Thesis Planning Seminar

CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
7 Aug 2009
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of History
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of Medieval Studies
Stream/Track/Specialization/Core Area: 
Historical Studies: Theories, Methods, Skills, Historiography
László Kontler
József Laszlovszky
Additional information: 
The seminar opens with a lecture by the course instructors on approaches to research and MA standards at CEU. Between weeks 2 and 6 it continues with oral critical evaluation of selected pieces of historical literature by course participants, according to strict criteria. (An attempt will be made for the selection of the material to reflect the academic interests of the particular students in the group, while we will also want to ensure that the readings represent a wide variety of approaches, narrative strategies, character and treatment of sources, etc.) During this phase of the course each student should make an oral contribution (8-10 minutes) on two separate occasion, commenting on one of the readings for the week from the point of view of its choice of research topic and central research questions, its methodological commitments, or its use of source material. Each of the students in the class is supposed to have read the relevant readings, so as to be able to engage in discussion about them after the presentations. The oral presentation should also assess the overall scholarly contribution of the discussed study. During the second half of the course, discussions of individual thesis ideas will take place. Each student should prepare a one-page handout for the presentation, which should reflect on the relevance of the research topic, the methodological options, and the potential source material. The presentation should take a maximum of 20 minutes, so as to allow for discussion. To facilitate discussion, students should also indicate a short piece of secondary literature, which illustrates the state of the art in the field of the proposed thesis, or can be regarded as distinctive on account of its methodology, findings, etc. All members of the class are expected to have read this piece for the class.
Learning Outcomes: 
The course is designed to create an awareness in students of what it implies to embark on graduate research, and indeed to assist them in starting to construct their own research projects. By the end of the term they are expected to have conceived an outline of their thesis proposals, including a clearly defined thesis topic, together with an idea of its academic relevance and future contribution, the methodology to be applied, and especially the range of sources to explore, an activity which will start in the immediately ensuing research break. As a natural continuation of this course, the spring thesis workshops will focus on the presentation of the sources that students will have collected, pursuing their own outlines, during the research break.
Assessment : 
This is a pass/fail course. Evaluation will be based on the quality of oral presentations, the regularity of participation in class discussions, and the acceptability of the thesis outline submitted at the end of the course.
Reading material: [pdf] ; [pdf] ; [pdf] ; [pdf]