Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writers' Lab: Introducing Project #tweetprop

Through Wetenschapper 2.0, reblogged from Roy Meijer, I discovered Project #Tweetprop.

Project #Tweetprop was initiated by Felienne Hermans, who blogged about the 10 propositions of her PhD thesis. Subsequently, Eric Bouwers, Rolf Hut and Sander van der Burg blogged about their propositions.

Besides discussing their propositions, the researchers in these blog posts explain why in the Netherlands, a PhD defense is not only about the dissertation, but also about the 10 propositions. In short: it comes from the Old Days when only the propositions were used during the defense, and the candidate had to show his eloquence and general ability to argue upon a point.

In some defenses nowadays, the committee members stick to the contents of the dissertation only. In mine, as in many others', there can be a discussion about the propositions as well. Good news for the paranymphs - for they are asked to stand up and read the propositions out loud before the candidate replies to the committee member (prevents the paranymphs from falling asleep).

I agree with Roy Meijer and Felienne Hermans that the propositions are great material for blog posts. As Roy wrote (and I translate): "It gives some material for your blog, it should be fairly easy to write because you already did the research, and it's a good platform to prevent that those propositions that cost you blood, sweat and tears will be forever forgotten." Wise words!

Over the next few weeks, and in between other posts, you will see #tweetprop posts, in which I'll discuss the 10 propositions of my PhD thesis.

And you might wonder, why devote a Writers' Lab post to it? Well, the answer is simple: because I would like you to blog about your propositions as well! Not doing a PhD in the Netherlands and not writing propositions at all? In that case, I have a challenge for you: give me 5 statements from your research (or remotely related to this) that condense the wisdom of your dissertation, and blog about them. Yes, 3rd and 4th year PhD students as well as post-docs, I am looking at you. Are you reading to join this challenge?

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