Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Do I Successfully Write a Masters Thesis?

Life gets busy
And I need to organize myself
My blog will be solely devoted to my THESIS and thesis related issues until its done, Done, DONE

From:  How Do I Successfully Write a Masters Thesis?

1. What really interests you? What do you want to learn?

Do not underestimate this question, because it is you who will have to sit for weeks at your computer, struggling to create something unique.

One of your acquaintances, whom you regard highly, belongs to the Chechnyan diaspora. He has already told you a little about his home. This has awoken your interest in finding out why this conflict is so difficult to solve and why your acquaintance cannot live safely in his homeland.

2. What is your object of investigation: an object, a theory, a text or a problem? And closely related: On which period of time will you base your work?

In terms of the above example, a possible subject of investigation would be the conflict between the pro-secession Autonomous Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation. You could thus use the period from 1991, when the first Chechen War broke out, until the year 2005 as your time frame for investigation.

3. Is there any empirical material on which you can base your planned analysis? If not, is there at least enough literature for you to draw on? How wide is the range of available material? Does it suffice as an empirical basis from which you can draw generaliseable conclusions? Is it anywhere near the right size for you to work with in the time given?

In the case of the conflict between the pro-secession Autonomous Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation, it will be difficult if not impossible to work with empirical data, as many sources are inaccessible. Nevertheless much has already been written about this conflict, even if one party to the conflict has written far more than the other.

4. Are there already research findings on your topic? Are there any general theories that try to answer the questions relating to your theme?

Political science research on the conflict between the Autonomous Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation is still limited. In the theoretical realm, you can draw on not only theories of minority conflict but also more general theories from conflict research, such as those regarding war economies.

5. What would be an appropriate question?

“What factors contribute to a perpetuation of conflict?” Or “How do various sources of conflict combine to perpetuate a conflict?”

6. In terms of methodology, will you move forward by means of a selected (existing) theory, or do you have to devise a methodological approach yourself ?

The theory on the development of war economies says, for example, that many actors involved in a conflict have developed an economic interest in the continuation of the conflict. If you elect to use this theory, it would be important to verify and substantiate these interests in the conflict.

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