Sunday, March 03, 2013

are we there yet? Almost!

In terms of my PhD, it is just around the corner, it is as if the signposts point to it, and i can see it just a little way off.
After 130 days that became increasingly anxiety provoking; despite the reassurance of my supervisor and my friends, I was becoming teary at the thought that
a. the examiners might not have found it an easy or compelling read
b. that the possible reasons for a slow result were less associated with timing, travel or illness, and might signify a poor quality of thesis.

I began to construct origami cranes out of earlier drafts drawing on hope that when i had a thousand what i wished for (a pass) would come true. And at least they looked good. And if worst came to worse letting them fall from some high place might befit a saying goodbye to such hope.

But I am almost there, I do now have results, i have basked in most of what was written, and identified the contradictions between different examiners. I have some 50 typos that i am embarrassed by, i had only noted 10 or so. I placate myself in thinking that is one error for just under every 2000 words written; 1 for every 6 pages or there abouts.

The fears I had were unfounded. Where i had pushed the envelope a bit, noted by one department reader as not being the usual genre for a phd, ("a cross between Yoda and a Turner-Hospital novel") did me no harm, but it was where my anxiety lay. In writing atypically, particularly in my data discussion area, i had written in a style that depicted juxtapositioning, the written policies as pdfs, alongside tiffs of painting and composite photographs, images of data and of quotes. One examiner didn't get it. Not all readers 'get' Aramis by Latour, or Aircraft stories by John Law, or the body multiple by Mol. Nonetheless I am glad i did it. I had not aspired to mediocracy. And yet i had constrained myself to what i saw as a 'typical' structural layout for fear that to do otherwise might lose the thesis marker entirely.

I need to make minor amendments, the typos, and i agree with the advice on early writing still being present where my later writing would have picked up on weaker definitions drawn on. There are then some really good pointers in my comments where integrating some more useful literature alongside a couple of definitions would make for a stronger end product. I also got pulled up on an area i glossed; the exact number of young people in the study. I deserved to be pulled up on this, there had been deliberate obfuscation on my part. An astute examination indeed. There is also a recommendation on structure, again an astute examiner noted the morphing of one section into another. I know why it happened; it had previously sat in the other chapter, my rewrite had always found the shift a little messy. It had been sectioning that i had never really been happy with.
I am very appreciative of the advice given.
And overall, I am very happy with the rigor of reading provided. 8 years of work deserves the very serious attention my writing received.
So now to make the changes.
Just waiting on the post marking tiredness to settle; i had not really allowed myself to relax until i had heard, and my writing voice had become more and more constrained in the anxiety of waiting.
i think i am now ready; i have 4 weeks (now) to resubmit.


  1. Thanks David, i am in a state of post submission and post submission awaiting marking tiredness. Addresssing nothing but faults leaves me feeling more vulnerable than i had anticipated.