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  1. #1
    Softserve Ice Cream Agent Washington's Avatar
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    Default How to write a Postgrad Thesis

    Hi all. This is basically the post where I end up connecting my two preoccupations, what I should be working on (my Master's thesis) and what I procrastinate with (this website xD). In this thread, I would appreciate it if you guys, especially those with experience, could give tips about how to successfully write a Master's thesis.

    My focus is interdisciplinary but I will be using historical approaches, so tips on how to write based on this would be extra-appreciated. Anybody else who has tips on how to write a Master's thesis are welcome to chime in as well - maybe there are others who are interested in your tips, including how to focus your attention towards working on long projects, finding your motivation daily to finish the project, possible problems you've come by while you've done your thesis, etc.

    Any other academics who have dealt with wanting to be an academic in the future? I'd be very grateful if you'd chime in with your experiences and advice as well, because there's the lingering question of "What should I do after this?"

    A quick list of links from google:
    Structuring a thesis | Search & Write
    Formulating a Thesis | History Department
    How to organise a history essay or dissertation | Research guide | HPS\
    Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide
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  2. #2
    Now with less salt. Methylene's Avatar
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    This one is gonna be useful to me as well, for next year.
    There are two different approaches to that: either a compilative thesis or an experimental one. In here, for STEM subjects, the second kind is usually the one to go with, while I believe you're writing one of the first kind.
    Also, my field (physical/theoretical/computational chem) usually only has outlets for either staying in academics, or working abroad. I've been said that the key for that is a good thesis and social links with other professors. However, I have no idea about how it works for humanities graduates.

    My approach to remaining focused on long projects usually is trying a way to include them in my routine: for instance, waking up, drinking coffee, and then getting to work. It usually works, as long as I have some level of anxiety telling me not to procrastinate too much.
    I don't think that it's so personal
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  3. #3
    Softserve Ice Cream Agent Washington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Methylene View Post
    This one is gonna be useful to me as well, for next year.
    There are two different approaches to that: either a compilative thesis or an experimental one. In here, for STEM subjects, the second kind is usually the one to go with, while I believe you're writing one of the first kind.
    Also, my field (physical/theoretical/computational chem) usually only has outlets for either staying in academics, or working abroad. I've been said that the key for that is a good thesis and social links with other professors. However, I have no idea about how it works for humanities graduates.

    My approach to remaining focused on long projects usually is trying a way to include them in my routine: for instance, waking up, drinking coffee, and then getting to work. It usually works, as long as I have some level of anxiety telling me not to procrastinate too much.
    Good luck with your degree!

    I have no idea how it works -- I think my best bet after this would be to find an archive that's hiring and pray really hard. :S

    That does sound like it'd work for me, though I have to get up multiple times just to settle down, and in the process I've done all the housework or something like that. x_x
    There's no love in fear.
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    Do we want to remind you of something? Yes: the world is good and we belong here.
    - Richard Siken
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  4. #4
    Macabre Reputation Thestralis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Washington View Post
    Hi all. This is basically the post where I end up connecting my two preoccupations, what I should be working on (my Master's thesis) and what I procrastinate with (this website xD). In this thread, I would appreciate it if you guys, especially those with experience, could give tips about how to successfully write a Master's thesis.

    My focus is interdisciplinary but I will be using historical approaches, so tips on how to write based on this would be extra-appreciated. Anybody else who has tips on how to write a Master's thesis are welcome to chime in as well - maybe there are others who are interested in your tips, including how to focus your attention towards working on long projects, finding your motivation daily to finish the project, possible problems you've come by while you've done your thesis, etc.
    I wrote a master's thesis, and eventually also a dissertation, though in a scientific field. We have to start by planning and conducting our experiments or modellling, analyzing our data, etc. Usually we can start writing in parallel: the introduction, motivation, prior work, theory, etc. There are probably parallels in a thesis in the humanities or social science as well.

    It has always been easy for me to organize and complete long projects, as long as it interests me and I consider it important. Obviously I was motivated to complete my degrees, which was helped by the fact that I chose a field of study of interest to me. I started by planning out my work, especially as I got closer to the writing part. I worked backward from the academic deadlines in the semester when I wanted to graduate: final manuscript submission, and before that, thesis defense presentation, so need draft to the committee 1-2 weeks prior to that. I had an outline of the document, and made a schedule of how much I wanted to complete each week. Finding the motivation to stick to that schedule wasn't a problem. I think I was just so focused on the end-goal, and had been submersed in my topic for months by then, I just went with the flow of it. I suppose one thing I did have to to was to make sure to take breaks. For me, that was mainly breaks to get outside and do something physical - complete change of pace, plus good exercise after sitting at my desk/computer for hours.

    The only real difficulty I ran into was with my dissertation: I couldn't figure out the best way to organize it. There were two good options. I started out with one, then based on input from my committee, decided to change to the other. I had to rewrite a couple early chapters, but was worth it. Moral of the story here is: if you can get a draft, or the first couple chapters, or even a detailed outline to your committee members very early in the process, they can often provide useful feedback early enough for you to incorporate to make the final product better. No

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Washington View Post
    Any other academics who have dealt with wanting to be an academic in the future? I'd be very grateful if you'd chime in with your experiences and advice as well, because there's the lingering question of "What should I do after this?"
    I have been an adjunct faculty member for awhile now, but didn't consider academia for my main job, because from what I could see, the professors mostly sat in their offices trying to get funding, rather than being directly involved in research. I didn't want that, so I went in a different direction. Trouble in my current job/workplace has led me to reconsider, though, but it is hard to make the transition at this point because I don't have the publication record that most universities expect.

    If you have any more specific questions, I would be happy to answer.
    They are quite gentle, really, but people avoid them because they are a bit . . . different.
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