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PhD training

Popular Writing for Academics

This workshop provides insight in the potential that popular writing offers to increase scholars’ visibility and to disseminate academic knowledge to a larger audience. We discuss the possibilities of both online and print media, and participants will learn how to write captivatingly about their research.

Schedule 2 mornings 9:30 - 13:00
Course dates TBA Autumn 2019
No. of participants max 15
Workload 0.5 ECTS


Course description


Insights from PhD projects are also of interest to audiences beyond the circle of academics. Many scholars actively strike up and participate in societal debates, adding unique and informed perspectives to public discussions. Possibilities are endless: contributing to op-ed sections of newspapers, authoring popular scientific books or by-passing conventional gatekeepers altogether via your own (group) blog. All hold the potential of reaching vast audiences. But how does this work? How can you translate your research into attractive and engaging writing? And who constitutes your audience? Who should benefit from your work and what is the best way to reach them? Additionally, the course will address issues such as responsibility, striking a balance between your personal and professional online profile, copyright, and engaging in debate.

Class themes

Day 1

  • Mixing science and opinion; epistemological considerations
  • Types of popular writing; differences between outlets
  • Example of work routine
  • Translating science into understandable language; structure and style; attractive writing

Day 2

  • Contacting editors
  • dealing with feedback (both professional and laymen)
  • Possible goals and pitfalls
  • Using social media to become an even better academic

Attendance & assignments

After the first session participants will be asked to write two blogposts about their research. A special blog environment will be made available, in which they can upload their work and read the contributions of the others. Participants are also expected to prepare for each session by reading the assigned literature.


Dr Linda Duits, independent scholar. Columnist for Folia, frequent op-ed contributor (.e.g. Het Parool, NRC Handelsblad), daily blogger. See