Writing a Thesis.

Writing a Thesis.

Seminar One, MA Culture, Criticism and Curation, June 10th


What is interesting in the context of the MA is that you are provided with a great opportunity to rethink structure, although it is still important to be rigorous. While it is interesting to present new approaches to writing, it is helpful to return occasionally to traditional formats if only to be able to present the same strength of argument through coherent and organised material. Is your thesis best organised chronologically or spatially, or in a system of compare and contrast, cause and effect, etc.?

Structure of the thesis
Subjects introduced and then discussed in more detail below and in session:
Thesis Sentence
The Other Side(s)
Topic sentences and Supporting Paragraphs

Key points to keep in mind when writing a thesis
Subjects introduced and then discussed in more detail below and in session:
Being analytical

Other key points to remember when writing a thesis
The following was introduced and discussed in more detail below and in session:
Writing style, unnecessary inflating of prose, risk of jargon, clearly defining concepts and terms of argument and ideas, not using rhetoric alone but avoiding personal pronouns, not confusing evidence, assumption and opinion, fear of criticality, standards and rules in grammar and style according to university guidelines, citation and method for proof-reading.

First task:
Thinking about the headings presented, students were asked to discuss with their colleagues how they might reflect on their experiences while on the course and how they have brought this to the theme(s) found in their thesis proposal.

Prior to the session, students were also asked to consider the following:

How did the research impact on how you wrote the essay?
How did the curatorial project impact on the writing or did the writing impact on the curatorial project?
How might you consider, in writing, the experiences of working in an archive, with collections, in the museum or gallery or with ‘live’ resources including practitioners? How do you feel writing in general affects your experience with objects?
Does writing reduce or enhance your experience of objects?

Writing an academic paper

What do I know about my topic?
Can I answer the questions who, what, when, where, why, how?
Does my topic belong to any particular genre or category of topics?
What do I know about this genre?
What do I know about the context of my topic?
What historical or cultural influences do I know about that might be important to my topic?
What seems important to me about this topic?
If I were to summarize what I know about this topic, what points would I focus on?
What points seem less important?
Why do I think so?

Task two:
In groups, students discussed these questions.

Furthermore you may want to consider the following in your own time:
How does this topic relate to other things that I know?
What do I know about the topic that might help my reader to understand it in new ways?
What DON’T I know about my topic?
What do I need to know?
How can I find out more?

Your aim is to add something new to the topic/genre, but this is not simply an opportunity to present just your personal experiences, reactions or associations, but rather to create an informed argument and the writing must be analytical. While your personal responses must be framed in a critical way.

This seminar is substantially edited. For more information, please contact me