I want them to finish their dissertations, but now another semester has gone by with missed deadlines and no concrete progress.
I want them to finish their dissertations, but now another semester has gone by with missed deadlines and no concrete progress.And that means that May graduations look increasingly unrealistic.
And let’s be honest, a dissertation is unlike any of the genres of research that they have been reading.
What that means is that they do not know how to write a dissertation, and they may have unrealistic expectations about its required scope and quality -- expectations that are keeping them from moving forward.
Keep in mind that your students have spent several years in classes learning how to criticize the best work in your discipline.
(My favorite is Sonja Foss and William Waters’s .) And I recommend that you have references to a few well-written dissertations in your recent departmental history that they can read as examples of a finished product. (And by “writing” I mean anything that moves a manuscript out the door.) However, that’s the opposite of how most graduate students write, or imagine they write, their dissertations.
This emerges from a combination of past binge-and-bust writing habits, the flawed assumption that nothing can get done in 30 minutes a day, and the idea that they must have everything figured out 30 minutes per day on their dissertation, that’s great!