Tuesday, 26 August 2014

THESIS REFLECTION: MAKING THE COURSES WORK FOR YOU

BY: KATIE METHOT

If I am always consistent with one thing, it is definitely procrastinating on important things that I need to finish. During my undergraduate degree I would sometimes have a ‘eureka’ moment and easily power through papers that were due the next morning. Years later, this no longer works for me since I find it impossible to stay up all-night (I have discovered the wonders of going to sleep at 10:00pm), let alone develop coherent and intelligent work at 4:00am. However, I started the MMSt program with the outlook that I would use my coursework and readings to help craft my thesis topic and proposal. This way, I would consistently be doing work that related to my intended topic and I could begin thinking critically about the subject. This was beneficial as the topic I had in mind when I began the MMSt program changed and evolved significantly by the time my proposal was finished. I found that through considering my topic and analyzing it in relation to museology and art theory in my courses, I was confident that this was the subject I wanted to spend the next year researching and writing about.

Use what you discuss and read in your courses to develop and refine your thesis topic

However, one thing I should have looked into before enrolling in courses is how they would benefit me as an aspiring thesis student. In order to write a thesis, students must complete INF1240 Research Methods in preparation for crafting a proposal and establishing research plan. While I learned a lot from the course, my assignments were different from the other sections that were offered. Other sections had assignments which were geared towards preparing the students to write proposals, while my assignments focused on analyzing practical research methods (which would benefit me once I had begun my research). In preparation for writing a research proposal (which I had never done before), I would have appreciated having a preliminary proposal that had been reviewed and given me a foundation to work from when developing my final proposal. Instead, I was stuck hounding my thesis supervisor and googling examples of other proposals to make sure that mine offered enough of a research plan and thorough explanation about my topic. Fortunately, my other thesis colleagues were much better prepared and offered me helpful examples and information! In addition, when I was running out of time to finish my proposal, I had months of relevant notes that I had taken in other courses.

Eventually, I got down to business and finished my proposal

If I were to offer advice to students considering a thesis, I would recommend using your courses to think critically about your intended topic. Museology is not a narrow subject and its multifaceted nature relates to a wide range of concepts that may help you to develop your thesis topic or decide whether a thesis topic is suitable for you. Although I continue to fight the urge to procrastinate, I am pleased to have picked a topic that I am genuinely enjoying researching and look forward to writing about.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is such great advice for all students - not just ones who are completing a thesis. It's funny how priorities change too. I've found that I want to go in a completely different direction than I thought I did after completing my internship. There are some courses I didn't take last year, which would've been useful. I wish I had put a little more thought into it. But hey! I have this year to get it right... right?
    Thanks for this Katie!

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