Reading, reading, reading..
So much reading to do at the moment. Along with that I am also finding the resources which might prove helpful for the research. However, amidst the blissful life of reading, I am worried about two things in relation to my current process of my thesis.
I am still unsure about my thesis statement. I haven’t heard back from my supervisor yet concerning my draft for my thesis. I decided to submit revised version of the initial draft that was much more precise about what I would be looking at and why. It basically just added aspects that he mentioned in my project (things that should have been added initially). The reason that I am unsure about the thesis statement that I produced last week is that I feel as though it is still not quite narrow or simple enough. Along with this I feel as though the areas I will be researching are not at odds enough. That is, I am trying to examine an apparent tension in a biblical letter, however at the moment I am left wondering whether there is actually any tension in my chosen texts or whether I am just imagining such tension. Both of these issues could be rather problematic if they are not rectified at this end of the process. At the same time having never done research so intense before it may actually turn out to be a non-issue.
I may have committed a thesis crime (according to one of my former professors). His suggestion for thesis topics was to first think about what drive you and makes you passionate. Think about that idea really hard. Then run as far away from it as possible when you do your thesis. It was quite a funny point at the time and his reasoning did seem to make sense. He argued that the passionate idea is your life time’s worth of research, a thesis for a degree or doctorate is merely a tool to assess your ability to use the methods of your field. Therefore one should concentrate on mastering the tools of one’s trade instead of solving the world’s problems in a thesis. Knowing this I decided to try and pull a quick and fast one by doing something that is related to but not quite that passionate topic. I suggested that I was laying the groundwork for future research. However I am wondering whether it was wise decision, or whether I should have taken more seriously the advice of my former professor. I kind of wish that I just chose some mildly interesting topic that I could dig into further.
The second thing that I am worrying about is the breadth of my current reading. Basically, I just picked up a whole lot of articles from my College’s online journal article database (EBSCO) and currently I have about fifty that I need to read through and judge. This is proving to be quite a lengthy process and not all of the article are quite as relevant as I had hoped. At the moment I am doing initial scanning of the material, this allows me to sort the articles into four folders on my computer: ‘highly relevant’, ‘relevant’, ‘small section’, ‘irrelevant’. However, right now I am wondering whether it would have been worthwhile to find one to five articles or books that are hyper relevant to my area of research and then use them as a gateway to more resources through their footnotes and bibliographic information. Particularly for the footnotes of high relevance which could offer a better yield of materials. The only problem with this approach is the availability of materials for research. I am not absolutely sure that if I see a resource that I want that I will be able to access it through my College’s library for free.
Alas I find myself in somewhat of a predicament. This writing has proved somewhat fruitful in solidifying the future course of action. I think that for now I am going to stick with my thesis statement unless I hear otherwise from my supervisor, and I am going to go for the more focused approach towards my resources. The good thing about my resource gathering is that this is only the first of five chapters that I am researching at the moment and this could potentially save me a A LOT of time reading menial material.