Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Francesca, co-blogger

First of all, I'd like to thank El Puerco ;) for inviting me to add content on this blog.

Second, I must confess that I spent ALL FREAKING DAY procrastinating on this, this, and sadly this. I did not write a single word of the dissertation today and only half-heartedly worked on bibliography and polishing up the conference paper I'm giving next week in Boston. Shout out to you archaeologists in Bloglandia--I'd love to meet you at the AIA Meetings.

So, what's my dissertation situation? I'm getting my Ph.D. in Classical art and archaeology, specializing in Greek and Roman stuff. My dissertation is about a Roman-period house at Pompeii, in Italy. I passed my orals in March 2002 and had my dissertation prospectus approved in October 2002. I didn't actually start writing until February 2004. Why, you ask? Because I ignored a Golden Rule of dissertation writing--take your diss. topic, chop it in half, chop it in half again, then start working. My topic was too huge. Even as it is now, I could have made the topic more manageable.
As of today, I've got three chapters written and approved by my main dissertation advisor. I have one more chapter to write and then the conclusion. I've been working on the conclusion all along, so I think I can churn that out in ten days or so. This last chapter, though, is going to be a bitch. I've put it off till now because I'm not really jazzed about this aspect of the research--poorly-preserved wall paintings of mundane subjects, for the most part. The paintings that aren't mundane are really problematic, so I know some of that stuff is going to be hard to write.
The hardest part is starting. We know this. Whether it's the first sentence of a new chapter or the first word of the dissertation as a whole, it seems like we are all loathe to just apply our fingers to they keyboard and get going. I started on the hated painting chapter last week, which was a relief, but I've done nothing on it since then. I've been distracted by the dreaded conference paper. So tomorrow, I vow to start again.


Blogger Porkorama said...

Aaah...yes. The golden rule of dissertations...I'm still learning that. I have found that my whole dissertation is going to be what I thought was the topic for one chapter. It's growing from the inside out. As far as chopping goes, it DOES help to think of the dissertation one chapter at a time. Only ONE chapter exists, and that's just a paper you're writing.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Francesca said...

I wrote one chapter over the summer that ended up being 140 pages. That REALLY should have been my entire dissertation. It was a nice, tidy topic and something that would have been a good stand-alone book. But I had already written a couple of other chapters and it would have been nonsensical at that point to just quit and to leave out an obvious section. So I'm looking at a monster dissertation in the end.

Yes, breaking down individual chapters as if they were seminar papers is a great way to organize and to not feel so overwhelmed. I'm sure most PhD students are accustomed to writing a seminar paper (25+ pp) in a couple of weeks, so that breaking-down idea is probably another very significant Golden Rule of Dissertations!

12:01 AM  
Blogger LJ said...

Feeling your pain...I'm a M.A. student working on my final project to be finished by this May. Then it's on to PhD world.

Your problem has always been my #1 problem with writing my essays: narrowing the topic enough. I guess that's why having advisors is key.

Anyway hang in there, and come visit me if you've got the time:

12:15 AM  
Blogger Porkorama said...

Francesca, would they have accepted your dissertation at 140 pages? Someone asked the head of our department once what a dissertation consisted of, and he said, "about 250 pages." I wonder if I could get how much leeway the "about" gives me.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Francesca said...

Who knows if they would have accepted a diss. that long? My advisor is very pragmatic and since I've been writing papers for him, he's never given a page limit. His rule is to "just write until you've answered the questions." By that token, I could have submitted a 20 page diss, were I to have investigated the issues thoroughly enough! But I do imagine that had I started from the beginning with the revised, smaller topic, that 140 pages, plus 30 for intro and conclusion would have been sufficient.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Deblogger said...

OK, you probably have been putting this off for some time now. I really wanted to let people know that bad credit can be repaired by bad credit mortgage credit repair FICO and bankruptcy buyout and foreclosure bailout may or may not apply. And that is all I have to say about that (at this time).

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Francesaca,

I would like to ask couples of question, while researching and collecting my thesis data i 'm pretty much tired. I have got almost everything what i need but i need your advice! problem is, i have no idea where to start my thesis. i been reading blogs and searching alot for it but didn't find anything related. should i ask anyone for do my assignment for me? do you think they gonna help with ? are they professional or not?

Paulette Dodson

7:56 AM  
Blogger buyassignment service said...

This truly is a rousing article for all. Nice exertion. Do assignment

6:04 AM  
Blogger Handsome Boy said...

I have been asked several times on how to decide whether to book in advance or wait for a deal in the last minute. The answer mostly depends on how flexible you are, how often the particular cruise you want takes place, and how popular it is. Here are some tips on deciding when to go after a last minute deal.
custom essay writers

2:12 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Happy to come across this wonderful post as i look more on how to do my school work for me for free.

10:31 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home