Shortly after the NYE hangover, as of January 6 to be precise, my first dissertation module commenced. Dissertation modules are meant to guide the student through the whole process of dissertation writing – from coming up with a question to explore to final submission. Dissertation modules have a duration of four weeks and involve three E-tivities. These are online/offline activities such as reading, thinking, writing about, and/or structuring your subject of interest, as well as participating in a wiki, so as to eventually come up with something like a proposal plan. Dissertation modules take place in between the regular ones. So, for example, on December 18 my regular module ended with the submission of the end of course essay. After end of the year holidays and hangover time finished the first dissertation module starts and is going to finish on February 6. The next regular module is going to start at the beginning of March and runs 14 week (I reckon?), after which the second dissertation module starts and terminates in August with the submission of the research proposal, and so on.
One thing I especially appreciate in this endeavour is that I can count on the guidance of the Star Wars geeks, who apparently populate the Department of Politics and International Relations, as show the four stages of dissertation research:
Stage 1: A New Project
Stage 2: The Dissertation Strikes Back
Stage 3: The Return of the Dissertation
Stage 4: The Phantom Menace
So stage 1 is primarily concerned with finding a research question. I still have no clue where I actually am going to end up on that matter. I am interested in the Falklands War, perhaps from the Chilean perspective, since Chile’s stake in the war is still somewhat underestimated. Without the help of the highly suppressive Pinochet dictatorship the highly freedom loving Thatcher administration could not have pulled off the campaign as it did (I think).
Well, with all that in mind, I follow the guidance the ‘New Project’ umbrella has on offer and am currently researching a research question. This is somewhat daunting, but it makes sense: You don’t want to throw in a research question that leads to a dead end, has already been answered, or reveals any other unpleasant surprise as you draw closer to an answer. The whole process, nevertheless, has something exciting and feels like a departure – you know you are about to go somewhere but you just don’t know where actually to. I like it!