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Postgraduate Study in Australia

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy, Benjamin Whitburn and Inger Mewburn

Each contributor to this book was given the remit: "If you could go back in time to talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give?" Hindsight is such a bonus, especially, when vying for your doctorate or postgraduate degree. Postgraduate Study in Australia: Surviving and Succeeding addresses this with advice from postgraduate students and recent graduates that will assure that you are not alone in your endeavors.

This project follows similar editions that focus on Aotearoa/New Zealand, South Africa,
the United States, and the United Kingdom, and is currently being replicated in Scandinavia. This down-to-earth anthology shares personal stories from postgraduate students and recent graduates, employing a practical approach and focusing on the context of postgraduate studies in Australia. This first-person approach to research about postgraduate study helps curate the current understanding, with critical reflections adding to our collective knowledge. Both prospective and current postgraduate students will find this collection insightful.

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Chapter One: Red Pen Blues: Dealing with Rejection and Critical Feedback (Clare Rhoden)


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Red Pen Blues

Dealing with Rejection and Critical Feedback



During your candidature, your supervisor may encourage you to submit papers to journals and abstracts to conferences. A strong publications record prior to submitting your thesis can help your progress, and bring your work to the notice of experts in your field. Certainly, your thesis can benefit greatly from specialist feedback from anonymous reviewers, whether your submission is accepted or not. On the other hand, a bad review may make you a shivering wreck, so badly scarred by critical reviewers that you’ve lost all desire to put your work across the desk of any editor, conference convener or examiner.

This chapter is about developing your writing skills, your resilience and your academic persona through the exciting and sometimes perilous pathway of seeking publication. We’ll look at the why, how and where of submitting; outline a process for increasing your chances of a good reception; and list steps for benefiting from the responses you will receive from reviewers.


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