Next time, find something to count


in Daily updates, M.Phil thesis, Oxford

My supervision today highlighted how much work remains to be done on the thesis. Also highlighted were some of the things I have learned over the course of the project about the issue area, and about the nature of such investigations. When you are studying something that thousands of people have studied, and you don’t have any new empirical data to contribute, it can be hard to believe that you are making a substantial contribution to the discourse. It is hard to be both well-researched and original in your thinking.

If I ever undertake another academic research project of this magnitude, I will be sure to include at least some empirical investigation. That way, even if you are treading in familiar territory, you are at least placing some newfound objects within that territory. As such, it is always possible to point to a discrete addition you’ve made to the landscape: a series of interviews, an archive examined, some methodologically rigorous meta-study concluded.

I have until Friday to bludgeon my three substantive chapters (problems, consensus, remedies) into some semblence of order.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan Laing March 26, 2007 at 6:23 pm

The first significant improvement on the A510 is finally here:

I’m seriously considering this, if not now, when it becomes cheaper. IS is very, very appealing to me.

Milan March 26, 2007 at 6:55 pm

My flatmate bought one of those. I have been meaning to give it aq whirl in some low light circumstances. He uses it exclusively to photograph documents in archives.

Tristan Laing March 27, 2007 at 5:54 pm

that does sound a little dull.

Milan March 27, 2007 at 6:20 pm


Finding something to count, or only using a camera to photograph dusty documents?

Anon March 29, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Just 12 industrial operations account for nearly three-quarters of the greenhouse gas-emissions recorded for major emitters in British Columbia, 2005.

Plant – Company Location – Emissions (tonnes)

12 Kitimat Methanol Plant Methanex Corp. Kitimat 367,181
11 Burnaby Refinery Chevron Canada Ltd. Burnaby 428,790
10 Fording River Operations Elk Valley Coal Corp. Elkford 450,713
9 McMahon Cogen Plant Spectra Energy Transmission Taylor 516,544
8 McMahon Gas Plant Spectra Energy Transmission Taylor 518,935
7 Calpine Canada – Island Cogeneration Calpine Canada Campbell River 767,749
6 Richmond Cement Lafarge Canada Inc. Richmond 863,390
5 Delta Cement Plant Lehigh Northwest Cement Ltd. Delta 1,012,815
4 Pipeline Transmission Spectra Energy Transmission Prince George 1,063,606
3 Pine River Gas Plant Spectra Energy Transmission Chetwynd 1,124,146
2 Alcan Inc., Kitimat Works Alcan Inc. Kitimat 1,457,641
1 Fort Nelson Gas Plant Spectra Energy Transmission Fort Nelson 1,623,028

Anonymous March 30, 2007 at 9:53 am

An English Professor

“I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.”

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