Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where EIU Writes (A Thesis)

Mixing up our usual posts in the Where EIU Writes series, we have an interview with an anonymous EIU alumnus on the daunting task of writing a thesis.

As always in this series, we get another look at where some EIU writers find the best atmosphere to do their writing--even if the task takes two years.

If you’re an EIU graduate student about to start work on a thesis, then be sure to take note. Tips and insights follow.


Q: I’ve always been interested in where people write, especially when working on big projects like a thesis. For me, the bigger the project, the more I write at home. Is that how it was for you?

A: The majority of my time spent writing my thesis was at the library. It was a quiet place to focus.

Q: Is writing a thesis similar to other assignments you've done?

A: My thesis felt like an entirely new kind of project. It was a continuous project for over two years that I really focused on during the research collection phase. I've never had an assignment that lasted two years until my thesis.

Q: Did anything surprise you during the writing process?

A: A few of the surprises that I encountered while working on my thesis were how quickly the last few chapters were brought together, how much time it would take in sending drafts back and forth between the adviser, the committee, and myself, and also how specific the proposal must be to submit to the IRB. [Editor’s Note: an Institutional Review Board reviews research activities in order to protect research participants.]

Q: What advice might you give another graduate student on picking a topic, researching, or working with a thesis committee?

A: General tips on picking a topic would definitely be to choose something you're passionate about and enjoy. At the end or even in the middle, you will likely be very sick of this topic, so you don't want it to just be something that you did not give much thought. Also, finding a thesis committee that is prompt with their responses is very important. Otherwise you will be left waiting and wasting time when you could be completing your thesis. 

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