Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do not whine and be complex-ridden, because it is annoying

I liked this summary, particularly Maxim 15, Eco’s “How to Write a Thesis” in 15 Maxims by Christian.
1. Academic humility is the knowledge that anyone can teach us something. Practice it.

2. A thesis is like a chess game that requires a player to plan in advance all the moves he will make to checkmate his opponent.

3. How long does it take to write a thesis? No longer than three years and no less than six months.

4. Imagine that you have a week to take a 600-mile car trip. Even if you are on vacation, you will not leave your house and begin driving indiscriminately in a random direction. A provisional table of contents will function as your work plan.

5. You must write a thesis that you are able to write.

6. Your thesis exists to prove the hypothesis that you devised at the outset, not to show the breadth of your knowledge.

7. What you should never do is quote from an indirect source pretending that you have read the original.

8. Quote the object of your interpretive analysis with reasonable abundance.

9. Use notes to pay your debts.

10. You should not become so paranoid that you believe you have been plagiarized every time a professor or another student addresses a topic related to your thesis.

11. If you read the great scientists or the great critics you will see that, with a few exceptions, they are quite clear and are not ashamed of explaining things well.

12. You are not Proust. Do not write long sentences.

13. The language of a thesis is a metalanguage, that is, a language that speaks of other languages. A psychiatrist who describes the mentally ill does not express himself in the manner of his patients.

14. If you do not feel qualified, do not defend your thesis.

15. Do not whine and be complex-ridden, because it is annoying.

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