My prof, Alex Halavais, sent a bunch of us this quickie entitled “Finishing the Doctoral Degree in a Timely Fashion”. For the love of all of us in the same boat, I’d thought I’d share it with you too. Via the Tomorrow’s Professor Blog:
“Modesty is also helpful in choosing a manageable topic. Some students set out to write a dissertation that will change the world; others just want to write a dissertation. In terms of results, there seems to be no correlation between the quality of the dissertation and the ambitious nature of the topic.”
The article lists a bunch of helpful pointers, including how originality matters and how it’s perfectly okay for the paper to have a personal and idiosyncratic origin. It is no accident that research on certain groups is likely to be pioneered by people of that group: women have often led the way in women’s history, Blacks in Black history, immigrants in the history of immigration. This is definately something I’ve thought about when doing research over here… on whether I should write from an International, American or Singaporean perspective.