History Dissertation Structure

Posted by / 19-Feb-2021 18:56

As I read sources carefully, I realized that the argument wasn’t quite working.

I changed the introduction and then went back to analyzing more sources.

I chose a moment and told the story, then drawing in other primary sources that I felt helped explain this original anecdote.

This was helpful to keep the balance between a) having a direction and a point and b) actually having evidence to make that point.

I liked that this method first gave me time to process ideas and documents in an unstructured, low-stakes way, and then encouraged me to write at a faster pace with less rewriting.

(Of course, it will get revised again down the line.) * After a few days of work on chapter 4, I seem to be trying some new and some old tricks for the next part of the dissertation.

It wasn’t how I had organized the sources in the source narration document, after all: it was a better structure that fit the argument I was honing in on.

Then, I made an outline for the chapter that I actually followed.

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She suggested that I think of an anecdote, moment, or event that was a window onto what I wanted the chapter as a whole to say.

One thought on “History Dissertation Structure”

  1. This is particularly hazardous when you’re under pressure, because your brain has a tendency to see what it wants to see; it may tell you that the title is asking a question that you want to answer, while the reality might be subtly but crucially different.