Monday, March 20, 2006
The Thesis and the Book
4:24 pm est
Harmon and Montagnes have written a classic book and guide on converting a dissertation to a book. It is entitled
THE THESIS AND THE BOOK and it is published by the University of Toronto Press. In their book the authors delineate
the differences between a thesis and a book, and give solid guidance on how to move a research work intended for an academic
audience and committee to a broader market and audience.
Often researchers completing their Ph.D. and other advanced degrees begin to think about publishing their thesis without
giving consideration to the great number of differences between an academic research work and a book to be marketed to a more
general audience. The University of Toronto Press book is an excellent guide for coming to recognize and understand the revisions
that generally must take place before a trade or commercial press can express interest in it.
The primary goal of a dissertation should be to make an important contribution to the literature of one's academic field.
The rigorous controls on the process typically require that a number of discipline-specific and committee recommendations
be integrated into the manuscript in order for it to gain approval from the committee. Once that approval has been gained,
the researcher can consider and decide if her or his research can and should find broader exposure through journal or book
A thesis may, often through extensive revision, become a book, but if it remains a thesis and if it has been approved
by an academic committee, the author has accomplished his or her goal by making a contribution to the literature of the
Sunday, March 19, 2006
6:48 pm est
You may have read all the books on writing or publishing, and you may believe you have gained as much information and
knowledge as you can, but you can never gain enough insight by reading the writing of others, and your reading is never
a waste of time. By reading in the genre in which you are writing you learn from published authors--you come to learn from
their style, their tone and shades or color of character development, their voices, their undercurrents, their mind and its
Writing is about complexities, whether you are writing novels or scholarly research and seminal works. Writing is about
seeing and understanding more completely "what is going on" whether in a character, a plot, or an ethnographic analysis of
classroom communication. Reading in your area of interest leads you into complexities of situations or phenomena in order
to provide some insight and understanding into them.
Read regularly and a number of kinds of writing. Explore the author's complexities. Life is complex and difficult
to understand. The mind is complex. Good writing is complex and enlightens/engages us in the journey toward better comprehension
of whatever provokes, challenges, or interests us.
Keep writing. Keep reading as well.
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