Simplicity and Dissertations
July 12th is National Simplicity Day. Today is a day to think about the core you and your core life. What things are complicating your life and getting in the way of you being your authentic self? And, while we’re at it, what can you do to make your dissertation simpler?
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life.”
At 100+ pages, and being the highest form of scholarship, for most people, a dissertation is an inherently complex thing. But does it have to be?
What does simplicity on the other side of complexity look like for a dissertation?
To paraphrase Albert Einstein, your dissertation should be as simple as possible, but no simpler:
Your dissertation should contain as few “moving parts” as possible.
Don’t use multiple modes of data collection when a single mode will suffice.
Don’t use quantitative and qualitative methods (aka, mixed methods); choose quantiative or qualitative methods.
Don’t ask 4 or 5 research questions when 1 or 2 or 3 (max) will do.
Don’t try to be “original” or change the world. Just get your dissertation done!
Richard Koch identified simplification as being the key to business success of legenedary companies such as Ford, McDonald’s, Sony, Disney, IKEA, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.