I have just remembered why I chose not to do a Masters degree, and decided not to go through the pain of trying to write a doctoral thesis thereafter. It is all because of analysis. If you want to analyse something in the real world, you analyse it. End of story. Someone else argues with you. You both have another drink together and you go home.
If you are writing a dissertation, it is different. First you have to introduce the fact that you are, in fact, writing a thesis and intend to analyse something. Then you say what that something is, and provide a brief history of the something. Then you give a history of analysis itself. Then you give a long account of what every other analyst said about analysis and why some analysts got together with other analysts and split off from the main branch of analysts, and when, and what they hoped to achieve but did not, and what they did actually achieve. This could confuse even the most perspicacious reader – in which case, one of your prime objectives will have been met.
Back to analysis.
You provide, if you have not done so already, the historical, philosophical, socio-historical, socio-theatrical (Ah! you are actually reading this! That last word was rubbish by the way. Delete.), and psycho-social reasons why all this has happened just so that you can say what you think now, i.e. present your own analysis of the thing.
Then you say why your analysis will be different to all those aforementioned. Nevertheless, in order to present your new ideas, you are going to borrow bits of models from about five different analysts to lend support to your own analysis.
That is most of your thesis done. The rest is plain sailing. Then you make your point. Then you say what others might think or might interpret your point to be. Then you make your point again in different words from a different perspective – or the same words from the same perspective, if you prefer.
Then you present two conclusions. Then you and hum and harr about which one you really think is the more valid of the two in the particular context of your chosen area of research. Finally, you plum for one (or the other, as the case may be).
Then you make your conclusion, but leave a little window open for that nagging doubt that you might not have made the best conclusion after all, and call it “things beyond the scope of this work” which might provide opportunity for further research. Ugh!
Having done all that, you send “the final draft” to a proofreader like me who, inter alia, proofreads it.
Call me a cynic if you like, but make sure you say that I am a confidential one.
Two blog posts before breakfast (to make up for the one lost in thesis proofs). Life is grand!
The word in bold appeared in the previous post.