I’ve spent the full day working on a dissertation proposal due tomorrow. It’s only 2,481 words which is a drop in the ocean compared with the 622,000 i’ve written on this blog but it requires another level or two of thinking…
Please, bore me.
One of the most frustrating things about this dissertation business is the style it has to be in. No breaks allowed between paragraphs which means it looks incredibly dull and boring. Personally, i’d hate to read through dozens of these. No matter how fantastic the content is, i’d just get angry and bored looking at the layout. Rather like a book with a small font size, millions of pages and no pictures. My idea of hell.
Ah, the Harvard referencing scheme. I know i’m supposed to use it but for the last 3 years i’ve gotten away with a hybrid mix of harvard and my own random style. Not so easy with a dissertation where things have to be a little more ‘bow tie’. It took me a couple of hours just to format 16 references. Torture. I’d love to be able to stick a url or pdf in to a reference generator and have it auto generate everything for me. I’m sure it’s possible, perhaps it’s an idea for someone…
Anyway, regarding the references themselves, i had to find 8 ‘peer reviewed’ journals and the like. In other words, no wikipedia, no blogs, no whitepapers. That was tough. It’s a world i never knew existed. Why? Because most of them aren’t free or easily accessible. It’s a bit like the old world without the internet where you had to go in to libraries or buy magazines and books…. you know, pay for free words that are packaged by a human and sold for a hefty markup… My generation expect information to be free. All of it. We won’t pay for it unless we’ve a deadline to meet and absolutely can’t find an alternative.
Did i find anything useful or eye opening? Not really, give me blogs and forums and social media any day. Easier to read and more entertaining. All that academic stuff gets boring very quickly and i find myself drained after reading a few papers. The language is just too boring and neutral and the style doesn’t help it any either.
Every word matters
I mentioned this a couple of days ago, but i really did have to read and re-read every sentence when writing this proposal. I can pick flaws with virtually every single sentence in it if you asked me to but there comes a time when you have to let writing flow otherwise you end up with blank sheets of paper. I wasn’t too concerned about how well the proposal read, i was more concerned with not digging holes for myself. As a result the proposal probably reads fairly well… just like a big blog post. That could be it’s weakness though, it could be a little vague in parts but overall i’m happy with it. It’s what i enjoy doing (social media stuff) so provided i can bundle this across the approval line, i’m happy regardless of what % i get this semester or next semester.