But the only way to get to a good argument is to experiment and fail a lot in the dissertation and post-dissertation process.” In other words, a dissertation is where you begin to articulate the ideas and arguments that will eventually transform into your book.But it takes a lot of revising, restructuring, and failing in order to find a cohesive argument and structure.
But the only way to get to a good argument is to experiment and fail a lot in the dissertation and post-dissertation process.” In other words, a dissertation is where you begin to articulate the ideas and arguments that will eventually transform into your book.
If you’re reading this, maybe you’ve recently submitted your dissertation, and your advisors think it’s terrific.
Or perhaps you’ve just landed a postdoc or your first tenure-track job, and one of your next goals is working on your first academic book.
Many people, in fact, go to graduate school because they have always been “good at school,” and want to continue with something that brings them success and self-confidence.
The reading assignments, labs, papers, and tests you have been assigned as a graduate student may not have been so different from your undergraduate course work.
As such, it is best described, using Sen’s metaphor, as “a spectator sport.” “A good academic book cannot be a spectator sport,” Sen explains.
“The reader is not satisfied when she is kept at a distance, watching the author play a game with other people in a distant field or stadium. Try writing in a different “voice.” In some ways, your prose style now matters more than your thesis: Even a great argument won’t pass editorial muster if it’s mired in unreadable text.
Graduate school pundits often cite 50% or more as the attrition rate for ABD students (those who have completed All the requirements of their programs But the Dissertation). This handout will not only answer this question, but also give you good, practical advice on starting, drafting, and completing your dissertation.
The Writing Center can’t advise you about technical questions (for example, how to force Microsoft Word to set up tables correctly or format page numbers the way you want), but we know people who may be able to! Why don’t doctoral candidates manage to get rolling on the dissertation any sooner, or KEEP rolling once they get started?
Their responses contained some of the most incisive advice I’ve ever seen on the craft of writing, but everything they said can be boiled down to two fundamental points. When one argument rises out of the analytics and becomes something on which you can build an intellectual agenda.
Books are driven by arguments, not by constellations of analytics.