25 February 2010


The other day, I had a meeting with my adviser. A good one. A good one that after that, I went to my ninja's office and told her that we should go to Starbucks and get a celebratory drink.

Anyway, so what happened?

Well, it was the meeting when I had to show him the general idea of my dissertation. At long last, my dissertation doesn't seem like a cluttered collection of research questions. Instead, there is a running theme, and a big picture. There are three big points, and I walked him through each of them. And in each of these points, there is always two competing theories that I am testing, obviously pushing for one of them and trying to prove the other to be the defective theory.

Looking back, when I had written several drafts of a dissertation proposal back in the summer, I can see how different the dissertation is by now. It is so different from the thing that I said I wanted to investigate before. There is a real quantitative and qualitative difference between the knowledge state that I had before and now.

Which makes me realize that really, a PhD is indeed a terminal degree, and people who have it indeed knows a lot of stuff. One cannot be a PhD holder and not have a big ego. Heck, I basically am saying that I have a big idea that I need the academic community to pay attention to and be concerned with. Now why is it that it is worth for people to pay attention to my idea? That is basically my review of related literature. Arguing that other people have it wrong is a hard process, but somehow, I feel at home with it.

So yeah, the dissertation is moving, and the next step is to show my committee members that I can construct stimuli that would test the factors that I am claiming in each of these topics. That would basically prove to my committee that the points I am arguing for are indeed testable. Because what would a great theory do if it were not testable?

(Marble, from my Library of Congress Series)


  1. I guess you are slowly realizing you are more than just a student, you are almost a master of your field. This is the time when you gather all that you learned and present your new ideas!

  2. Your PhD is already in the horizon. Will I soon be properly addressing you as a doctor?

  3. Zhu,

    Yup, exactly!


    Not yet. Not for perhaps another year or two. But when it happens, I will surely blog about it.