Each fall, second-year GWS MA students participate in a MA Thesis Colloquium during which they present their work-in-progress. This year the MA Committee is reviving the “workshop” format for the Colloquium. Our goal is to provide an informal space for you to present and receive feedback on your ideas. We also hope that students and faculty will have greater opportunities to explore the key components of a high quality MA theses. These components include, but are not limited to, a clear thesis statement, a specific rationale regarding why the project matters, a relevant literature review, and appropriate research methods.
At any point, you can contact Dr. Keisha Lindsay, Director of Graduate Studies, or Dr. Susan Nelson, Graduate Coordinator, with questions about how to prepare for the Colloquium.
- Plan to meet with your thesis advisor by Wednesday, October 12 to discuss your plans for your research memo and slides (described below).
- Submit your research memo to the MA Colloquium Box folder by Tuesday, October 25.
- Be ready to share your research questions and process with the GWS community on Friday, October 28.
Please note that faculty and students will be organized in 2 groups, A and B. Group A faculty will give feedback to Group A students – the first four research statements/memo and slides. Group B faculty will be tasked with giving feedback to Group B students – the second four research statements/memo and slides. We will let you know whether you have been assigned to group A or B ahead of time.
Step 1: Research Memo
Prepare a two-page, typed, single-spaced statement for the workshop. This statement will be distributed to faculty and fellow students three days before the workshop and should include the following:
- Introduction – Sets the context for proposed project. Captures readers’ interest by: a) describing the “problem” being explored; b) detailing why readers should care about said “problem” and c) reviewing what is already known about the research topic and why this knowledge needs to be expanded and/or revised.
- Thesis statement – Details, in one or two sentences, the core argument of the MA thesis. Helps delineate boundaries of thesis or what thesis does not address.
- Method(s) – Outlines what research methods will be used, what material/data will be collected and analyzed, and what limitations and/or assumptions undergird the data collection process.
- Implications of research – Details what new knowledge MA thesis will produce and/or summarizes findings of data/materials analysis already conducted.
- References – Lists fifteen, relevant academic references
- Work plan/timetable – Table that details deadlines established for completing each major stage of MA thesis research. Should note any work already completed.
Step 2: Summary Slides
In addition to the pre-circulated research memo (detailed above), we also ask that each of you create four slides, to be displayed during the workshop, that present the following:
- Slide 1 – Rationale/reason for exploring research topic
- Slide 2 – Research question(s) and thesis
- Slide 3 – Research method(s)
- Slide 4 – Help needed/desired feedback
Again, this workshop is meant to be a space for exploring questions you have about writing and developing your MA theses. Formal presentations of a “final” product are neither encouraged nor desired. We hope that this collaborative experience will help you better understand the research process and, in turn, make progress toward a successful thesis defense.