Where I is?

Today I went through every single thing I have written for my PhD over the last two years or so, synthesising everything that is at least half-useful, which is about 63,500 words and 180 pages. Now I’m scared, because that means I must have written about twice that on stuff that is entirely useless and not related to my thesis, including other writerly activities like non-related papers and blogs…

I imagine that the figure of 63,500 odd words should be chopped in about half (maybe a bit more than half) considering its half-usefulness, meaning I have only 45-50,000 words to use. Hmmm, shithouse. The problem is that the 63,500 word sum of writing does not include any interview or ethnographic work. The word count is going to explode when I include this stuff.

To any PhD’ers out in the blogoshpere reading this, how long do you imagine your thesis will be?

8 replies on “Where I is?”

  1. slimmer the better i reckon. mine @ 65 000 (wish it were a salary:) think about having to wade through the waffle we put in there, even if WE think it is necessary. (want syrup with that) spare and honest writing reads the best but seems to be the most difficult to write, but sending stuff to the cutting room floor … sob … i need it …. really … sob … it … is … revolutionary. (“it’s o.k. darl, here have your medicine” whispers my nurse, “wipe away the crocodile tears, that’s a good boy then”)

  2. haha! is this your first time in the blogosphere Mr Clif? do I have your anguish and silent joy spilt like virginal blood upon my blog!?!? Yeah!

    yeah, but IT IS revolutionary! come on! (that wasn’t a leyton ‘come on’ with combined reverse walk-like-an-egyptian, it was more a ‘come on’ you say to one of those bouncers who won’t let your mate in cause he looks too much like leyton and is afraid his rude head will incite a will to violence in the other punters.)

  3. oh, but seriously, I have been told around 80,000 for my thesis. I have always been aiming for 80,000.

    how about another question. at what stage did people think they were actually going to finish and it wasn’t some impossible dream?

  4. I always dreamed mine would make 96,000 – an odd and somewhat random number but I thought that was long enough to make it significant but just short of being overblown. That was when I thought my PhD would tease out my arrogance by being something worthwhile. Now I’m happy with the 70-ish I’m sitting on. However, there is something mystical about the 80,000 you speak of Glen.

    Cliffy does have a point, the shorter ther better. The trip has taught me to make my point and leave – it’s not supposed to be watertight but it is supposed to be contained.

  5. I reckon my MA was 40-50,000. I handed it in hoping they didn’t notice the extra 20,000 words. As it turned out, they didn’t mention the word count but told me to get rid of Chapter 4 which, in their words, “could not easily be made acceptable.” That was 10,000 words gone like that!

  6. I am cursed with conciseness. My MPhil struggled to get over 25,000 words, so going by that and the sickness of constant editing (as in, I hardly ever write, I only ever edit) with which I’m afflicted, I reckon my PhD will be closer to 70 than 100 that’s for sure.

  7. Hmmm, my honours was 25,000 first edit. Then I lost, not just a chapter, but one third of my entire thing. Like I did an intro to my topic and then made two big arguments. I had to chop an argument thread. Then it copped some serious footnoting action to get it ‘near’ the 10 thou required.

    My feeling is that my thesis may be geting to big already and I am no where near the word limit. I have figured out most of my arguments, it only depends on how many words/examples it takes to argue them.

Comments are closed.