Monday, December 7, 2009

Super model

It is so helpful for me to have another dissertation to reference as I'm putting mine together. Really, having a model is so valuable. The closer it is to your topic, the better. It gives you a place to go when all the little questions crop up - the ones that are too inconsequential to bother asking your professor about, but somehow manage to suck up all your time. Questions like "How many levels of headings should I go with, and what happens when I want one more than that?" and "How should I start out a chapter?" and "Can I at least have a ballpark figure of how long this chapter should be?"

In fact, I think having 2 models to reference is even better, because then you aren't basing your dissertation on the whim of some other grad student - you can base your work on similarities, with the assumption that that's how it's done. (I wouldn't bother with too many more than that, because then it'll just become another time-sucker.)

Another hint: check out the committee members that signed off on your model dissertation. In an ideal world, they'll be (a) other researchers in your field that you respect and/or (b) people from your own committee.

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