Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A crushing blow or a lucky near miss?

When, three weeks into your initial literature seach on a possible dissertation topic, in your 6,000th iteration of google-scholaring your keywords, you come accross a ten year old working paper which addresses your exact research question, should you be devastated at the prospect of having to start over, or thankful that you dodged the proverbial bullet. It's unfortunate that your idea has been taken, but if the paper is ten years old and was never published, it clearly wasn't much of an idea in the first place and I guess you're better off just moving on. Or, there's the third reaction: not dissapointment or relief, but rather crushing self-doubt upon realizing that, not only can you not come up with an original question, but the unoriginal questions you do think of are apparently not very interesting anyway.

On a related note, why do these papers never turn up in the first, fifth or even twentieth round of a literature search?

1 comment:

  1. Stupid Google. You shouldn't have to start over just because the internet is making people more aware of EVERYTHING.