Due December 4, 2020
MA students are required to write a thesis topic proposal in consultation with their thesis committee. The final proposal should be 3-5 pages in length and should include a preliminary bibliography. The proposal should clearly state your topic, delineate your research question(s), discuss the motivations behind your topic, and describe your material and the methodology that you will be relying on in your thesis. See below for further guidance. Once your thesis proposal has been approved by both of your thesis committee members, you will need to submit a copy of your proposal as well as a signed copy of the Masters Thesis Approval Form to the Director of Graduate Studies (Jared McCormick) by Dec 4, 2020.
- What do we need to know to understand your aim or question? What is the specific situation, artifact, or problem you intend to study?
- What are the larger implications of that situation, artifact, or problem?
- What is the current conversation in the field?
- Motivation or “stakes”: Value of research to the field
- What will we learn from your research that we don’t already know?
- What is the gap in the current research or conversation that your aim or question or new perspective fills?
- Why is it important for us (not you) to know the answer?
- What is your aim or purpose? Have you stated it directly and specifically?
- What approach or method will you use to answer you aim or purpose? What set of questions might you use as guidelines? What theories (if appropriate) will you use?
- What is your proposed thesis, if you have done sufficient research to propose one? In a proposal, you may not have-but of course we hope you have!
Overall Questions to Ask Yourself
- Will this work fit into an article-length paper? (35-50 pages, double–spaced)
- If not, what specific questions or aspect can I focus on that would fit? Instead of a large range of artifacts, subjects, or primary sources, can I choose one area, category, or one major source? Can I choose one representative sample or example and study it, then its larger implications? Note: If you’ve outlined a large project consider choosing one aspect, then saving the rest for a future book or PhD dissertation. You might consider this thesis to be like one chapter of a book).
- Is enough information—artifacts, primary sources, and so one—available to me to make this project feasible?
- Will you be conducting interviews? If so, make sure to visit www.nyu.edu/research/resources-and-support-offices/getting-started-withyourresearch/human-subjects-research.html
Before Beginning your Research
- What decisions do I need to make to complete my proposal, including my approach?
- What research do I still need to do to a) make those decisions or b) fill in gaps in my proposal?
- It is always helpful to craft a research proposal with an eye towards the sources/archive you will use. As a general rule, it is helpful to continually ask yourself what sources will you need to answer your research question/interest and allow the availability of sources to play an active role in crafting your research interest.