Writing up an interview for a dissertation

How to write up an interview in a dissertation

I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious topics. Here's what I've learned since, and wish I'd known back then….

Your dissertation without language mistakes and blunders?

Mine was brilliant. If you don't feel like they're giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else — providing it's early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn't have a problem with it.

Write up interview results dissertation

In my experience, it doesn't matter too much whether they're an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they're approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don't mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics — war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don't think much of researching an obscure piece of s disability legislation.

Reporting and discussing your findings

But they're not the ones marking it. You'll end up paranoid — or they will. Either way, you don't have time for it.

You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work unlikely and your supervisor recommends starting again highly unlikely , don't do it.


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It's just panic, it'll pass. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold.

Dissertation Interview Guide

But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside. When you apply for any full-time teaching position at colleges and universities it is usually a good idea to include an abstract of your dissertation unless the advertisement clearly indicates otherwise. Remember: in most cases, you'll be applying to a department that has no historian in your field, and therefore you need to find ways to make your abstract appealing to others. Imagine a committee composed of faculty in this department with whom you have never discussed academic subjects; that's who you should be writing for.

Do not use your formal dissertation abstract, the one that is officially submitted along with your thesis; this sort of abstract is generally too narrow and technical. Try to keep the abstract to no more than one single-spaced page or two 1. Many will submit the same abstract with all job applications, but you might want to consider tailoring your abstract to the particular job you are applying for. What you should stress will depend partly on the department to which you are applying.

All departments will want to see evidence that you know how to do research, but beyond that some departments will be particularly interested in theoretical or methodological sophistication, some will want to fill particular thematic niches e.


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A look at the recent hires will tell you a lot about the direction the department is going, and could help you decide whether to stress, say, your dissertation's contribution to medieval liturgy or to the anthropology of ritual in preindustrial societies; to take another example, one department may be particularly interested that you do Irish history, whereas another will want to know that you work on gender.

Do not, of course, get yourself in the position of writing an abstract that you cannot back up in an interview.


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