This is the first in a series of 3 posts: cute, quick metaphors (from the Greek, to carry across one kind of meaning into another realm, to make a connection), that might give you an ‘ahah!’ moment.
Mr Will-Do-for-Dinner, not Mr Right.
Lots of doctoral candidates I see worry about making proposals and plans, or committing, early, to a line or argument or theory. They worry because it won’t be complete, it won’t be True, or Right, or forever.
However, this stuff is like dating.
There are two kinds of awful date. The first kind is never actually at the table with you. They are always checking their phone, even Facebook flirting with other people while they wait for you to come back from the bathroom. “For goodness sake,” you think, “I’m just asking for you to have dinner with me for 2 hours”.
The second kind is just as bad, but in the other direction. They want to know your views about wedding presents, dividing the housework, what your retirement scheme is, what kinds of schools you want to send your children too. “Okay,” you think, ‘this is a bit intense. Can we get to know each other first?”
It’s the same with your thesis. Your Confirmation document, your Research Proposal, your Chapter plan is a plan, not a contract. But you are demonstrating that you know how to make a plan. Demonstrating you know how to make a good argument for now, a good plan for now, means I’m more likely to invite you back for another date (or at least a second year of the PhD).
In your introduction, you need to settle on one argument, a definite argument; even if it’s not definitive, even if it’s only an argument for now.
You aren’t a total idea whore, flitting around unable to commit to anything for a moment in case something better comes along. But if the love of your life turns up next week, the plan will understand if it get’s dumped (just don’t do it by text).