Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Diss To Do List

1. Read through Advisor's comments for Chapter 6 and get cracking!
2. Read through Second Reader's comments for Chapters 1-2 and start pondering (more detailed comments to follow, so wait for those) -- done! Of course, she suggested I read about 4 more books to fill out my analysis, so I guess that's not really done.
3. Do the topic sentence exercise to tighten up the organization of Chapter 2.
4. Fill in historiography and argument section of introduction. -- today's project
5. Whip together a conclusion of some sort.
6. Don't forget to breathe.

Question for the peanut gallery: when doing a lit review in the introduction, do you keep it past tense or present? Ie: do you put "he/she wrote" or "he/she writes" when discussing an author?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Nathan said...

When refering to previous work, I use the present tense, especially since the work is still present and presumably valid (i.e. it hasn't disappeared):

"Lewis et al (1994) suggest that..."

12:08 PM  
Blogger Elle said...

i never remember what advisor says, so my chapters go (shamefully) back and forth. let me know when you find out--seriously. i'm too ashamed to ask again

2:23 PM  
Blogger Neel Mehta said...

Simple. Use past tense if the author is dead, or determined guilty of plagiarism.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Which amounts to the same thing.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous kr pdx said...

In literary analysis, I worked it this way:
[The work] says
(The work in theory not itself changing once published--except for Whitman's ;). )
[The author] said
When personalizing, I always used past tense--an author might not want to be (currently) held to some of their (previously) written stuff ;). Not sure whether my academic dept had no opinion or I was naturally in line with the opinion.

My college English Department was very big, though, on never (EVER!) saying anything like "[The author] meant ..." (because we can't know, and plenty will tell you they didn't know themselves) ... so I usually stuck with the less personalized constructions anyhow. But then I had a great affinity for the specifics of the language construction which as I recall, Quinn, you didn't share ;).

I could see if I was discussing a science paper (per nathan), though, that I might use present tense, since while art can change with the viewer (and especially over time), science shouldn't--if it's real science--and "still ... presumably valid" :).

Good thing I didn't take much social science ... I doubt my socially sceptical self treating current academic studies as potentially changable would have gone over well ;).

8:40 AM  

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