(Yes, I am overly fond of ellipsis… And yes, I am probably not using them appropriately)
My plan of updating on Monday’s and Thursday’s hasn’t been working out for the last few weeks, mostly because the work I’m doing at the moment is mostly rewriting earlier pieces of work and we call that ‘editing.’ Editing usually means that no new content is being produced and so I’ve taken a break from reading up on Conspiracy Theories and caught up with all the other reading I should have been doing.
Except for this week. For this week, Matthew, I have mainly been reading philosophers on Conspiracy Theories or, more properly, re-reading all the existing philosophical literature (of which there are about twelve pieces). For this week I am writing the initial literature review.
The lit review is one of those little academic exercises you have to do before you can mount an attack or defense upon an idea or notion. The purpose of the lit review is to a) show that you understand what everyone else has said on the topic and b) reveal that there is an issue or inconsistency that these authors have overlooked or not dealt with adequately. I’m in a fortunate position, in re a lit review, in that all the literature I need to cover (in this section, mind) fits into a small 140 page hardcover. Most thesis writers are usually looking at summarising and connecting the views of several dozen authors who may well have written three or four articles or books apiece on the topic.
If there is any issue in writing a lit review then it revolves around the fact that there are so many ways of doing it. I could write a strictly chronological version which deals with each article in turn. I could deal with it on an author by author basis or I could start with one author who I think typifies the kind of definition of Conspiracy Theory I think is common in the literature and deal with it thematically (and it is this version I’m trying to write now).
Which I should get back to.