What is this Voodoo?

Sometimes doing a research higher degree (like a PhD) can feel like entering a place full of mumbo-jumbo and hocus-pocus. What are all these big words (these shibboleths, taboos and open sesames) and secret handshakes? And the people who get it… it seems like magic.

This site looks behind the legerdemain and razzle-dazzle and shows the tricks of the trade.

This site has lots of resources that I gathered, or developed, as part of my work as an Academic Skills Advisor for the University of Melbourne; and now that I maintain as a doctoral mentor and external supervisor, for sharing with you.




  1. So glad to stumble upon your post.
    I’m reading for a PhD at the University of Liverpool, translations and deconstructions very welcome.
    Thank you for sharing. Collaboration is supposedly the keystone of research, although so far, it does appear to be some sort of Secret Society for a Select few.
    Love the word shibboleth.
    The way it rolls around the mouth. And I saw this at the Tate, simple but profound….

  2. Hi Katherine, the content of the site is great. I am going to share it with my own students. Is there anyway you can add a widget to this site that will email me when you add new content? Thanks again.

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