Bookcase: Thesis Survivor Stories: Practical advice on getting through your PhD or Masters thesis

• By Marilyn Waring and Kate Kearins
• AUT Media
• RRP $39.99

If you have ever dreamed of “going back and doing doctorate” this just may be the book for you.
The authors – possibly better described as collators – have put together the personal experiences of 20 successful thesis writers in 21 (one writer gets two bites of the cherry) very readable and entertaining summaries of their individual trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs.
The personal flavour makes the book an easy read and very much more than mere style guide to thesis writing, although the authors do include structured advice summary as postscript.
Some of the advice given seems to be rather self-evident for our nation’s academic elite – eg, eating healthily and exercising – but possibly this is necessary advice. The authors should know – they are both university professors. They could also be expected to be familiar with academic bureaucracy and it is somewhat surprising that dealing with this bureaucracy is recurrent theme in many of the contributions. Prudently, the names of the “offenders” are not included.
Former politician George Gair flies the flag for the (very) senior student, but the gender balance of the contributors is definitely female oriented with most of the research being in the social sciences.
It would have been interesting to have included more contributions from other disciplines such as medicine. Do these candidates have the same issues?
In summary, the book will necessarily appeal to only narrow readership but it would be surprising if an aspiring thesis writer did not benefit from the collective advice within. – Roger Garrett

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