Blog your development PhD research

By Ryan Edwards
13 November 2020

This year we are going to trial something new on the Devpolicy Blog. For most final year PhD students, the academic job market is now underway. This post is an open call to submit a blog of your job market paper, your PhD thesis, or just an interesting fact from either. We will assess submissions on quality and interest, and then publish the best ones. The rest of this post explains why you might make a submission, a little more on what we are interested in, and some tips to get started.

First, I should be clear that while this is new for us at the Development Policy Centre, it is certainly not a new idea. It follows from Development Impact’s ten-year “blog your job market paper” tradition (you can read my 2016 post here, which I am still grateful to them for running), a broader (in terms of disciplines, methods, and questions) but more regional version of which we’re establishing.

Why should you blog your research with us? Articulating your research in a short, general interest piece is challenging. But this is a similar pitch to that you will give to potential future colleagues and employers. It is worth thinking carefully about, distilling, polishing, and getting right. We also have 4,600 subscribers to our daily blog email (12,500 centre newsletter subscribers) and an average of 45,000 users (around 90,000 views) per month, so many more people will know about your research from our blog than from publishing it in a good academic journal. Many of our readers work in aid and development policy or practice, so your work could also have some real-world impact.

What are we looking for? Must be on development. Suitable disciplines include (but are not limited to) economics, political science, and development studies, and quantitative and qualitative research are both welcome. Preference will be given to work on and from Asia and the Pacific Islands. Submissions will be judged on quality and interest.

Generally, if your post is about your paper or thesis, it should tell us your research question, why we should care about it, how you answer it, what you find, and, if appropriate, implications for policy and practice. If it is about just one particular aspect of it or a key fact, things are obviously more flexible. The Three Minute Thesis may also give you some presentational ideas.

A few basic guidelines

  1. Everything in our normal blog submission guidelines.
  2. You are a PhD student or postdoc in your final or penultimate year.
  3. Minimise jargon. Where it exists, explain it. Your post should be understandable to a twelfth grader.
  4. No more than 1,000 words, but 700 to 800 is ideal.
  5. No tables where a graph or other figure will do, and no more than two of either. Ideally, the graph shows your main findings.

We won’t consider submissions that don’t meet these guidelines, and, just like our regular blogs, we don’t expect to publish everything we receive.

Ideally your submission has an accompanying paper or thesis that the interested reader can access and read. We are happy to republish high-quality posts published elsewhere, and everything we post can be reposted with attribution under creative commons.

Send your submission (i.e., blog post and ideally the paper it is about) through the normal submission process, emailing The draft blog should be a Word document, and email subject “PhD Research: [YOUR LAST NAME]”.

We look forward to reading about and sharing your research!

About the author/s

Ryan Edwards
Ryan Edwards is Deputy Director of the Development Policy Centre and a Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy. He leads Pacific migration research under the Pacific Research Program at the ANU.

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