Being Hungarian in New Brunswick, New Jersey: The 34th Annual Hungarian Festival
by Christy Fic
Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology, 2010
Thesis Advisor: Professor Susan Niles
Q: When did you start thinking about your thesis?
A: The summer after my sophomore year.
Q: How did you start tackling your thesis project at the very beginning?
A: I knew I wanted to do an ethnography of a particular community, so I got in touch with people I knew in organizations within that community who would be in positions to help me.
Q: Did your advisor explain the structure of a thesis project to you?
Q: Did you have to do a literature review? Had you ever done one before?
A: No "lit review," per se, but I did read a lot of secondary sources and used what those scholars said to support my arguments.
Q: Do you remember receiving correspondence from the library about your honors thesis?
Q: What did you find most challenging about your thesis project?
A: Trying to figure out where to put all of the amazing information I had collected. And trying not to over-research.
Q: What did you find most rewarding about your thesis project?
A: Being able to work on a project that was completely my own, on a topic that I was passionate about. And I had a lot of fun working with the members of the community I studied.
Q: What assistance did your advisor/department offer you throughout the course of the year?
A: My advisor was my biggest support system, from large concerns to every little worry. I wouldn't have done a thesis without her.
Q: Did you meet with librarians in the course of conducting your research? How many times and at what stages of your research?
A: I met with a reference librarian at the end of my junior year, before really delving into any research. I didn't consult with any librarians after that.
Q: What other kind of support did you rely on throughout the year to accomplish your thesis (IT, parents, friends, etc.)?
A: Complaining/ranting/raving to friends who were writing theses. Venting to my mom on the phone. But mostly, having weekly hour-long pow-wows with my advisor.
Q: Were you able to get access to all of the research materials you wanted for your project?
Q: Would you do anything differently if you went through the process again?
A: Yes. There were some things I researched, but didn't end up using. Looking back it wasn't the best use of my time. I knew it, but felt compelled to read those articles and books anyway.
Q: What advice would you offer other honors thesis students, especially in your department?
A: Start early. If you want to do any type of fieldwork, have it done BEFORE you start seriously reading. Then you'll know what you're looking for in the texts. But it's also a good idea to read a couple of key articles and books on your topic beforehand so you have an idea of what might be going on before you step into the field.