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Thesis Questions

Seatbelt Blue

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I figure this would be a good thread to have and keep active: any questions any of us might have regarding thesis writing and prep.


My own question: How far in advance do I need to have my thesis topic picked? I have a few vague ideas running around my head, but nothing especially concrete.

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That depends on many factors, as you might expect, but mostly who your committee ends up being. When I did my first MA (in English), I had an idea of the novel I wanted to write on, and the approach and argument developed and changed all the way up until the final draft. But having a general sense of direction is good because it will allow you to maybe do a directed reading or aim a seminar paper at that topic to see what you can do with it. You can then use that paper as a jumping off point to expand into your thesis.


BUT I will say it's also important to not marry yourself to an idea right off the bat. Things happen, interests change, your committee may influence you somewhat--or you may discover someone has already done what you want to do. Being able to take a deep breath and move on from a topic you really had your heart set on is really important if you want to finish on time. Hopefully that doesn't happen, but it's not unlikely.

Edited by jdharrison
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