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Moving from a good idea to a research programme can feel like stumbling into the dark. You may have a general idea of which keywords you should enter into the library catalogue or a search engine, but this often means falling back onto your overall topic, abandoning your research questions, perhaps forever.

On the other hand, you may wish to simply read a long list of books, hoping something will jump out at you or that you will accumulate a sufficiently large stack of notes, out of which you can craft an acceptable paper. Only rarely do these systems result in a paper worthy of your original idea.

Off the Beaten Path: The Arts and Social Sciences Approach to Conquering the Working World

One solution to this perennial problem is to create an annotated dissertation plan at the start of your project. More than a mere outline of possible chapter topics, an annotated dissertation plan acts a road map for your research programme. It should include:.

5 Tips For Surviving Your Master Thesis

Once completed, each chapter should resemble this—derived retroactively from my own undergraduate dissertation, many years ago:. AIM : To explain the extent to which Scottish immigrants in New England continued to define themselves as Scottish during a period of nation-forming What were the specific social and economic conditions of the sending community immediately prior to their departure?

conquering helping series student student thesis undergraduate

Not only will crafting this sort of plan force you to better define your research questions, it will help you visualise the relative sizes of your chapters and spot any potential weaknesses, such as a heavy reliance upon a single source. Although I felt my research had been relatively robust at the time, I found in retrospect that some of my chapters had relied entirely upon one or two secondary works and that certain secondary sources had been the bedrock of every single chapter.


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While not fatal—I did, after all, succeed in passing my dissertation—I know now that my project could have been for more evenly researched. This sort of plan also serves as a solid starting point for discussions with your dissertation supervisor.

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Presented with only a general topic, most supervisors will struggle to offer you more than a list of possible reading materials until the first drafts begin to appear. Starting with annotated plan, he or she can see your prospective sources, and how you intend to use them, and can advise you on how to better focus your research questions or which additional sources might help fill in noticeable gaps. Finally, by separating your source materials into discrete chapter- or question-focused piles, you can more easily divide your work over the next few months.

Rather than read everything in the autumn and write everything in the spring, you can work section by section, alleviating the tedium of a single, unending task and receiving crucial feedback on your research and writing style well before your final submission date. In the end, an annotated plan created in September or October may bear little resemblance to what you submit in May.

It will, however, get you off to the right start. Nice work! Skip to content. Bibliography : Devine, T. Washington: Smithsonian Books, Devine, T. The Scottish Nation: A History, Graduating in with a major in International Studies, Farhah spent the last 9 years working in the communication industry.

Having held a council member position within the 4As advertising management organisation, Farhah has just completed a move to Entropia Global, an experimental marketing agency where she works as an engagement director.

Conquering helping series student student thesis undergraduate

She maintains that the critical thinking skills that SASS imbued in her are perhaps the most valuable benefits of her Arts degree. They have also played a major role in her career, allowing her to work on a wide array of projects and portfolios.

These skills, emphasised in the teaching at SASS, are key to securing a fulfilling, rewarding career. Like other alumni of the Arts and Social Sciences, Rashaad Ali who majored in Writing sees the flexibility of an Arts degree as imperative to its marketability. Working for several years as a copywriter at an e-commerce company, and following a period of postgraduate study, Rashaad is now a research analyst with the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, at the prestigious S. Rashaad finds his current job extremely fulfilling as he is living his dream of being in academia.

In exploring the different experiences of these alumni, Hannah found that every one of them still speaks with enthusiasm about their degree, which has invested them with versatile skills to successfully navigate a diverse range of careers. Instead, you learn about how the world works, why it works that way and develop a deep appreciation and understanding of human behaviour.