DATA 793

DATA 793

MA Thesis Boot Camp

Charles F. Turner, Fall 2023

Mondays, 5-00 to 6-15pm 

Office Hours: Mondays, 3 to 5pm

All Email should be sent to:


Every student in the MA program in Data Analytics and Applied Social Research is required to write a Master’s thesis. The thesis consists of original, independent research by the student, which culminates in a thesis document or research report. The thesis represents the capstone project of the graduate program and utilizes many of the research skills students are expected to master during their course of study. Examples of excellent theses submitted by previous student can be found at: 

Any social science topic is fair game for the thesis. However, the thesis is not a dissertation. Rather, it should explore or answer a very focused research question – one that may be examined during the course of one semester or two at most and that may be adequately addressed by available data. 

Students develop thesis topics by matching their interests with available data or with data that may be readily collected. Given the nature of the requirement, most students elect to use existing data, rather than to collect their own. A catalog of available public use datasets available for download can be found at: 

Much of the data used in graduate courses could also be made available for thesis writing. Often theses are developed from term papers completed for courses. To assist MA students in the sometimes daunting process of preparing an MA thesis, the department holds this weekly “Thesis Boot Camp”.

All MA students must have a faculty advisor for their thesis. I will serve as advisor for most students in this “Boot Camp” However, if another faculty member has particular expertise about your selected area of research or the methods, you may ask her them to serve as your thesis advisor. Your thesis advisor must, however, be a member of the Sociology Department faculty. She or he will have primary responsibility for advising you on your work and will also be responsible for approving and grading your thesis.

NOTE ON PLAGIARISM.  The use of other people’s work or ideas without appropriate acknowledgment is a serious breach of the standards of academic scholarship.  Students who engage in such behavior may be given a grade of F, and they may be subject to other disciplinary action.  The university’s academic integrity policy is published in full at: