What is a Thesis? Understanding The Thesis Process

By Kate Broderick, Global Strategic Communication ’13

It’s that time again— walk down the hallways of the department of Humanities and Communication and you’ll notice that the thesis buzz is in the air! Graduates seeking their Master’s in Global Strategic Communication are preparing for spring semester, the season in the Humanities and Communication department that most students write and defend their thesis.

People have a tendency to approach their thesis with dread. Students struggle with a thesis because they begin the process unprepared. Over the next few weeks, I am going to outline the thesis-writing process, so you will know the exact steps to take to approach your thesis with success. Your thesis does not have to be scary: it represents a milestone in your education and should be the culmination of your academic success. You can produce a solid body of work that you’re proud of with ease—as long as you understand the process! We are going to explore what a thesis is, the timeline of writing a thesis, how to choose a thesis topic, how to choose a thesis advisor, how to write a thesis proposal, how to research a thesis topic, and how to write a thesis. Today we are going to explore why write a thesis and how to choose a thesis topic.

Why Write a Thesis

Don’t think of your thesis as the final obstacle standing between you and graduation! Your thesis is your culmination of academic work and the best venue you have to showcase your skill set learned through courses you’ve taken during your studies in communication. It represents the pinnacle of your abilities to write and research, and will have a major impact on employability. Taking employment into consideration, you need to be strategic in selecting your thesis topic.

How to Choose a Thesis Topic

Before choosing a thesis topic, you need to have a heart-to-heart with yourself. What do you want to do after graduating from your Master’s in Global Strategic Communication? Tailor your thesis to the field you want to work in—for example, if you want to be a Social Media Specialist, you should probably direct your research in the field of social media. That being said, you should not choose a topic solely based on the fact that it sounds impressive. You are going to be miserable if you choose a pretentious topic that you have a problem connecting with. You must be interested in your topic! You are going to be investing most of your life for the next few months in researching it!

The point of a thesis is to explore a question that has not been researched, or to approach a previous study from a different perspective.  You may have thrived on the study of Facebook during your New Media and Strategic Communication course while studying your degree in Communication at Florida Tech. What about Facebook catches your attention? Are you intrigued by the social implications of Facebook? What exactly are the social implications you’re interested in? What previous research has been studied in regards to Facebook? You need to thoroughly research your topic—Evan’s library is an amazing resource for finding journal articles—before deciding upon your final topic. It would be a waste of time to conduct a study that has already been completed. If you still find yourself struggling to isolate an idea, you can always chat with your professors from the department of Humanities and Communication about your options.

Check back soon for the next post: How to Get Started with Your Thesis: Paperwork First!


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