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IR 4099: Overview/From Topic to Thesis

Session 0

Ryan Beasley

on 11 October 2016

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Transcript of IR 4099: Overview/From Topic to Thesis

IR 4099 Dissertation: Overview/From Topic to Thesis
Lecture/Workshops & Tutorials
Topic to Thesis
Dr Ryan K Beasley
What's New in IR 4099?
-Word Limited Decreased from 15,000 to 12,000 words
-Tutorials (required) for Lecture/Workshop Sessions
-Draft Chapter Submission down from 5000 words to 2500-3000 words
-Universal Draft Chapter due date (Week 4 of S2)
-No set text; Assigned readings for individual Lecture/Workshop sessions
-Literature Review mark 15%, instead of 25%
-Annotated Bibliography assignment not assessed (still required)
-Submission Celebration!
Dr Ryan K Beasley -- Senior Teaching Fellow
Office & Hours: FA 026; Tuesdays 12-1pm
Dissertation Coordinator
Email: ir-4099@st-andrews.ac.uk
MMS -- Module Booklet
Overview of Today's Session
Overview of the Module
Key Changes from Last Year
Welcome & Introductions
Timeline: Key Dates
Discussion of Supervisors
Question and Answer (throughout)
From Topic to Thesis
Major Components of the Dissertation Module
Independent Research and Writing
Nine (9) 1½-2 hour Lecture/Workshop Sessions
8 (eight) 1 hour Tutorial Sessions
5 (five) Supervisor Consultation Sessions
Tutor/Supervisor Feedback on 3 Separate Written Components
Peer Support Groups
Student Feedback to Improve the Module
Timeline: What's Due?
L/W Schedule
Independent Research
A Guide, with Advice and Feedback
Five Consultations, 1/2 to 1 Hour Each
Consultations = Structured
Final Word on Your Project
Not Your Only Resource, by Far!
Your Resources
Library/Other Support Staff
Dissertation Admin Assistant
Weekly Lecture/Workshops
Tutorial Group Members
Dissertation Coordinator
'Peer Support Group'
Peer Support Group
8 to 10 Other Dissertation Students
Randomly Assigned (Roughly)
You will talk to your friends anyway
Electronically Available (coming soon...)
First Resource for General Information
Proof Readings Exchanges, etc.
(Most) Questions to DC Go Through PSG First
I Decide ('I am the Decider') -- by end of Week 2 (ish)
Very, Very Complex Process
Staff Availability, Work Load, Expertise, etc.
Your Input -- Through Dissertation Proposal
Once Assigned, You Cannot Change
Even Your Supervisor Can't Change it!
Substantive Expertise is not Everything
We ALL have Experience Supervising
Significant Concerns Go to DC
Scheduled in Advance, not Ad Hoc
Structured -- See Module Booklet
Face-to-Face, NOT by Email
Take Notes --Not Just a Conversation
Each Meeting Has Key Focal Points
Generally NOT During Office Hours
Can Have a Follow-Up Clarification Email
Module Booklet!
A Thesis
The Position You are Taking, and Why
Guides the Research
Guides the Reader
A Thesis Never 'Looks at...'
It Proposes
Thesis Examples
Non-Thesis: ‘I like Cheese’
Topic: Patterns of Cheese Consumption
Non-Thesis: ‘This dissertation will discuss cheese and whether it will come to dominate consumption or not’
Very Weak Thesis: ‘People will be eating more cheese’
Thesis Example #1
'Due to increasing ability to make cheese, people will be eating more cheese.'
'While Cheese is not universally embraced (it is a cultured taste) and many find it stinky, due to its high protein content and wide availability, people will be eating more cheese.'
Thesis Example #3
Cheese represents a ‘pivotal fungal point’ (Cheddar, 2012) in the global food consumption pattern, providing a comparatively inexpensive source of protein that is readily available from a wide variety of lactating livestock. Yet cheese is not universally endorsed, with consumption varying across both culture and climate, and several drawbacks to eating cheese – including its smell and its mouldy character – potentially limit its ability to become the dominant source of protein in a world increasingly embracing a ‘Camembert Cosmopolitanism’ lifestyle (Gruyere, 2010). Future cheese consumption, then, will likely be driven by the coupling of livestock support measures and a global dairy campaign to alter cheese-based perceptions. Given current ‘veganization’ (Stilton, 2013) trends, these efforts are likely to be successful, gradually replacing a meat-based diet with a lactation-based diet.
Your Topic
Where Did It Come From?
Good Topics are Interesting Topics
Good Topics Matter to Somebody
Real People
Great Topics
Example: Time Travel
Interesting, but it Doesn't Matter
What brought you to it?
(especially to you!)
Topics Can and Will Change
Only for IR4099
(a.k.a. 'Guru-of-Dissertations')
Based on
a Major
Review &
Questions So Far?
Most Weeks:
2 -- Lit Reviews
3 -- Theoretical Frameworks
4 -- Methodology
5 -- Qualitative Methods
6 -- Discourse Methods
7 -- Case Studies
8 or 9 -- [Review/Applications]
10 -- Writing
Tutorials (cont'd)
~10 People per Tutorial
Tutors are at Advanced Stage
Familiar with writing dissertations!
Discussion & Clarification of L/W Material
Exchange of Problems & Solutions
Guidance on Assignments
Some Practical Exercises
Forum for Commiseration & Camaraderie
Advice from Tutors
The 'Traditional' Sucks
We're Trying to Make This Helpful
Most Weeks will have some 'Activities'
600 Years of Tradition Ends Here!
Maybe Short Reading & Reactions
Maybe Break-Out Group Activities
Maybe Role-Playing Scenarios
Maybe Practice Writing & Editing
Your Input/Feedback Will Be Welcome!
Who's Feeling Behind?
Your Goal: Move From Topic to Thesis
Anybody here with a very clear dissertation idea already?
If you have a topic, you're OK!
If you don't have a topic...
They're due Friday!
Key Things to Remember:
A topic is not a tattoo, it can change
A topic doesn't define you
A topic doesn't define a dissertation
Scary, isn't it?
Thesis Statements
Refining your topic: Advice
1: Read!
2: Read some more!
3: Think about what you care about
Passion will save you in the long, dark winter...
4: Don't cater to your supervisor
5: Your friends are not your guide
6: Topics are not 'original'; research is
7: Topics! Not 'Tropics'! Stay focused!!
Ryan Beasley
Alison Careless
Simon Taylor
Dmitry Chernobrov
Pinar Kadioglu
Rikard Jalkebro
But not too late
What do you think of this one?
What would make it better?
What makes it a thesis?
It is a 'weak thesis' in my view
Thesis Example #2
What do you think of this one?
It's a 'basic thesis', in my view
What would make it better?
This is a pretty good thesis, I think.
Things to Remember
Module Booklet is on MMS
Tutorial Sign-Up Shortly via MMS
Dissertation Topic Due THIS Friday on MMS
Read it thoroughly!
Next Tuesday: Literature Reviews!
Because you are special!
Supervisors Assigned Week 2-ish
First SC meeting after assignment
Tutorials Start in Week 2
Why not a thesis?
Why not a thesis?
Why Weak?
Full transcript