Loading...

August 29, 2017Pic: The first page behind my title page in my Masters thesisWell, I did it.

 And then I won the battle against formatting images in Word to create a beautiful PDF document that I can be proud of 29 Aug 2017 - When I saw down and opened up a blank document in Word I realized I had absolutely It can be a lit review, or it can have original research..

But that sure as heck won’t stop me from being proud of what I’ve accomplished!I would be lying if I said I knew what I was doing when I started writing. When I saw down and opened up a blank document in Word I realized I had absolutely no idea where to start.

It took me a good few days before I put any sort of substantial wording down on digital paper, and when I did it was just a title page. That certainly got me thinking that I am not the only one who felt lost.

So I’ve decided to write down my process and what I figured out along the way in the hopes that it will give some reassurance to future students and help relieve at least a little bit of their anxiety. I hope it helps!Full Disclosure Notes:In full disclosure, at UToronto you don’t write an archaeology Masters thesis.

It can be a lit review, or it can have original research. Most archaeology students, myself included, write about original research, which is why I keep calling it a thesis.

We don’t have to defend it, but it goes through two readers (one of which is your supervisor) who gives it the yay or nay. So what I’m writing here is from my own experiences and will only cover the writing process (not the thesis defense process).

Acknowledge your thesis is NOT going to be perfectNothing is ever completely perfect, theses included.

Sure, you need to be able to have a clear discussion with your points supported and illustrated.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to accept early on that your thesis is not going to be perfect and there will forever be room for improvement.

As my husband pointed out to me, you know you’ve done well when you can read your thesis later and see where you could have improved. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, imperfections and all. But at the end of the day I’m still pretty damn proud to see all my hard work presented here!Step 2. Make sure you have all your permissions in placeThis is a big one for archaeology, especially in North America where many of us work with Indigenous descendant communities.

By this point in time you should already have permission for your research.

But you’ll want to be clear on things like photos. Even though you have permission for research, that doesn’t mean photos of sensitive materials are allowed to be included in a document that will be freely available to others once it’s done (most universities will make PDFs of theses available).

My research was about very sensitive mortuary data, and I made sure I had clear permission on what I could and could not include in my thesis AND presentations, but I also made decisions on what within that scope I wanted to include. I did have permission to include photos of the mandible that the beads were associated with, but I decided not to include those photos.

Instead I wrote out 5 pages of detailed description of the mandible. If you’re using copyrighted photos from books, websites, or documents, make sure you properly reference them in your thesis.

Find out what exactly is requiredHow long does the thesis need to be? Are there specific formatting requirements? Where do you send it once it’s done? Does the file need to be named in a specific way? These are the base questions to be asking, because these will physically shape your thesis.

Some departments have this very conveniently located in their websites.

 I ended up finding a convenient UToronto website with all the formatting info I needed Research within librarian-selected research topics on Archaeology from the Questia online library, including full-text online books, academic journals, .

Even though I was technically not writing a thesis, I still used the guide because it was super useful to keeping me organized and pointing me in the right direction.

An unsolicited guide to writing your archaeology thesis – bones

We were told to aim for 40-50 pages (short, I know, because it was a MRP).

But that was not set in stone and every paper was going to be different. I know people who finished at 30 pages and others who finished at 120 pages.

I finished at 83 (I completed my program in 1 year and I probably would have been closer to the 120 pages had I included a second field season). Some supervisors are really strict with length requirements.

Others, like mine, don’t care about length as long as you’ve clearly made your argument and included enough information to support it. Does your supervisor want your drafts by a specific time for editing? Do they want it in segments, or all at once? Earlier is always better. There WILL be edits (remember how I said nothing is perfect), so you want to make sure you’re going to have enough time to address them all.

Know your writing style and what works best for youMy work space.

Books on the floor beside a box full of cat toys, and a lego X-wing hanging above my head. It worked for me!Are you a fast writer? Slow writer? Do you need a specific space to write? Music? By this point in your academic endeavors you’ve written enough research papers that you should have a pretty decent idea about how you work.

I know I’m a fast writer, so I wasn’t too worried having a month-long field season right in the middle of my writing period. And I wasn’t worried when I got almost NOTHING written during that field season.

In all honesty, it took me about 3 weeks of writing to get my thesis done. And that includes some days where I managed to only get about an hour of writing in.

 With planning a textbook on top of the last couple of weeks of writing (Intro to North American Archaeology open access textbook) 25 May 2018 - Background research refers to the process that a writer uses to gain knowledge The peer-review process requires that before a scientific paper is published, For archaeologists, some good anthropology-based databases .

Journal of archaeological research - springer - springer link

I also like to have music playing, but it has to be a specific kind of music (aka no or minimal lyrics). And I definitely can’t work around other people because I get way too distracted. So I made sure I had a comfy space at home to write, where no one but my cats could distract me.

Make sure you can read and understand your primary dataBy this point in time, you should have all your primary data collected.

By primary data I’m referring to field notes/analyses/photographs about your specific topic. I made sure I had all my field notes re-written in one spot.

I had all the measurements for my excavations written out, and all the details for the beads written out (i. I also made sure my photographs were tidy and labelled so that I knew what I was looking at, and which photographs could be used to support what points of writing.

Everyone will have a different organizational system, so make sure you know what works best for you. But remember that your writing is describing what you already know to someone who doesn’t know it.

So make sure you include as many details as possible so that the readers can understand your primary data. Know that you’ll still be doing research as you’re writingYou’ve definitely got enough information to get started with writing. You’ve got your articles and books and notes (if you’re like me and kept written notes in a notebook) organized and ready to go.

But I can guarantee that as you start writing you’ll suddenly realize you may need a little more info here or there to better support your points.

Research paper topics about archaeology | online research library

There were definitely a few days I spent doing additional research instead of writing. Also, know that there is no minimum/maximum for the number of references to include. I ended up with 6 pages of references for an 83-page paper (which is about 130-ish refs). And that doesn’t include the additional 5 page appendix I included specifically for archaeological reports.

Format your documentI found formatting my document before I even started writing was super helpful toFormatting at the beginning helped the table of contents stay organized and up to date as I wrotekeeping it relatively organized.

I made sure to get the table of contents set up, page breaks in all the right spots, and the references section set up.

Word has a built in references manager for many, many different formats. I used APA style and found Word was actually pretty good for it, but make sure you’re keeping an eye on your reference list in case you need to change anything.

In total honesty, I had NO IDEA how to do any of this formatting stuff before I started writing. I spent some quality time with my good friends Google and Youtube learning about formatting Word documents.

Looking at old theses also helps give you an idea of what to expect. Write an outlineAn outline is something my supervisor specifically asked for, and I’m glad he did.

 I wrote out my planned chapters and a brief synopsis beneath each of what I was planning on including 8 Mar 2017 - Let's face it--one of the toughest jobs of the student is to find a research paper topic, especially if your professor has assigned you a term paper .

My supervisor gave me some feedback on it, including some reorganizing a bit of the info that would fit better into a different chapter.

Writing a research paper in archaeology - boston university

I formatted my chapter titles into my document as a starting point, and in italics below it I wrote out what I planned on including in each chapter, including how I would break it down into sub-chapters. As I wrote and came to a break in the day, I would write my train of thought in bold italics so I knew where to pick up again.

It was an enormous help in keeping my mind focused. Start writingAll you have to do is get a few words down and the rest will start flowing. Sometimes you’ll have good days, sometimes bad days.

I was definitely slow at the beginning as I was trying to find my way. I would set little goals, like getting three pages written in one day.

More often than not I would end up writing far more than that. I think I started with chapter 2, finished chapter 3 first, bounced between chapter 2 and 4, and left chapter 1 for last. I have no doubt had others read my unfinished drafts they would have found it chaotic.

But that’s what worked best for me and kept my writing going. Another bit of writing advice I have is keep your references cited list up to date as you add references.

Every time I referenced someone in my writing I paused for a moment to add that to my references cited page.

 It saves you a LOT of time from having to go back through everything later to include it 29 Nov 2017 - Papers from the Institute of Archaeology (PIA) is a peer reviewed, open access journal that publishes research on all aspects of archaeology, .

If you’re going to have multiple pages of references, keeping it up to date as you go along is a HUGE help (get the formatting set up before you start writing and update it as you go)Step 10.

Archaeology paper writing | pro-papers great britain 🤘

Take as many breaks you need for however long you need. Get up and stretch and moveWhen I took breaks I wrote notes in bold so I knew where to pick up againaround.

Do whatever you need to do to give your brain a break and keep you focused. I found I usually took small breaks every half an hour-ish.

Sometimes my writing was flowing well and I didn’t take many breaks. Other times I couldn’t stay focused and took more breaks.

Sometimes I sat down for a break and didn’t get back to writing until the next day. I let my mind and body dictate how I was going to be working, and it really helped my stress levels stay down.

Know that edits are NOT personalThere will be edits, and more likely than not there will be many.

Edits are never personal, no matter what’s written. Edits are there because your supervisor wants you to be the best you can be.

I know some supervisors can write really awful things, which I completely disagree with.

Know that it’s not an attack against you and your capabilities and knowledge. That’s a failure on their part to communicate, it’s nothing to do with you.

 Edits exist to help you make your points clear enough that others can understand them Journal of Archaeological Research brings together the most recent body of information and literature through the publication of original critical articles, each in a 25-40 page format. Find a Volume or Issue Strictly Necessary Cookies..

Free archaeology essays and papers - 123helpme.com

Other times you know your data so well that you’ve forgotten others don’t know it and not included enough detail. Embrace edits and use them to make your writing that much stronger.

Add images lastBecause adding images can alter your text formatting, and adding text can alter image formatting, I found it worked best to add images once all my writing was finished.

If I had a specific image in mind I would write it in place in bold text so I knew later what I wanted to add. You’ll need to learn how to format your images, which was perhaps the most difficult part because Word really doesn’t care much about making image organization simple.

Some of my images I wanted to put on their own page with a landscape layout. It was a HUGE pain in the butt trying to figure that one out.

But I made it to the “good enough” level and I’m happy with that.

Building/inserting tables in Word is whole other struggle. So get well acquainted with Google and Youtube for formatting help.

I had to figure out how to get some pages into a landscape layout for photos while keeping others horizontal. It definitely wasn’t the easiest thing to figure outSo there you have it, my very unsolicited guide for writing an archaeology thesis.

Remember, everyone writes differently so what worked best for me might not work best for you. As always, if you have any questions or want more suggestions, feel free to send me a message! Happy writing!