Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to read a thesis

This begins my postgrad life, and my hopes of a post doc new identity; it's a letter to myself in preparation of post grad supervision, and is based on the experiences of myself and of other students and what we/they want in an examiner.

Read it for added value - not for the student but for the importance it brings into the world.
Read it for rigour - it does need to be clear, honest, coherent. The substance does need to be argued, the methodology likewise.
Read it for its ethical undertaking - its not ok to use and abuse others. Participation requires respect.
Read it for your profession, your colleagues, your students - the cutting edge of new research and of new topics is here.
Read it for enjoyment - the presentation , the wordsmithing, the empathy invoked for the writer if not for the participants talked of.
But above all, read it.

I am so grateful for my own readers/examiners and for the feedback received that made 'my' thesis better.
What irks the phd student is a read where a marker does not read in a spirited way; when what is provided is a review not of what the writer undertook, but of what the reader would have done had it been their thesis.
There is no point criticizing the omelette for not being pavlova.
read it for its promise fulfillment.
Eat it, hoping for its readiness while knowing it could be otherwise....

How To Eat a Poem
by Eve Merriam

Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.