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Rafael is my soon-to-graduate PhD student. I felt an extreme amount of pride, while also realizing what an enormous amount of work this doctoral dissertation has entailed. Rafa did ethnographic fieldwork for two years analyzing three cases of water conflict, plus a quantitative analysis of a global dataset.
Most of my students have extremely ambitious goals for their undergraduate honors and graduate Masters and PhD thesis. We all tend to want to master thesis research strategy research that is broad in scope. You can read my Twitter thread here and the excellent responses to it. I need to write a blog post about narrowing topics for a thesis.
My experience mentoring and graduating students tells me it's important.
This is a question that necessitates an in-depth discussion between each individual student and their advisors. Many students come to me wanting to do broad-ranging, ambitious topics.
I always tell them to be focused on a narrowly defined project. I also worry when the project is vaguely defined and unclear. There are clear differences between types of research and writing projects. A doctoral dissertation In my view, a doctoral dissertation is a long-term piece of research that demonstrates competency in conducting independent, in-depth scholarly investigations where the domain knowledge is broad, and where the research contribution is original and quite clear.
I believe you can make theoretical and empirical contributions, and PhD dissertations often have both, but they need at least one of these. One reason why the 3 papers model for a PhD thesis is so popular is because it allows the student to demonstrate competency, depth and originality in a broad range of topics.
For me, doing a PhD is about showing an ability to conduct competently executed, adequately deep and broad research with a contribution. As a doctoral researcher, you should be able to conduct your research independently, even if the advisor is there to guide you.
You should also have covered the literature broadly and deeply enough. Our chair always pushed for a SOCK specific, original contribution to knowledge. For example, for me, a Masters-level thesis is an empirical examination of patterns of bottled water consumption.
I get Masters' students wanting to do PhD-level research with fewer funds and shorter time frames. You can't do that.
Thus the importance of narrowing the research topic. Alignment of expectations, pedagogy is key. Prieto indicates in her response to my tweet, an in-depth case study or an application of a theory to a different dataset could be an original contribution. Master's theses should make an original scholarly contribution too.
Just within a narrower scope, as you say. Again original but publishers tend to want wider scope. An undergraduate honors thesis. I teach in the undergraduate program in public policy at CIDE. For me, an undergraduate thesis can be a systematic literature review, an application of a research technique to an interesting topic, a test of a theory or an empirically-inclined paper using data that are often not available.
There are various reasons why undergraduate students or even graduate ones want to do very broad topics, resulting in thesis that are not narrow enough. My experience has been that the bigger hurdle is emotional — "narrowing" feels like giving up on ideas that are important.
A seminar research paper Seminar research papers tend to also be overly ambitious, as Dr.Differentiating Instruction using Multiple Intelligences in the Elementary School Classroom: A Literature Review by Suzanna Gangi A Research Paper.
The UBC Department of Computer Science has many contacts in the computing industry. A strong rapport between the industry and research communities is beneficial to both, especially in cases where the department focuses its research to developing real-world applications.
Thesis resource paper.
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