Some of my graduate students are embarking on their master’s thesis this semester, and I would like to share the advice I have given them in these "four questions you should ask yourself when choosing a thesis topic"

(A thread)
1. Are you interested in the topic? This is most important - more than pursuing a "hot issue". Maybe at first you think you can work on any topic, but when the going gets tough, and when the writing becomes tedious, it's your interest that will keep you going.
2. Is the topic interesting? Scientific significance aside, an interesting thesis will make it more likely for you to have an enthusiastic adviser, more feedback - and better cooperation - from colleagues - not to mention higher chances of your being able to publish out of it.
3. Is it feasible to do within your timeframe? Focus on a specific topic that you can manage - no need to promise a grand undertaking. While a PhD dissertation can be turned into a book, think of a master's thesis as something that can be condensed into a journal article.
4. Will it help build your career? A thesis is not just a requirement but a learning opportunity for methods, analysis, & writing. Always situate your thesis with your plans - and if you are not sure about them, feel free to use your thesis as a way of exploring career options.

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More from @gideonlasco

11 Sep
Some years back, I was walking in the banks of the River Danube in Budapest when I saw these bronze shoes.

Getting curious, I approached them and saw a plaque that reads: "To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross Miltiamen In 1944-1945." (1/5)
It turns out that on that very spot, Jews were ordered to take their shoes off, and then they were shot "so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away”.

The shoes serve as a haunting memorial to this day of the horrors of an otherwise-forgotten time. (2/5)
As I walked away from the shoes, I realized how such a simple work of creativity can leave a lasting impression.

The shoes do not just remind people of a past horror; they get people into thinking about how we can prevent another similar horror from ever happening again. (3/5)
Read 5 tweets
19 Aug
What is wrong with the government’s response to COVID-19? Why is the pandemic still out of control? Beyond specific policies, I think the entire paradigm is problematic.

Here's a thread that breaks down this faulty paradigm:
1. The gov’t’s paradigm continues to place the burden and blame on the people. They are quick to impose requirements on individuals (e.g. face shields, quarantine passes, curfews), but slow to pursue steps that require gov’t itself to act (e.g. contact tracing, mass testing)
2. Politics, not science, continues to dictate policy. There is no better example than the embrace of rapid antibody tests that look good in the eyes of the public despite the evidence-based dangers of its use. Another example is the absurd, equally-dangerous motorcycle barrier.
Read 9 tweets
2 Aug
This new lockdown is NOT what the healthcare workers were asking for. In fact, it was the exact opposite of what they demanded and recommended.

(A thread)
HCWs prefaced their demands by saying that “we are waging a losing battle against COVID-19 and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action”.

Duterte repeated his promise of a vaccine but offered no clear plan to rescue the struggling healthcare system.
HCWs reported that they are experiencing fear, fatigue, and poor working conditions.

Duterte's response is to threaten HCWs, castigate them for airing grievances ("Do not demean the gov't"), dare them to stage a revolution, and set them up as objects of blame.
Read 7 tweets

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