Tuesday, 2 September 2014



To wrap up the summer 2014 thesis column, I decided to make a general list of tips imbued with some 2nd year wisdom (hopefully!) for any future thesis students.  Some of these tie into what was discussed by Robin and Katie these past two weeks, but are to act complimentary as well.

Rainbow-Coloured Figures Holding up Community Sign.

1. MAKE A COMMUNITY: While we may be harping on this a lot, it is so important. There are not a lot of thesis students within the MMSt program, let alone the iSchool as a whole. Making connections with other 1st year thesis students (MMSt and MI) as well as the 2nd year thesis students can be very beneficial. Whether about procedures/deadlines, scholarship applications, research methods, ethics approval, thesis proposals, course selection, summer research, let alone writing the actual thesis – having people who share these experiences and pursuits is undeniably helpful, supportive, and reassuring.

Two figures in illustration of picking ones brain for knowledge

2. PICK EVERYONE'S BRAIN: Don’t stop asking questions. Because we tend to be a minority in the program, it is easy to overlook where to find information, deadlines, and strategies. Ask! Throughout the iSchool, there are many resources of people on every different tier – from your fellow thesis students, your TAs (who are likely PhD students at the iSchool), your professors, or the support and administrative staff. Many of them have experience going through these steps, whether personally or procedurally.

Mousing wearing helmut as it attempts to steal cheese from trap with "Never Give Up"  written over top.

3. DON'T GIVE UP: As Robin alluded to in her post about SSHRC applications, throughout the thesis process, there are several (many?) hurdles that, in the end, provide deep satisfaction and pride but are also daunting. Don’t give up! If you have the desire and ambition to pursue the thesis option, power through – that thesis topic will develop and refine, those guiding questions will form, that thesis proposal and scholarship application will get written…the support of your community and committee will reflect these goals.


4. FIND JOY IN THE SMALL THINGS: After spending a summer that was theoretically supposed to involve full-time thesis work, it is easy to get lost in the big picture. While I struggle with this very suggestion, I strongly believe that finding joy in the small things and setting achievable goals throughout the thesis process is key.

Keep Calm, It's Just a Thesis

5. THIS IS NOT YOUR LIFE'S WORK: While we may like to think that our thesis will be a groundbreaking, insightful, and original piece of art, it is (also?!) just a thesis. It is not your life’s work; it does not define you. The thesis provides the opportunity the get one’s feet wet with the research process, with linking ideas rather than just engaging, levitating above the literature. This involves being flexible and uncomfortable with the unknown, but also recognizing the needed perimeters of the project and its completion.


Note: Do not take this as written in stone – this is simply a general guideline of what occurred in 2013/14
Thesis Committee: Supervisor - likely confirmed during the 1st semester at the iSchool; 2nd Reader - likely confirmed during the 2nd semester, if not before
SSHRC deadline: ~December 1st
OGS deadline: ~ February 2015
Ethics Approval deadline: ~ end of April 2015 (Robin & Katie can both advise on this complicated process)
Thesis Proposal Submission: suggested deadline is by May 2015; must be submitted by September 2015
Research Methods: this course is required during the 1st year of the program

Shout out to future thesis students: please don’t hesitate to contact Robin, Katie, and/or myself! We will be meeting regularly in the 2014/15 year, as well as hanging out in the Inforum. We would love to chat with you, go for drinks, answer any questions, etc.

Thanks for reading our thesis column!

1 comment:

  1. Good tips. However, I am looking for thesis writer to help me write my thesis