I conducted my honours presentation today to a group of fellow students, three examiners, and my supervisor. Here’s what I learned.
- There’s a bunch of very smart people doing honours. The intelligence and insight of my fellow students borders on intimidating. Beware world when this group starts work.
- Focus is everything. The tighter the focus – to the point of being insanely narrow – the more useful and meaningful will the thesis become.
- Explain why you’re choosing what your choosing. I’m analysing the contestation found on and around two private blog sites. I didn’t explain why I chose these sites and guess what?: that’s the question I was asked. What lead me to chose these blog sites? Where are they located? Why chose US blogs? My style at times borders on arrogance by choosing a field of analysis and not respecting the reader enough to help them undertake the same journey of discovery I’ve undertaken by justifying my choices.
- Put the exact question of the research project front and centre; and be honest about it. I’ve been saying that I’m researching the tensions around personal blogs; but that’s only part of the story. What I’m really doing is analysing the tensions found on, and around dooce and QueenOfSky, through the critical application of the theories of Michel Foucault.
- Criticism is useful for the development of a coherent argument. Sure it’s nice to hear platitudes and nice things being said about us, but there’s a lot that can be learned from constructive criticism.
So that’s about it for the moment. There’ll no doubt be something else that comes to me as the days go on; and I’ll probably post to this blog some of the feedback that I received from the examiners.