That little thing called a Master’s Thesis, revisited

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As I have mentioned before in an earlier blog post, one requirement of the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling program is completing a master’s thesis.  This entails conducting research on a topic of one’s choice and then writing about the process and results.  Although I mentioned my process in an earlier post, a lot of time has passed since then.

Currently, when I think of my thesis project (and the work that lay ahead of me), two thoughts come to my mind, “This is so exciting!” and/or “Oh my god I think I might puke.”

When I wrote my earlier post, I was literally at the beginning stages of my research process.  I was merely brainstorming ideas of topics and questions I had concerning dance/movement therapy and research– wondering what type of research it was that I would like to conduct.  As the fall semester trudged along, however, I was required (I would say forced, but that sounds a bit harsh) to choose a topic.  As the spring semester continues, I have now committed to a research question and have begun to design my research project.

Currently I am working on my research proposal.  This proposal is submitted to a committee made up of dance/movement therapists– mostly Columbia College faculty and/or alumni– as well as the college wide Internal Review Board (IRB).  The purpose of the proposal is to articulate my research question, methodology, and methods, as well as to outline my research process (how the heck I am going to make this whole thing possible). Once I receive feedback and the “go ahead” from each committee, I can then start my research.

It sounds exhausting, and I am finding that it kind of is.

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I am sticking to the topic to which I spoke about previously: utilizing performance as an intervention method within a dance/movement therapy setting with adults with developmental disabilities. I am exploring this topic and how it may or may not address the therapeutic goal of increasing interpersonal skills, something the clients at my internship (who will serve as my co-researchers) work on daily.

One thing I appreciate about the research process thus far within the program is my instructor’s (Laura Downey) emphasis on creativity.  In many classes within the fall and current semester, we have been asked to create works of art that reflect our research process; emphasis on process, not necessarily our actual research work.  Below is a dance I did as one of my works of art.  Naturally I chose movement as my form of expression, because this is the modality in which I feel most comfortable expressing myself.

When I started the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling program, my thesis project seemed so far away, something I didn’t have to worry about just yet…..or yet… or yet.  It was always something that was nestled in the back of my mind, though.  I find it hard to believe that I am working on my thesis project, and it’s even harder to believe that I will begin collecting data this summer.

My thesis project is real and coming, whether I am ready for it or not.  I think I’m ready for it, though.  I’m ready.