eThesis: A Continuous Narrative Experience

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Our thesis protocols were submitted today and most of us had a bit of running around in circles to do before the closing bells chimed at 1 PM. I was especially peeved at the amount of paper that goes into the making of such a protocol. And given the fact that we had to submit 7 copies, in addition to keeping a few for ourselves and our guides, I guess I alone was responsible for the destruction of a miniature rain forest today. As the whole world moves towards e-solutions for education, this primitive system needs to change. It would make our lives a lot easier and massively reduce our carbon footprints to do away with this hackneyed submission method.

This system needs to come to the 21st century, but that is not what this post is about…

Today, after we submitted our protocols and were finally catching our breaths over some lunch at the cafeteria, we came up with a proposition to “record” the narratives of our thesis experience. The idea was to create a place where we could record the continuous stream of our learning, especially in association with the work we do for our theses, and hopefully come back to analyze them after a year or so to glean information about barriers and facilitators to research in our environment. This would be a chronicle of our experiential learning that we would be chronologically recording (almost in real time) on an online portal which we would keep open to the world and seek answers, support, criticism or plain old adulation… we are self obsessed tweens, after all.

Labeling this endeavor as our eThesis, the plan was to set about writing one post every week, recording the trials and tribulations of the past week. To seek answers. To raise questions. To question the hierarchical mores that often get in the way of doing work… in short, this would be a platform for us to appreciate or criticize the way we see Thesis work being done.

Now since we are all freshly-minted residents with minimal research experience to our names, it might be a bit of a stretch to expect anything more than plain ol’ bitching, but the way I see it, even this bitchin’ is an expression of our learning curves.

The challenge is to keep doing it consistently, for a long period of time. Not only shall this serve as a template for maintaining a log of our progress with the thesis work, it would also bring to light the qualitative and soft skills that we gain in the pursuit of doing our thesis.


So, with these intentions in mind, we are creating the eThesis blog/site. Hope you follow us there and keep up with the theses journey of a motley crew of residents!

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!


  1. That’s an awesome idea. Chronicling. Would be a big help to all the coming residents!

    And I have always wondered why this (protocol/ thesis submission) isn’t done as a soft copy! Even ICMR accepts soft copies for their studentships now. But then the answer is always around when I see people printing out all the related articles just to mark what they want for their referencing and then retyping the whole thing- instead of just doing it all on the comp! I hope this changes soon!

    • Absolutely agree with you! Had a show-down with one of my co-PGs (and she was sweet enough not to take umbrage) when I pointed out the futility of printing stuff just to type things back in again, but I guess we’re still caught in the mind set of highlighting texts and reading paper-prints! To be completely honest, despite spending so much time on computers, I simply love reading print-books. And sometimes, when I really like an article (especially ones about the History of Medicine), I simply print it because I want to read it off the paper… But anyways, I laud the ICMR’s step to take everything online! It should change the way we do research as post grads too! Looking forward to the day when the same system gets adopted by the universities too!

  2. yeah, i agree with this e-submission and do not see that day being very far off. just the other day, in one of the morning clinincal posting in our department, in the demo room, a student was taking notes in samsung note ! so revolution has already started …

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