Of all the academic papers out there, none are quite as daunting as a dissertation. These papers are meant to be comprehensive and in-depth, with many students taking several years to complete them. However, there are a few scholars out there who have decided to take a different approach and produce a shorter dissertation. Is this approach effective or just a gimmick?
- While most dissertations are lengthy and detailed, some scholars have managed to produce dissertations that are surprisingly short, sometimes even just a few pages long.
- Short dissertations may save time and effort for both the writer and the reader, but they may lack the depth and breadth of research that is expected of a traditional dissertation.
- Scholars who have produced short dissertations have had varying levels of impact on their respective fields, with some being considered groundbreaking and influential while others have been dismissed as superficial or gimmicky.
- Some scholars choose to produce shorter dissertations due to limitations in time, resources, or research capabilities, but there are ethical considerations to be taken into account.
- The rise of digital communication and online research tools may change the future of the dissertation format, but it remains to be seen whether shorter or longer dissertations will become the norm.
The Shortest Dissertation: A New Paradigm?
Most people are accustomed to the idea of dissertations being long, complex, and filled with countless hours of research and writing. However, some scholars have challenged this paradigm by producing dissertations that are much shorter than what is typically expected. In some cases, a dissertation may just be a few pages long.
On the surface, this seems like an attractive option. After all, who wouldn’t want to produce a dissertation that is much shorter than average? However, there are potential drawbacks to this approach that should be considered.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Shorter Dissertations
Shorter dissertations have the potential to save a significant amount of time and effort for both the writer and the reader. A shorter dissertation is likely to be more focused and concise, making it easier to understand and to get the main point across. This can be particularly helpful for those who are pressed for time or who have difficulty reading long and complex academic papers.
However, shorter dissertations may also be lacking in several aspects. These papers may not provide the same depth of research, analysis, and critical thinking that is expected of a traditional dissertation. In addition, a shorter dissertation may not be able to explore all sides of an issue or provide a comprehensive understanding of a particular topic.
Impacts of Short Dissertations
Despite these potential drawbacks, some scholars have managed to produce impactful and influential shorter dissertations. For example, French mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck produced a dissertation of only 28 pages that revolutionized algebraic geometry and has been widely influential to this day.
On the other hand, there have been cases where shorter dissertations have been dismissed as gimmicky or superficial. An example of this is Tom Lehrer’s mathematics dissertation, which was only nine pages long and included several jokes and parodies. While Lehrer’s dissertation was applauded for its humor and creativity, it was not taken seriously by academic circles.
Reasons for Choosing a Shorter Dissertation
There are several reasons why scholars may choose to produce a shorter dissertation. One of the most common reasons is time. It can take many years to produce a traditional dissertation, and some students simply do not have that kind of time.
In addition, financial and resource limitations may play a role. Conducting extensive research for a dissertation can be quite expensive, and not all scholars have access to the same resources. Smaller universities or colleges may not have access to the same research materials as larger institutions, and this can limit the scope of a dissertation.
While producing a shorter dissertation may be tempting, there are ethical considerations to be taken into account. Scholars have an obligation to produce high-quality research that contributes to their respective fields. Producing a shorter dissertation may not fulfill this obligation, and it may be seen as taking shortcuts or not putting in sufficient effort.
Scholars must also be careful not to sacrifice the quality of their research for the sake of creating a shorter dissertation. If a short dissertation is produced at the expense of comprehensive research, it is unlikely to be seen as a valuable contribution to the field.
The Future of the Dissertation
The rise of digital communication and online research tools may change the future of the dissertation format. It is possible that shorter, more concise dissertations will become the norm, particularly as attention spans continue to shorten.
However, the traditional dissertation format is likely to persist, particularly in fields where comprehensive research is essential. It is unlikely that a few pages of research will be sufficient to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
Shorter dissertations have the potential to save time and effort, but they may not be as comprehensive or in-depth as traditional dissertations. While some short dissertations have been impactful and influential, others have been dismissed as gimmicky or superficial. Scholars must carefully consider the ethical implications of producing a shorter dissertation, and the future of the dissertation format remains uncertain.
Why do some scholars choose to produce shorter dissertations?
Some scholars may choose to produce shorter dissertations due to limitations in time, resources, or research capabilities.
Are shorter dissertations less impactful than traditional dissertations?
Not necessarily. While shorter dissertations may not provide as much depth or breadth of research, some can still be quite impactful and influential.
Will shorter dissertations become the norm?
It is possible that shorter dissertations will become more common, particularly as attention spans continue to shorten. However, it is unlikely that traditional dissertations will disappear completely.