This wonderful session reminded me of my draft chapter I wrote for my PhD thesis three decades ago. My thesis A social or medical model of childbirth? : comparing the arguments in Grampian (Scotland) and the Netherlands at the University of Aberdeen was supervised by Dr. Peter McCaffery. Peter wisely said to me: “You really needed to write this chapter to make sense of the history of midwifery in your head, but it does not really fit the thesis.” He added: “You have too many words already. You know that it is not going in?” The material of this history chapter was not lost as I used loads of text from it it in the introduction section for a textbook . The section ‘History of Midwifery: Introduction’ became part of our edited volume Midwifery and the Medicalization of Childbirth: Comparative Perspectives (Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, USA) .
It is a message I occasionally repeat to my own PhD students. Under the circumstances I may fing myself saying things like “This is something you had to get of your chest, or you had to write it to make sense of it, but as it stands do you think it fits your argument?” Or more subtly in a supervision meeting, tell us: “What does this section add to your overall story in the thesis?”
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- van Teijlingen, E. (2004) History of Midwifery: Introduction, In: van Teijlingen, E. Lowis, G., et al. (eds.), Midwifery & the Medicalization of Childbirth, NY: Nova Sci., pages: 43-52.
- van Teijlingen , E., Lowis, G., McCaffery, P. & Porter, M. (eds.) (2004) Midwifery and the Medicalization of Childbirth: Comparative Perspectives, New York: Nova Science. [Paperback ISBN: 1-59454-0314].