Quantifying Thesis Progress

Via Jean is this picometer. I am not going to do word counts on complete thesis until I have a first draft. I work on chapters at a time. I have 15,000 words of my proposed 25,000 word lit review/methodology first chapter/section done. About 8,000 words of my 20,000 word third chapter/section on the Rise of the Imports (it looks something like this paper;), with heaps of analysis work done of magazines (the debate played out in the letters section of the now defunct Speed magazine on V8 versus turbo). About 2,500 words of my fourth 10,000 word chapter/section on Hoons and Governmentality. The Hoon and Governmentality chapter is from work all the way back in 2003 and is a version of the conference paper I gave at the 2003 CSAA conference. Lastly, I am thinking my chapter/sections may be split into different sections of about 20-25,000 words (say on Street Machining) and then smaller chapters of 7-8,000 words (on different periods or issues). But I am working on big 20-25,000 word chunks.

At the moment I am working on my second chapter as I am giving a paper this Friday from the empirical magazine work. It is on the history of Street Machining in Australia. For my paper, I am focusing on a very narrow section during the early period of Street Machine magazine’s first years when Geoff Paradise edited the magazine and the immediate period following this, what I call the Counter Reformation under the editorship of Phil Scott. The Counter-Reformation is when Street Machining gained its reactionary masculine and nationalistic image through its focus on the V8 and Australian (or US) built cars.

I have timed the paper writing to coincide with the writing up period of my empirical work I am doing (reading 30 years of magazines and club notes and constructing a master spreadsheet of notes). So how much have I done of this chapter actually writing it up (discounting spreadsheet)?

This is a day’s writing work but the chapter in total will be the product of about 2 weeks of empirical work. A month a chapter working at the current no-bullshit 8-hour solid of actual working a day rate? Cutting it close… What have I been doing for the last 3 years!?!? lol! At least this work feels like it is something I couldn’t have known three years ago. It has taken me this long to figure out the questions that needed to be asked, even though the answers have been under my nose the whole time… Frustrating!!!

One reply on “Quantifying Thesis Progress”

  1. You have written more than me! That sucks!

    Seriously though, I know what you mean with that last bit – when i look back at proposals and outlines and stuff that I wrote before I even *started* my PhD I feel like the questions and answers were right there, hiding, already. It’s just taken me 2 years to get back to them after going all around the houses. And I have heaps of empirical research still to do. I will probably shift from the holistic approach to ‘finishing’ a chapter at a time, but not for a few months. At this stage it’s just a matter of trying to put in everything I already think I know so I can figure out what I don’t know yet…

    PS PhDs are REALLY BIG. Much bigger than my MPhil, which felt relatively painless at the time (or is that the postpartum endorphins taking over?). I’m sure nobody warned me 😉

Comments are closed.