Does a thesis count?

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Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:08 am Post

I finally submitted my doctoral thesis yesterday - after four and a half years of research and writing. Of course it won't be 'published' until after the viva and subsequent corrections... does that make the distinction between a writer and an author? Does one hard-copy in a university library, and one electronic copy in EThOS (British Library online thesis repository) count as being published?

I've been musing on a couple of other things too:
- it's likely that only 3, maybe 4 people will ever read my thesis, but I know at least 10 will want to scan the acknowledgments ;o)
- this is probably the hardest piece of writing and research I will ever do, yet it is hopefully (if I have a successful future) to be the worst piece of work I ever get published, and the one of which I shall be the least proud.

Thank you Keith, for Scrivener, the forums etc, but especially for being so kind last weekend (on a sunny sunday), when I was behaving like a headless farm animal.

(soon to be scholarSarah instead of studentSarah?)

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Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:35 am Post

Congratulations, Sarah, and yes I would definitely say a thesis counts!
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:19 am Post

Anyone who thinks a thesis doesn't count has never written one. Congratulations!

My undergraduate advisor's grad students used to pop open champagne after defending their theses. The ceiling tile outside his office was pocked with dents where the corks hit, each initialed by the lucky student. An excellent tradition that I'd love to see continued at your university. :D

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Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:52 am Post

Doctoral theses require more intelligence, originality, dedication and sheer hard work than the vast majority of novels, film scripts etc. And you've probably produced more valid, final text than most people who think of themselves as writers. They should count in anyone's mind.
Congratulations. Keep writing, you're on your way.

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Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:02 pm Post

So does this mean that you will be brightening the forums a bit more frequently now?

Which is my way of congratulating you on completing a personal milestone.Make Mr Sarah take you to dinner. You've earned it.

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09


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Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:26 pm Post

Yes, well done Sarah.

I presume from what you've written above that there's no possibility of extending or converting your thesis into a book?

In any case, whilst you've been otherwise engaged, the forum has, as Jaysen indicates, missed your contributions.
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:09 pm Post

Congratulations Sarah. Writing a thesis is similar, to a certain extent, to collecting materials for a novel (and vice-versa). So, yes, I would say you are a writer!


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Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:45 pm Post

Sarah, congratulations on completing your doctoral work. Hope it leads to a great picture of you in mortarboard, and a lucrative job offer as well.

Another of those inevitable UK-US differences is that in the US a "thesis" is an undergraduate essay for a BA or MA, and a "dissertation" is a draft book for a Ph.D. So if you apply for a job over here, be sure to call your masterpiece a doctoral dissertation.

I know the genre well. My lifetime score as adviser is 280 theses, and 100 dissertations. In my case, advising involved lots of line-editing.

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Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:08 pm Post

Well done Sarah!!. :D Warm and sincere congratulation on your wonderful achievement, and the very best of luck with the viva. :wink:
Take care. Good Luck.
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Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:14 am Post

Congratulations Sarah! And it definitely counts - I abandoned mine years ago, so I know how hard it can be to push through to the end of a PhD thesis (well, I actually know how easy it is to quit :) ), so I have infinite respect for your achievement.
All the best,

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Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:40 pm Post

Congratulations! I'm a few months away from submitting mine to my supervisor (and then a few more from actually defending) and I'd say it definitely counts. Once you've come down, I'd love to hear how you used Scrivener for your research and writing!

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Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:10 pm Post

Sarah -

Congratulations! That is very impressive and you should be proud.

I have just completed a much more modest achievement, my master's degree in education. I did compose a thesis (called a "critique" at my institution) and while it pales in comparison to the effort and focus required to complete a dissertation for a doctorate, it was still a research, writing and editing challenge.

The secret to my success. Duh: Scrivener. In fact, after reading this thread, I realize I need to go Tweet this info to my academic friends and followers. I completed the outline, the first rough draft, the second rough draft, and the first full draft in Scrivener, before compiling it for completion in MS Word.

Without Scrivener I'd be a figure even sorrier than the ABD in doctorate programs: I'd be an ABC in my master's program: "all but critique."

Thanks Keith and congrats again to you Sarah!!


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Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:01 pm Post

Congratulations!!! (I too wrote my PhD thesis in Scrivener)

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Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:08 pm Post

Congrats Sarah, your advisors were pretty tough editors I'm sure, so that is another parallel with the commercial publishing game.

I teach scientific writing (papers/theses/grants) at a research institute, and am very eager to hear how you used Scrivener for your thesis, if you can find time after your viva. I only discovered Scrivener recently and have been using it for all my own projects since.

I always remember being told about how - at least in Poland - multiple thesis copies were made in the old, pre-printer, days. The typists would do three or more copies at a time, via the magic of carbon paper. They used ultra-thin paper, and had to press really hard!

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Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:39 pm Post

I think I must have turned off auto-notify of new posts, because I had no idea there was such a flood of responses, all so warm and congratulating! If I didn't know it before, I definitely do now - what a lovely bunch of folk the crew of Scrivener are, and how chuffed am I to be on board! :D

Thanks for all the reassuring messages - I'm grinning like a simpleton just thinking that I'm a writer :mrgreen:

Hugh wrote:I presume from what you've written above that there's no possibility of extending or converting your thesis into a book?

Hmmm, sadly very unlikely - it's a collection of experiments that won't make a good book. I had only one publishable result, and I failed to replicate it. I don't mind hugely, because I've decided I'm not going to continue with the topic.

Jaysen wrote:So does this mean that you will be brightening the forums a bit more frequently now?

Yes, I'll be around, sorry :wink:

druid wrote:I know the genre well. My lifetime score as adviser is 280 theses, and 100 dissertations. In my case, advising involved lots of line-editing.

Wow druid, I'm impressed - how on earth do you remain sane? (And thank you for the advice about the UK/US terminology, that's completely new to me)

synecdoche and geoffh - I don't think I have much to offer that hasn't already been discussed, regarding Scriv and academic writing, but I'll put a post in the forum on using Scrivener with how I did it, it will be a nice excercise in writing without pressure, for once!

Thanks again to all of you for your congratulations, I'm walking on air!