A short and to the point article for researchers.

Research Degree Voodoo

This is a conversation I’ve had twice in the last two days with doctoral candidates, so I thought it might be useful to talk about here.

Graduate researchers often feel the need to produce a long, detailed defence of the theory or methodology they plan to use in their thesis. Usually, this is not necessary.

What you do need is to show what the method/theory enables you to do with your data, and how that helps you produce the kind of conclusions you are aiming for. 

As with all advice, there are exceptions. For my thesis: My methodology is to do a social historical study of the period (focusing on the economic transactions and social networks of artists and patrons), and then do close analysis of the art work. If I were only doing literary study, or musicology, that sentence would be sufficient. However, in order to do an interdisciplinary thesis I had…

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