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Colloquium Archive

Margaret Syverson

Name: Margaret Syverson, University of Texas at Austin

Presentation Title: "Nailing Jello to a Wave: Crafting a Dissertation Without Losing Your Mind"

Date: February 14, 2002 4:00-5:30 P.M.


The prospect of writing a dissertation poses new and sometimes terrifying challenges for even the most confident of writers. The topic seems to slide around in an unsettling way, the disciplinary background against which it is set seems vast and turbulent, and the gaol seems both monumental and remote. There are so many uncertainties that it is difficult to get a bearing, even when the topic and methods are very well-defined. This talk focuses on how one writer successfully managed the dissertation project, from initial blundering to finished book, with particular attention to the tools of organization and information management that proved invaluable in the process. Because the dissertation is only the beginning of a career filled with large-scale projects, these tools and methods have long-range professional benefits.

Further Reading

Syverson, M.A. "Thinking Through Worlds Fair: Evolutionary Rhetoric." Computers and Composition: An International Journal for Teachers of Writing.18(2) 163-76.

Syverson, Margaret A., Wealth of Reality: An Ecology of Composition. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.