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.