thesis know how – beware the quote dump

Reblogging for myself and anyone else who is currently grappling with the balance of their own voices and the voice of the critic in their thesis. I’ve gotten some very good advice on this issue that I’ll be putting into practice today, but as always Patter hits the nail on the head with why we tend to rely on large quotations.

patter

I very often see first drafts of theses – and sometimes completed ones – which suffer from quote dumping. A quote dump is when the writer inserts a very large extract of someone else’s words into a text and then does nothing with it. The quote sits there, highly visible in its indented and italicised state, inert, unyielding, impenetrable.

The quote dump often occurs in literature chapters and/or when the thesis writer is discussing theoretical literatures. It’s sometimes used when people are explaining their methodology. It can happen when people genuinely attempt to engage with other people’s words and ideas and either challenge them, evaluate them or make them into foundations for their own research.

While quote dumping might have been the way to get good marks in essays in undergraduate and Masters work, it is a learned strategy that doesn’t fly so well in a doctoral thesis. Yes, the…

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