Friday, July 17, 2009

Dissertation Blues


One of the hot topics of discussion these days is the pending dissertation to be submitted by the ides of September. A paper comprising of some 15000 words.

I am convinced that this dissertation is a ‘high quality’ and ‘thoughtful’ – cut copy and paste. And people have been vehemently disagreeing with me. Some have made library their home. Some have become insomniacs and some are just too nervous.

Well if dissertation was to be a fruit of one’s intellectual or academic prowess then we don’t need literature review. Just sign off the dissertation confidently under your signature - no references required. I would love to do something like that. But won’t risk it. And if we could actually submit an original paper that gets accepted by the supervisor, doesn’t it qualify to be a theory?

If all we are doing is reading, mutating and reproducing the literature that already exists and referencing it with pages and pages of bibliography, why are we loosing sleep?

It’s an interesting thing that I observed recently. Every subject has thousands of books written on it and each paragraph has a reference to another journal or a book. Can I therefore assume that 99% of books are just clever mutations and reproduction of someone else’s work?

I would be happy to come across 1/1000th the number of theories or masterpieces as the number of books that have been written in the last 40 years.

9 comments:

  1. i totally agree with the point about the books all referencing each other! i have already begun to notice that in the few articles i have read so far!

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  2. Yeah! I agree.
    Apart from dissertations. We in Engg. have to write bibliography for a 70 page Summer Ind. Training Report.
    It makes no sense.

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  3. hi manu, I agree too. I read a thesis with an interestesting title from last year and was utterly disappointed. No innovation in thoughts, no deep insight into the subject. Just summary of other people's work, including of major OB theories. That thesis got a distinction! sigh.... so sad...

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  4. No one has ever put the truth so accurately.

    I now understand why all the articles in OB were from the 1900's, bse people didnt write anything after that but just referenced

    Would really have loved to write my own paper abt my thoughts, opinions and understanding of events - Well I gues then I should maybe BLOG

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  5. happy copying, cutting and pasting!

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  6. Why always complain? Maybe you did not try to find the reason or did not come across one person who has done it the right way. Just too bad for you. All this reading and reviewing is meant for just that - reading and reviewing. You go through wisdom of so many people and then, even with all the copying and pasting, you present your own thoughts and insights. That is what this is supposed to do to you. It did to me and, you for one would be shocked to know, that I did win the top honours!!! That was way back in 1996 and I was doing a study on motivation in a high-on-hierarchy setup. So there, originality does not have to take a back-seat. EVER. Instead of whining, have the strength of conviction to do it YOUR way.

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  7. Dear anonymous

    You seem to be real stuck up. Are you an under-achiever or a useless theorist? Did your research or theory make a difference to high-on-hierarchy setup? If you had made even an incremental (just a bit) difference to motivation, you would have not posted this comment as anonymous.
    Top honours? Does it matter? Ask yourself…..
    The blogger is not whining. He presented a point of view that was seconded by many other comments on the same blog.
    Are you suffering from an old wound, frustrated by a liberal’s opinion or musing at the futility of your top honour?

    Grow up Mr. anonymous

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  8. Friends friends friends,

    Relax!!!!
    This is not a forum to be bitter or to fight. Malaika – come on, everyone has a right to an opinion. Anonymous must have a point somewhere. It’s a pity that he/she was too direct and insulting. I feel sorry for him/her and pardon his anonymous audacity.

    Courage of conviction and confidence cannot be presented under anonymous listings.

    Before I posted, I had a long chat with a senior lecturer at Warwick Business School. The academic system and values have deteriorated over the last 40 years. Academicians are more keen to publish papers just to get the numbers right to climb the hierarchical ladder in the academic field. And a lot of crap (academic papers, books, journal articles) is being generated without any consequence to the study of science or management.

    Ask an academician – What is the purpose of a Business School / University anywhere in the world “Teach and create leaders and managers or do research”, the answer would be research. And this is not the academician’s fault. The system has wrong parameters of judgement. And everyone is busy publishing papers.

    This is not what the purpose of ‘temples of learning’ is. We call these temples Universities today.

    Being a good teacher is of no consequence. Being a paper writer is of greater consequence. And these methodologies are corrupting the process of teaching and learning. Perhaps this is why undue importance is being given to dissertations.

    Maybe a referendum is required in which every individual who ever dissertated should be asked to opine. What did he/she achieve through dissertation?

    Good luck to all.

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  9. I agree with you Manu.I read many articles and journals, it just repeats itself. New theories are just an obvious action a person would do under a circumstances.Some theories even my 10year old could figue it out and I have to write as if it's a theoretical discovery!

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Your comment isimmensely appreciated and will be published for a discussion - soonest. Thanks. manu