GSC Chair-Elect Fireside Chat: The Last Hurdle: Dissertation and Thesis Writing
Scheduled Time: Mon, Apr 11 - 4:05pm - 5:35pm Building/Room: Astor Crowne Plaza,
Chair: Nicholas Daniel Hartlep (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
Participant: William C. Ayers (University of Illinois - Chicago)
Participant: Thandeka K. Chapman (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
Participant: Gregory Michie (Concordia University - Chicago)
Participant: Jamie Lew (Rutgers University)]
How do you stay motivated to get through a dissertation?
Write to change the world – work on your passion
For ego – to see your name in print
Because I can
To express my anger, frustration etc. with the way things are
Read Orwell's Why I Write – then Representations of the Intellectual by Said
What is a common hurdle in writing?
Time - when and how, still have a life
Unbalanced life – too much focus on dissertation
Often cast as a novice – through you are clearly interesting and expert in your own work. Doc. students tend to spend to much citing others – focus on your own work
Not finding your own voice in academia – don't subsume your own work under others.
Using too much academic language to sound academic – clarity is more important.
Work with, not against your adviser
Stay in touch – both with adviser and other doc. students
Can all theses or dissertations be turned into a book?
Yes – but why? Not all should
Yes – but strip out the doctoral per-formative stuff
Read widely – poetry, in your area, out of your area, memoir
Sample and collage of works
Know your audience – answer the criticism and questions of them
Imagine your audience as slightly smarter them me, just not in my area
Think about why you want to and what it means for you
For some, it is like a final exam, and most feel, after the fact, it is not perfect, or even good. There is a lot of revision that needs to be done.
You must put words on the page – be disciplined. Good intentions don't work.
Read – read - read
Rename the five chapters
Turning toward the phenomenon – the better you can describe the phenomenon in a rap, the better you understand it. You are in the study – name the phenomenon.
The intellectual conversation – about what is already going one visible to the audience. But wanting to take part of it, you need to know what it is
Making meaning – defend how you are going to understand the phenomenon by describing the methods used to find and understand the data
Body of the Work – what you found
A new way of knowing/thinking – this will change the way we think about …
Focus on the depth of topics – not the breadth
We tend to try to say too much about to many things
Get focused on the key points, and do them well
What is your writing routine?
Structure day into a work schedule – 9-12 lunch 1-4 writing time
Have a routine! Whatever it is that works for you!
Find what inspires you to write.
Reward yourself – whatever that is for you, when you reach milestones – a page, a chapter etc.
How do you know you have accomplished something?
When there are words on the page
When a paragraph is crafted well
You might not know – just keep writing – as writing is a form of thinking
Make endings – you can always revise and revise – just end.
How do you work with committees?
Choose the right chair
stay in touch – but not aggressively
Keep meetings – bring snacks if meeting over lunch
Remember that you will be challenged – but look for support
How to deal with family?
Know your family - how much do they want to be involved
Be kind to them – be considerate – don't get too wrapped up in your own work