About 2,500 words of the disso have now been committed to paper in a week that has seen the scaling down of one project and the scaling up of another.
It's only when you get cracking on a project that the size of the elephant really becomes clear - that's been the case with the disso. Trying to find a way to analyse the impact of the media on the race to the moon in 15,000 words without it being so shallow as to be valueless has proved a problem but one that, with my tutor, I've overcome by scaling back the time period of the disso.
Now I'm focusing the disso on the media's role as both catalyst and fuel to the beginnings of the space race really from the pre-Sputnik period to Kennedy's 1961 speech to Congress. My dissertation epiphany occureed last Friday afternoon in a tutorial at Brunel where I was explaining how I was struggling to find a structure to compress the wealth of material I wanted to cover into an MA disso structure. My tutor cut through my floundering by suggesting I focus on just one bite of the elephant for the MA, and segue straight into a PhD to properly cover the project in full.
Now I've planned on doing the PhD for about a year, but actually had planned on getting the MA over and done with and then applying to start on the PhD in 2010. My tutor's comment: 'Why wait? All the people you need to see will be a year nearer death if you don't start work for another 15 months.'..... Good logic.
So, after a frantic weekend of turning many discussions into a formal research proposal, I've actually taken my original Masters disso thoughts and expanded them slightly to fulfil the criteria for an application for formal, funded, PhD research. It feels like a big step forward, and certainly helped get my brain in gear this morning as I pulled the first one sixth of my disso draft together.