Dissertation Question

For those of you who have written one, or are writing one: Do (did) you ever feel that you could work on your dissertation for hours every day, for an entire academic year, and only get one chapter done (if that)? Just wondering.


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Of course!

What do you think I've been doing for the past year? ;-D

For me, the writing's been a recursive process: gradually add up enough pages for a chapter, draft it together into a first draft, realize that's not it at all, start over with what you've learned in mind. Repeat. I couldn't get to a decent version of Chapter 1 until I'd done an initial crappy draft of Chapter 2 and realized that Chapter 1 needed to explicitly describe the problem whose extent and parameters in the disciplinary literature I was trying to chart in Chapter 2. In much the same vein, I wasn't able to understand how I needed to structure Chapter 2 until I'd done at least some initial work laying out a theoretical alternative in Chapter 3. And though I'm pretty happy with Chapter 3, it's going to change some after I've laid out an early draft of how I see this all working in the classroom in Chapter 4. And so on.

My colleague said she did it by reading and talking and thinking and thinking until she just sat down at the keyboard and blasted out a chapter in two days, and repeating that process for each chapter. I can't work like that: for me, the writing is the thinking.


Sure thing. Go back through

Sure thing. Go back through some of my worst diss blog entries. I was a wreck. Don't make it a bigger bird than it happens to be, though. It's a medium hurdle (as you'll see once you clear it). Just get it done, even if it's not terrific.


Think of it this way:
If you average two pages a day - that's average, some days more some days less - then you can be done in a little over 4 months.

Not two pages? Then one page. You should be done in a little over 8 months.

Everyone can write one page a day.

And no, it doesn't have to be perfect. A diss is a practice book.

a href="http://www.ydog.net/gm/">Yellow Dog

Thanks (and dissertation worries)

Thanks, you guys. I feel like a fool sometimes; over the years I've known so many people who just never did seem to get their dissertations done, but insisted they were working on it every single day. I would nod my head but really be thinking, yeah, sure you are.

It's not that I'm really worried about being finished by August 06; it's more that I'm worried about having enough done to go on the market. And it's not even that I don't have much done, actually; I have over 200 pages of writing! But it's not ready for prime time, that's for sure.

I'm starting a dissertation group in my department, though. I'm stressing to people that it is NOT a commiserative "support group"; it is a WRITING group with deadlines and feedback and workshopping.


Clancy, on my master's thesis in history, I spent six months doing nothing but reading and research, not counting work I was able to use from previous seminar work, then spent six months writing. While taking zero other classes or seminars. But working 40-44 hours per week at the paper. Then, I whacked about 80 pages. Then, while continuing to work, at, um, work, and taking one seminar in spring and one seminar in fall, I tweaked my thesis. Finished with 226 pages. It IS publishable. I have yet to submit it anywhere. But I will.


A 226-page master's thesis?! Mine was I think about 85-90 pages, and that included bibliography and appendices.

I'm going for what seems to be considered the minimum in my department of 200 pages for my dissertation, not including bibliography and appendices (or maybe including, heck, I don't know).

I worked on my dissertation for nine hours yesterday, but unfortunately can't spend that much time on it today.

Over achiever :-)

Plus, I assumed a master's was as far as I would go -- maybe not -- and I wanted, really, to do something that was a good-good start on a book, if not a book even. :-) ... And there it sits. On the shelf. And in this computer. And I can't get re-started to tweak it to meet publisher's persnickities. ... I need some inspirin' ...

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