The master’s thesis research seminar (MTRS) is offered fall, winter and spring quarter and meets about every other week. The seminar is designed to facilitate the development and execution of the Master's thesis by providing support from participants and the thesis coordinator. The goal is for participants to hone the skills and judgments necessary to identify sociologically important and empirically feasible research questions, develop appropriate research designs to address those questions, complete independent research to bring evidence to bear on those questions, and write-up the research, under the supervision of the advisor.
The seminar will also foster collaboration and mutual support among the participants. It will also serve as a first socialization to professional skills and responsibilities such as discussing or reviewing other people's work, and learning and discussing responsible conduct of research, such as practices of data acquisition and sharing, and human subjects protection. The master's thesis seminar is often an effective way to reinforce the completion of soft deadlines that you (or your advisor) may set for yourself.
Usually the seminar addresses each distinct component of the research process, including engaging literature, managing data and writing; however, the format, length and frequency of meetings are flexible, vary by quarter, and will be altered to accommodate the diversity of stages and needs of the students in any given quarter. Your input is critical in determining the structure of the seminar and your level of engagement so that it suits your needs. The seminar may be a forum for discussing the thesis process, refining research questions, and presenting work in progress. At times, meetings may provide a venue for participants to serve as sounding boards. Students may update one another on their progress or present or discuss tasks they complete for the thesis. Students may share their positive and negative experiences and, help one another negotiate them. Other times meetings may be structured as a workshop where participants ask probing questions or provide constructive feedback on the writing or presentations of other participants. You have great leeway in the level and frequency of support within any quarter and during the academic year. Students may participate in one, two or three quarters in which the seminar is offered. Grades are based on credit/no credit. The course website is https://faculty.washington.edu/dechter/classes/MTRS/soc524.html .