argument Thursday 7 February, 10am-12 pm

This session explored strategies to build an argument in your thesis.

  • Style in Academic Writing Thursday 7 March, 10am-12 pm

Guest speaker: Dr. Debjani Chaterjee MBE, Writer and Royal Literary Fund Fellow 

This session aimed to raise awareness of academic writing style by examining both conventions/standards with regards to issues such as formality, concision and clarity and variations/diverse modes of writing. It invited participants to share personal strategies, questions as well as their perspective on what constitutes acceptable style within their discipline/area of study.

  • Q and A session Thursday 11 April, 10-12pm

​This session provided an opportunity to meet students who have recently received their doctorate at DMU. Participants had a chance to ask questions, and hear a range of experiences.

  • Critical writing Thursday 9 May, 10-12 pm

Evidence of critical thinking is a key requirement of writing at doctorate level. This session explored what we mean by criticality, discussed strategies to help identify critical writing, as well as providing some practical approaches to develop critical analysis and synthesis.

  • Writing Café 1: Planning Thursday 6 June, 10-12 pm

Planning your summer of writing? Come along to this session to explore and share strategies for managing writing and meeting your goals. You can then use this space to start your own planning and/or work on any aspect of your writing. A member of the CLaSS team will be available to answer questions, share resources, and signal further support.

  • Writing Café 2: Mindfulness Thursday 11 July, 10-12 pm

Guest speaker: Elliot Juby (Student and Academic Services) 

For any enquiries, or to register to attend, please contact Neil Skinner - nskinner@dmu.ac.uk

Doctoral Writing 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

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.

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.