Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lit Review

It always strikes me how difficult writing a literature review can be. Sometimes it feels like walking through a maze of tunnels, with nothing more than a laser pointer to find your way out. And when you get out, you're not even sure whether you're at the right exit. So you just keep on walking, flashing your pointer around, trusting that this seemingly inefficient process will eventually find the right way forward.

It might all sound a bit dramatic, but as I sit here at my desk with a mountain of papers in front of me to potentially include in my literature review, its the closest analogy I can come up with. Its a funny mix of feelings though. My time frame is pretty tight for getting things done, so I am definitely feeling the pressure to read less and write more. On the hand, I am reading these papers with a significantly heightened sense of context and purpose. Frankly, this stuff has never seemed so interesting as it does now. In some respects, and perhaps a bit embarrassing to admit, I am only just beginning to understand what my PhD is really all about, and where it fits. Problem is, I don't have the time for this sort of academic indulgence. I just need to get this thesis written, and so long as the reviewers are convinced I know what I'm on about, then that's all that really matters for the moment.