Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts or Master of Science in the Department of (Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Chemistry, Classics, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Comparative Literature, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Egyptology and Assyriology, English, French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, History, History of Art and Architecture, Italian Studies, Mathematics, Modern Culture and Media, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Religious Studies, Slavic Studies, Sociology, OR Theater Arts and Performance Studies) at Brown University.
Because the project lasts so long and delves extensively into its topic, the student should select a topic that is interesting and engaging. The creative student may, upon beginning research, discover that the chosen topic presents such a new idea to the field that no directly relevant research currently exists. In that case, the student must create the research from scratch. He or she should begin research by reading everything available that relates even indirectly to the field of study; for example, if the student is studying a Mesopotamian text upon which no one else has written, he or she may read journal articles and books that deal with other ancient texts from that location, language, or time period. This is called secondary research, and it aids the student in developing a voice of credibility. Secondary research provides an education in the terms, issues, history, and research authorities that belong specifically to that field of study, and the student who becomes conversant in all these areas can begin to write a masters thesis that can sway the opinions of experts in the field.
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The key component in earning a masters degree is submitting a masters thesis (or dissertation). Obviously, the thesis consists of a documentation of your research, a critical analysis of your findings, and the conclusions you draw. That's simple enough, but of course the precise structure, format and style of the thesis will vary, depending on the subject matter and the requirements of the assessing body. A thesis in literature for a Master of Arts degree will be quite different than a thesis in psychology or economics submitted for a Master of Science degree.