Mind-maps for organising the layout of a chapter, article or dissertation 1

Mind-maps for organising the layout of a chapter, article or dissertation

This is a part of the series, diary of a doctoral student with stories on politics, emotions and other things that determine our research beyond the research methods. One challenge that I faced while writing my dissertation was that every time I started a new chapter, I had to deal with multiple ways of organising it. For …read more

The art & craft of academic writing: Interviews & talks

The art & craft of academic writing: Interviews & talks

Unlike a lot of people, writing does not come to me naturally.  It has been a slow and difficult learning process, and I had to contend with massive writing project as I started the dissertation.  As it turned out, writing the dissertation was fun, but not always.  It took me an year and a half to …read more

Making subjectivity visible: Sections from my dissertation

Making subjectivity visible: Sections from my dissertation

I wrote these pieces in a course on ‘creative non-fiction’ and included them in the dissertation to provide my readers a break from the formal monotony.  Sadly, most people remember sections of this from the dissertation, and little else.  Such is the life of a doctoral student. 15 Jan 2006 I should not have trusted …read more

The place of originality in academic writing

The place of originality in academic writing

A few months ago, I got the criticism that my work is not original, and that most of what I have to say has already been said, and that my arguments are evident to the point of being tautological. When I got the criticism, I felt that there is a ring of truth to it, …read more

Publish and perish

Publish and perish

I discovered that the papers that I had written with a lot of hard work were cited only once in the last four years. A note on the academic peril of working hard in writing what will probably be never read by any one. To publish is to perish. Read on. …read more

Reflections of a retiring TA

Reflections of a retiring TA

It is often assumed that Teaching Assistants are powerful, vested with institutionalised power to instruct, monitor and evaluate. No doubt, these represent power over the students. But this is nothing compared to the power that students have over the TA; a kind of power that is silent but brutal. When a hundred notebooks close silently, …read more

Friendships and “research methods”

The temptation and pressure to confirm in one’s research topic is tremendous – especially if you are a PhD student. In the course of the last 3 years many of my friends have asked me to include some quantitative element in my research. When I tell them that it does not suit my question they’d …read more

History in the future

The explosion of digital information about all aspects of our lives, the places we live in, etc. will radically transform the way we write history in the future. Read on. …read more

I cared because I did not care 1

Rumblings of an ex-activist in his early thirties Why have I ceased to care about the world? Why is my commitment vanishing? Fifteen years ago if I saw blind person struggling to cross the road, I would jump off my bicycle to help him cross, and make a mental note on how I will change …read more

Disciplinary training: More trained, less able

During fieldwork in India, I was amazed by the differences between common people that I interacted with, and the well trained students in the Western world. There were significant differences in the questions each asked and the observations they made. I was often left wondering if more training in the disciplinary world leads to less sophisticated understanding of this complex social world. Read on… …read more