Tome Reader ©
Level 4: Write-up.
(Equipment: lost in a swamp, but you have discovered a temper you never knew you had before and quite happily kill anything in your path to get your equipment back)
- By now you know that the wrong supervisor, or a malfunctioning supervision team is a recipe for disaster. You should not have to manage the supervisors, but you may need to take them in hand. Do not give them a good slapping, no matter how tempted you are, as it will not help. Re-negotiate instead (see Level 2, no. 4 in extreme circumstances).
- Have the supervisors given you any guidance on publishing and or conferences? Do they help you network? They should. If you are giving them advice, charge them consultancy fees.
- Regarding footnotes. A recently received hint asks for a reconsideration of the footnote. They may enable you to say considerably more, but if it isn't worth putting in the main body of the thesis, is it really worth putting anywhere else? Opinions vary on this one. Talk it through with your supervisor.
- There will be an approved way to lay out a bibliography mentioned in the regulations somewhere. What did I tell you about regulations? They will fill you with horror (if you have ignored Level 1, no. 1 and Level 3, nos. 11 & 12). They tell you that stuff that you do not wish to know, but need to know, like the fact that line spacing should be in a standard format, any funny typefaces will be punished with flogging, and that clip art is a serious offence.
- Explaining the meaning of every term more complex than 'Eh?' will lead to depression and stress. (See also Level 3, no. 1)
- On a related point, the examiners will be academics. So may the future readers. If they do not know what the term 'Eh?' means, why are they in employment? I know that this 'you must explain what terms mean' business is about showing your understanding of those terms, but it can go too far.
- Anyone who gives you a pile of books in a new subject field and says "it would help you to read these" at this very late point is consciously, or, much more likely, unconsciously, a saboteur. Ignore them (unless you really, truly, think it is a good idea). If anyone were to do this during the viva, of course, you would have to kill them.
- If you are being asked to re-revise revised revisions, it possibly is time to hand in.
- Some things are a matter of taste, including style, inclusion of footnotes, etc. You may not agree with your supervisors on what is vital and what is taste, however.
- If you hear of a new and exciting book on your subject at this point, do not go out and buy it and if you do buy it do not, I repeat, not, read it. It will either render what you are saying redundant, or be an irritating distraction. Understand that there is a cut off point after which new stuff cannot be incorporated into the thesis. You are handing it in next week, for Heavens sake. Tell them you know about it at the viva, if they ask.
- If there are others playing the Tome ReaderTM game as well, share your knowledge. If you are the first of a group to play this game, do you really want the others in it to make the mistakes you have? Admittedly, there are some problems that everyone has to face. Whether knowing more about the process makes it better or worse is debatable, but I'd rather know whether it is a train coming towards me (or light) that I see at the end of the tunnel.