Whenever I tell people that I’m finishing up my masters and working on my thesis, it never fails, this question soon follows. I hate this question. In fact, I loathe this question. And I know that my peers do as well.
Why is this such a hard questions for us to answer? Well, for one, we’re still trying to define what our thesis is about. I mean, it can, and does, change every day. If we can’t even explain it to ourselves (and we’re writing it!), how can we explain it to others?
As soon as this question is out there, my mind goes into overdrive as I try to figure out how to best answer this inquiry. I’m considering the persons background. Do they know art? Do they know education? More importantly, do they know art education? How much am I going to have to explain to them before I can tell them what I’m writing about? I’m also taking into account how they’re asking the question. Do they genuinely seem interested, or are they asking just to be polite?
So what is my thesis about? What topic did I choose to dedicate two years of my life to researching? Well, there’s no way to sum it up in a nutshell, but I needed to define exactly what my research was about when I applied for approval from the IRB. Here’s how I put it:
Within art classrooms, the elements and principles of design (the EPDs) have traditionally been taught as foundational to the making of art. The proposed qualitative research project will explore art educators’ attitudes towards the use of the EPDs and foundational art education. It also examines art educators’ attitudes towards updating their approach to teaching foundational art through the use of contemporary art and art making. This qualitative research project explores the differences in attitudes held by pre-service and in-service teachers.
So, there it is. Maybe I should have this blurb printed up on cards so I can just pass them out whenever someone asks me that dreaded question. Anyway, time to get back to the grindstone. Just wanted to a take a moment to vent.