Category Archives: MA Students

Winter Break: Some Project and Thesis Tips!

Over the winter break, no doubt most of you will be hard at work on the first draft of your master’s projects and theses! Here are some ways to get help before your draft is due, along with some helpful resources and strategies for getting that draft done.

Where to get help:

Writing and editing resources:

Project/Thesis tips and strategies:

Peg Boyle Single has some great tips on writing theses and dissertations, much of which is applicable to your project. She also wrote a great (and really short!) book on this topic. 
 
How to Write a Lot by Paul Silvia; this book is geared toward academic writing, but it’s suitable for all kinds of writing, and how to make a habit of it. Best of all, this book is super-short at just 149 pages! 
 
This Gradhacker article has a lot of great tips, primarily geared toward getting yourself in the right mental space to get the work done. The main take-aways:
  • You are not alone—all your classmates (and those before you) have faced feelings of anxiety, failure, and inability related to this project. You may feel like you’re the only one struggling, but all of us who have trudged the halls of graduate school have faced similar feelings. Reach out for the support of your classmates—they probably need to vent their frustration, too.
  • Work in small increments, like half an hour. Even a little progress is something. Facing the seemingly insurmountable goal of writing your entire project can seem daunting, but you get it done by just breaking it down into tiny pieces.
  • Don’t strive for perfection, strive for DONE.
This blog post on outlining shows a great way to break your project up into chunks. Outlines are key to breaking your project into small, digestable pieces, and for keeping you on track.
 
A focus statement can be helpful: write a one- or two-sentence summary of your project. Write or print it on a notecard or small piece of paper, and keep it in front of you while you work. Look up at it every once in a while, and use it to keep yourself on track. Often, while working on a story or research, your mind will take off on wild tangents—having your focus statement in front of you can help you maximize your time by keeping you focused.

Viewing Past Master’s Projects & Theses

Master's projects/theses from past students are viewable in print at the Journalism Library and Lehman Library. Here's a guide to their location, based on year of completion.

type year location
MS projects 2011-2013 Journalism Library
MS projects 2010 and earlier (back to 1957) Lehman Library (International Affairs Building)
MA theses 2010-2013 Journalism Library
MA theses 2009 and earlier Lehman Library (International Affairs Building)

 

To find specific titles or authors, use our Master's Projects and Theses Index. Unfortunately, there is currently no subject access or keyword search for this collection. The print MS projects and MA theses cannot be checked out, but they can be read in the library. The most recent five years of broadcast Master's projects and theses are available for loan from the Journalism Library Reserves Collection and circulate for 2 days. Projects from earlier years may be requested at the Lehman Library Reserves Desk. To request a radio or television project, you must know the author's name and their year of graduation, available through the index.

 

Let us know if you have any questions about using the collection, and best of luck with your own projects!

1000 Twitter Followers – Time to Celebrate!

A little birdie told us we now have 1,000 followers! 

@JournalismLib is grateful to all followers for enabling us to reach this milestone.  We will be randomly selecting 5 of our current followers for $5 Amazon gift cards as a token of our appreciation.  We wouldn't be here without all of you! 

And if you're not yet following us, join us now!  Still time to win – random drawing will happen Friday, May 24th, at 7pm. 

Congratulations, 2013 Graduates!

 

graduationCongratulations on your graduation!  Wondering what Columbia library privileges you'll have after graduation?  Here's the scoop:

Your Columbia UNI and password will continue to give you electronic access to library resources for a grace period of about 6 months after graduation (assuming you were registered during the spring semester).  The Library Information Office (LIO) encourages you to continue to use your UNI during the grace period for all eresource access (electronic databases, ebooks, ejournals), and after this time, you may obtain an alumni ID card through LIO.  The cost is $5 payable with Visa, MasterCard or personal check (cash is not accepted).  Borrowing privileges may be purchased for $30 per month.

Library Information Office
201 Butler Library
535 West 114th St.
New York, NY 10027

(212) 854-7309lio@columbia.edu

Once you are registered as an alum, there is a special libraries gateway for Columbia University Libraries Alumni & Friends through which you may access all electronic resources for alumni - https://alumni-friends.library.columbia.edu/eresources.html - including premium datababses made available by special arrangement just for you!  For a complete list, please go to the E-Resources for Alumni and Friends page.  And be sure to check the newspapers collection!

Library Data Viz Contest – Decorate Our Wall EXTENDED!

Hold the phone!!!  The Journalism Library is excited to EXTEND the deadline for the data visualization contest! Submit your entries by Wednesday, May 15th 5pm, for a chance to see yours in poster-size proudly displayed in the Journalism Library. The winner will also receive a libraries mug and the opportunity to submit your work to Columbia University Libraries Academic Commons.

Contest Rules:

  • submissions must use publicly available data; data is broadly defined and can include video, audio, photo
  • submissions must be received no later than 5pm on May 15th – please send to journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu
  • you may use previously submitted class work!
  • submissions must be in PDF – please do not include your name in the filename, but please share with us the following in your email!
    • your full name
    • graduation year
    • title for your creation
    • data source/s used

Try Ashley's new cool data tools page for help and ideas!

All submissions will be judged based on accurate use of data and originality in aesthetic presentation; panel of judges includes Journalism Librarian, Cristina Ergunay, Data Services Coordinator, Ashley Jester, and JSchool Professors Susan McGregor and Mark Hansen!

The winner will be announced at the JSchool Innovation Showcase on May 17th. We look forward to your submissions! 

Resource Spotlight – Ashley Jester

Please welcome Ashley Jester, the new Data Services Coordinator in the Social Sciences Libraries!  Ashley holds a PhD from Stanford in Political Science with advanced specializations in international relations, organizational behavior, and political economy.  She's here to assist you with your research, from the initial steps of background research and finding data to analysis and interpretation of data.  She's great with Excel, STATA, SPSS, R, and you can find her staffing the reference desks at the Digital Social Science Center (DSSC) and Data Services in Lehman Library.  She's also available for individual/small group consultations…AND she thinks journalism students are super-cool, so don't hesitate to call upon Ashley!

ashley.jester@columbia.edu, (212) 854-0514

Celebrate Master’s Research with Cookies!

Journalism Library Death Star Cookie Jar Chosen a Master's project or thesis topic, you have?  Or still mulling over the possibilities?  Join the celebration with a cookie available in the evil space station in the Journalism Library.

(Future cookie suggestion, you have?  Send email to: journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.)

Welcome, MAs, PhDs, China and Spencer Fellows, & Knight-Bagehots!

 pencilWelcome, Fall MAs, PhDs, China and Spencer Fellows, and Knight-Bagehots!