The earlier the better
Before I dive into this lesson, let me introduce my thesis. My topic is, “Circumvention Culture, Digital Activism and Internet Censorship.” This is a very sensitive and highly relevant topic in media context of our polarized polity today. From Russia to Europe to Africa to America and Asia, internet censorship and circumvention efforts are very practical and are slowly being embedded into our everyday living and everyday relationship with media technology. Writing a thesis requires planning and a clear strategy and timeline. It is very important to set up a plan as early as possible. It is also important that I highlight that the department plays a vital role here as well, from approval of topics to assigning a supervisor. I acknowledge my department’s efforts in ensuring that all thesis-writing students were well prepared for the task ahead. In fact, my last course called, “Strategies in Research” was designed to specifically equip us and perfect our early preparation and planning for our thesis.
Another aspect of early preparation is to start writing as soon as possible after topic approval. Thesis is an independent work with little supervision and periodic evaluation. It is important for every thesis-writing student to take responsibility and begin immediate work on their outline. Fix dates and word targets for your literature and theoretical review. Do the same for your methods and analysis – fix dates for your empirical enquiries and analytical discussions.
Find your software
Technology is amazing, and be rest assured that there are additional software tech that makes thesis writing easier. Find them! How do you find them? Ask your supervisor, reach out to your fellow students, or just ask any professor in your department. Thesis in many cases is the first research study of most students – this means that research software and technology are often unfamiliar. For example, how do you write your reference or edit citations, notes and bibliography? Are you aware of software like Zotero or Mendeley? How about data collection software or their analyzing counterparts? A software like Grammarly can save you many hours of editing and correction from your supervisor. These and many more are important to familiarize with. Once you identify the software you need, to learn is easy – consult YouTube!
Don’t be shy, consult your supervisor
We all agree that a supervisor’s role is not to do the thesis for you. Academic supervisor’s job is to supervise, but an important question remains – where do one cross the line of seeking for supervision and direction, and seeking for the supervisor to do the work for them? I guess we may never know unless there is an extreme case. The bottom line is – you must learn to balance your need for your supervisor and your thesis progression. Since my topic particular draw its case study from my country Nigeria, I recently travelled back home to interview important stakeholders for my research. While I was in Nigeria, I practically worked alone without reaching out to my supervisor most times – a terrible mistake. So far, I regret not reaching out to him every week. Right now, I have come to learn that he is looking forward to my progress and my constant updates and review of my work. Anytime I engage him, he is available to provide the needed direction. In my last engagement, I was having difficulty choosing a media theory to frame my research. When I discussed with him, within few minutes of interaction, he provided a direction. Currently, I’m analyzing my empirical data, and within the month, I should be almost done with my thesis. Expect a Part 2 of my thesis writing journey where I will share an overall insight into my potential success story.
You need help? Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amaraizugenius External link, opens in new window.
Amaraizu Genius is an International Student Ambassador at Södertörn University