Writing a proposal as a second year


Writing a proposal for a seminar paper due this Thursday and I was thinking how different it felt as opposed to writing one as a first year.

  • I actually understand the broad theories better. Its nice to know what everyone means when they are talking about a “Marxian” or “Weberian” perspective. I still need to brush up on my theory 2 readings (Bourdieu, Habermas, Frankfert school) but it feels good to know what everyone generally means when talking about sociological theories.
  • I have a better idea of what literature to include in my proposal. Before it felt like I was just randomly piecing things together and making it sound like it was all interconnected (when I knew fully that some of it was just bullshit). How was I even supposed to know who the “major” players in this field are when I had barely any sociological theory?? Now I know to look up references, what literature seems relevant (but really isnt), and what literature is relevant (and highly so).
  • I’ve found that drawing diagrams of my thought process is super helpful because its a visualization and it makes it easier to critique and improve. I showed a professor my diagram.  She gave me 30 seconds worth of advice and it was super helpful but not too time consuming.
  • I can operationalize my theoretical framework and connect both to each other. I had such trouble with that last year. I knew what data sets or variables I wanted to look at but it was hard for me to conceptualize the framework. My professor (the one I’m turning this proposal to) was really good with forcing me to think conceptually and think in broad, sociological theory. I’m a stubborn graduate student so its good to have someone forceful but positive.

I’m somewhat embarrassed by my papers last year.  Not that I didn’t try my best in them–its just that I had no experience at all in what I was doing. Nothing beats experience. One paper in particular last year was embarrassing for me.. I hope I can show that one professor (who probably thinks I’m an idiot based on the work I gave him last year) that a.) I’m not as stupid as I made myself out to be and b.) I actually know what I’m doing now!

Love being a second-year.


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