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Adelaide9216

Knowing when to stop

12 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I have begun to identify potential relevant websites and sources for my master's thesis, even if I start the program next Fall. I was wondering, there is so much information out there, at what point do you know when to stop looking for articles and sources?

 

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The short answer is that you never stop looking at the literature until the project is done. Even as I was sending in my final edits in response to the referee report last week, I was still searching the literature for articles relevant to my work. Maybe I won't find anything relevant to add to my article, but I must stay up to date on the literature (so I keep reading even if the project is done because it will help for the next one!)

But, if you are asking a more specific question, like "How much preparation do I need before I start grad school" then that's just up to you. You shouldn't need to do anything until you begin this fall, but if it makes you feel better to read, then do so :) One tricky thing is that unless you are continuing something you already have experience in, you might not know the seminal works that your advisor could suggest, so I'd start by asking them! It's okay to email your advisor over the summer and ask if there are any suggested summer reading. 

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I have a week before my UG dissertation deadline and I just discovered 30 relevant theses/articles on my topic hidden away in my downloads folder. I downloaded them ages ago and then promptly forgot about them. Some of them are certainly useful, others maybe not so, but I still have to go through and see what's what. But with the deadline approaching, I'm sure I'll have to compromise in places to get everything in on time, even if a few sources remain unread. I'll just have to read them afterwards and learn a lesson from not organising my research properly.

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On 2017-04-17 at 5:50 PM, qkhitai said:

I have a week before my UG dissertation deadline and I just discovered 30 relevant theses/articles on my topic hidden away in my downloads folder. I downloaded them ages ago and then promptly forgot about them. Some of them are certainly useful, others maybe not so, but I still have to go through and see what's what. But with the deadline approaching, I'm sure I'll have to compromise in places to get everything in on time, even if a few sources remain unread. I'll just have to read them afterwards and learn a lesson from not organising my research properly.

At least, you learned a lesson. You'll do better next time.

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Organize and take notes of your files so you will now what more to look for. It's good that you start early.

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Yes, I already started an EndNote Library with newspaper articles and other things that I came across. It's a good thing that my research topic is a hot topic in the media at the current moment, lots of stuff happening!

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Just curious, are you actually allowed to use newspaper articles for sources in your thesis? Or are you using them to illustrate current media opinions?

I've just never heard of using newspaper articles as a source for a piece of academic writing, other than people relying heavily on primary sourced accounts to illustrate things.

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15 hours ago, Eigen said:

Just curious, are you actually allowed to use newspaper articles for sources in your thesis? Or are you using them to illustrate current media opinions?

I've just never heard of using newspaper articles as a source for a piece of academic writing, other than people relying heavily on primary sourced accounts to illustrate things.

Field dependent, for sure. I have used newspaper articles as the dataset for some of the work that I've done. If you're interested in knowing how something is being represented or what the current discourse on a topic is, newspaper articles are a great place to start.

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16 minutes ago, rising_star said:

Field dependent, for sure. I have used newspaper articles as the dataset for some of the work that I've done. If you're interested in knowing how something is being represented or what the current discourse on a topic is, newspaper articles are a great place to start.

I guess I lumped that in with my second paragraph- primary sources to illustrate things, rather than an academic source as we think of them (or as you put it better, data). 

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18 hours ago, Eigen said:

Just curious, are you actually allowed to use newspaper articles for sources in your thesis? Or are you using them to illustrate current media opinions?

I've just never heard of using newspaper articles as a source for a piece of academic writing, other than people relying heavily on primary sourced accounts to illustrate things.

Sometimes authors and interviewers make statements in newpaper or magazine articles that are relevant to an argument, especially when writing about the author. I have used magazine articles such as an interview of Cormac McCarthy by Richard Woodward in 1992 where McCarthy makes the statement "books are made of books" to emphasize how every author's work depends on those authors who came before. I have also used a quote from an article by Aaron Latham that appeared in The New York Time Magazine in 1977, after he reviewed the "Hemingway Papers" at the Kennedy Library in order to show how much Hemingway held back that was discoverable after his death.  If such articles are from established sources, they are allowable in critical essays in English. I learned of the Latham article from a dissertation I had found through ordinary research on a library database and then went in search of the actual article itself. When writing critical essays in the literary field, it's always better to quote someone like McCarthy or Latham directly than indirectly through something like a dissertation.

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't base my thesis entirely on newspaper articles, I'm just reading what I am coming across because it gives me ideas and an intro to my topic. But I've definetely heard people in some fields base their thesis entirely on newspaper articles primarly if they are doing content analysis (how an issue is being represented in the media and that is their thesis' topic for instance). In some fields, people study how mental health and mental illness or islamophobia is represented in the media. 

Edited by Adelaide9216

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