Writing a thesis about animal intentionality and tool use is totally hot right now. A thesis about Robert Louis Stevenson’s use of the supernatural to symbolize evil? Not so much.
For graduate students who want to take the temperature of their dissertation’s thesis statement, there’s a Web site that went up earlier this week allowing students to vote on how hot each others’ theses are. The site offers no criteria for judging a thesis statement, and the voter has only two choices: “hot” or “not.”
The Web site, called Is My Thesis Hot or Not, is part of the online graduate student community GradShare. So far, there are about 75 theses posted and 5,000 votes. Although the site is intended for posting thesis statements, most of the current submissions are titles or research questions. And most of them are decidedly not hot.
There’s also room for comments so voters can explain why a thesis is hot or not. Some comments are serious and thoughtful. Many comments simply state, “This is not a thesis.” One commenter suggested that the thesis about Stevenson would have been hot … if an undergraduate had written it.
So what makes a thesis hot? Apparently not typos—one student is torn apart in the comments section for misspelling “operations.” And apparently not looking into a pop star’s gender—a thesis questioning Lady Gaga’s womanhood has more than 100 “not” votes. Full sentences that make clear, sophisticated assertions? That’s pretty hot. At least for now.