So… I’ve spent the first six months in 2014 trying to decide whether I wanted to do a thesis or not. In the graduate program for speech-pathology, this is optional, so we have a choice. I asked around; students who did do one felt incredibly gratified and fulfilled. Those who did not do one were happy they didn’t. So apparently it’s a win/win situation.
I’ve always believed that research is an integral part of any profession, especially in speech-language pathology. So much of our practice depends on current research. It’s a part of our Code of Ethics to consider future advocacy and evidence-based practice.
I sat down and came up with the following list:
- Your resume is amplified by three thousand percent. Okay, well, maybe it just makes you look much more marketable.
- It’s really fulfilling. God’s always on your side.
- They open up areas you’d never dream about.
- More networking opportunities because you work with professionals from different fields and different schools locally or globally.
- Chances of getting a job increase.
- You learn tons about gathering and conducting research.
- People are more likely to take you seriously during and after working on said thesis.
- You’re a foundation for future research.
- You get to learn about something you’re really interested in!
- Other issues are addressed through your research.
- Major pride points when you’re done!
- You get to present at conferences and everyone will offer you jobs (maybe.)
- You may even get PUBLISHED.
- You give others the opportunities to share in your successes (and non-successes).
- Think of that Doctorate. Dr Liu? Yes.
- You get great support from your advisors and your department.
- It may be much harder to start if you decide to do one after you graduate.
- More access to resources because you’re in school. Think of how many free articles you get thanks to the Library.
- They’re definitely not as easy as they seem.
- How will you ever decide what to do?
- The Institutional Review Board is another process in itself.
- Dat defense at the end
- A doctorate really isn’t in store for you. Isabella Liu, M.S. CCC-SLP vs. Isabella Liu, PhD. M.S. CCC-SLP??
- Funding is really hard to get. Both for the class, and for recruiting participants if you’re doing some controlled trials.
- You’ll have to collaborate with other institutions if you need more resources.
- Longitudinal studies are exactly what they seem… long.
- You may have to start over from scratch.
- You’re still in school and working jobs when you’re doing your research.
- You have to sift through as much as you can of all existing research to compile your literature review, and not every 15 to 20 page article is going to be easy to read.
- Outdated sources are still credible to a certain extent so you can’t automatically throw those to the side.
- Your time will be eaten up by writing, writing, writing, reading, reading, reading…
- You may not get a supervisor that’s always on the same page.
- You reeeeaaalllllyyy don’t want to do one.
So… what do you think? It looks like the pros outweigh the cons. Some schools and departments make it a matriculation requirement, and I can see why. But when you have a choice, you’re faced with a tough decision that will eat up a lot of your time, but you have nothing to lose. I am reminded of the a quote from Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter lore: “Soon, we must choose between what is right, and what is easy.”
Guess that pretty much decides it, eh?