Post Academic

Is this a resource?:

Posted in Absurdities,Surviving Grad School by Arnold Pan on April 20, 2010
Tags: , ,

Via The Chronicle of Higher Ed, the latest in interactive entertainment is…thesis writing?  That’s right: must be part of some sinister plot by ProQuest to monopolize all half-baked grad student research on the way to a rush-job dissertation that they will eventually own as well.  You can participate in two ways, either by inputting your own thesis for dis/approval or by judging randomly chosen previously submitted theses, with a “hot” or “not” and/or a comment; there is also a pull-down tab at the top that divides the theses into very broad categories, like “arts, humanities, linguistics” and “engineering”–why linguistics is given such priority is odd.

Since the site appears to be relatively new, there are still a lot of parameters that have yet to be established.  There’s no accessible list of theses, so you just scroll through the samples that pop up on the screen one at a time.  So sometimes you’ll see titles to dissertations or papers, other times you’ll see long,run-on sentence length statements.  And the most common comment I’ve seen so far is, “That is a sentence fragment,” probably offered by proponents of the thesis-statement faction–or they’re just annoying grammar-police types.

Below the jump are a couple of random samples of theses and comments, for your reference:

Here are some actual theses from actual thesis writers:

1. “Goodnight Homer: The Rhetoric and Reality of Religious Authority in Late Antiquity”

Score: 180 Hot/131 Not

Comments: “This is title, not a thesis statement” (Not)

“Great, but what does this have to do with The Simpsons” (Not)

“Please don’t make comments about theses outside your own domain of competence.  This is a fine English prospectus.”

2. Can people live on dumps?

Score: 10 Hot/20 Not

Comments: “Need to clarify: are we talking about people living in a landfill or are talking about people eating feces?” (Hot)

“I’d like to take a dump on this thesis” (Not)

3. Witness to Wetness: Discourses of Sightseeing at Waterfalls in American National Parks

Score: 66 Hot/116 Not

Comments: “They serious give PhDs for this?! Did community colleges start handing out PhDs and nobody alerted me?…” (Not)

“Actually the pragmatic commcolls would never allow this to get through froshcomp.” (Not)

“I’ve never heard of a thesis so completely worthless and stupid.” (Not)

OK, you get the idea.  I’m not sure how this site might be useful, except as a way to nix an idea that you aren’t so sure about.  If you scroll through some more and find some of the thesis statement examples, the advice can be more practical, focusing on sentence structure and grammar.

I suggest that someone go to the site and type up a particularly abstruse sentence from a prominent scholar and let the commenters have at it.  Or submit the thesis that the whole paradigm of “hotness” and “notness” is so late ’90s/early aughts.

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