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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dissertation Chapter

The nuts and bolts of the dissertation chapter. Are they the same as those of a 7,000 article?

You might think of the dissertation chapter, which is 40 pages not 20, as the double of the 6-7 thousand word article. Since they are longer, they tend to be less readable, harder to get through. What makes them longer, typically, is the kind of work that shows the committee that the dissertator knows what she's talking about. Longer literature surveys, more background material on socio-political context, plot summaries...

The basic structure, however, can be the same. The tasks for the introduction are identical. The chapter will require 3-4 sections in the body of the text, only these sections will now be longer. The challenge is one of elegance: it is much harder to move gracefully in a longer piece with more assigned tasks.

1 comment:

matt said...

a much-needed structural reminder for me today as I get out from under the pile of job applications and really get back to the daily writing of my diss. after an insufferable 3-4 weeks away from that everyday discipline.