Writing a PhD thesis


Some words of wisdom from Peter Hancock

"Writing a thesis is like being confined in a pit of your own sewage, well over your head. It is little comfort that it is your own sewage. Indeed by comparison, other people’s sewage is like the crystal waters off an island in the Bahamas. [...]

"Writing a thesis has parallels with giving birth to a child. There is a long and protracted labour, with little opening of the cervix. Then application of forceps, and finally a bloody and painful Caesarian. In a cow-shed. Using a piece of scaffolding. The midwife here is the thesis supervisor, before whom it is vain to try to maintain any dignity.

"There is also the possibility that the thing will be dead on arrival, or too miserable and monstrous to let live. The examiners don’t want to do much more than cut the cord, hold it up by its feet and slap its arse. Or give it a couple of kicks of a shit-stained abbatoire boot. Else it gets slung out for the crows."

Some more

I liked Dave Clarke's tips and Matt Might's diagrammatic explanation of what a PhD is all about. Alan Bundy's guide to how to do research is great too. Tara Brabazon gives valuable advice on choosing a supervisor.

Applies to PhDs? "Write without pay until somebody offers pay; if nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for."  —Mark Twain

Don't forget

"You know you've grown up when you think that your Ph.D. thesis isn't that bad after all." —Max Cresswell (found over there)