Promoting Effective Thesis
written by Effective Thesis
What is Effective Thesis?
Effective Thesis is a non-profit organisation that supports talented students to begin research careers that significantly improve the world. We do this primarily by helping students identify important problems where further research could have a big impact. As a thesis can be a defining moment at the start of students’ academic careers, we offer a number of free services and resources to help students make the most out of their thesis. You can read more about these services in this forum post, but for brevity, we list them here:
Thesis topic choice coaching and connections with experienced researchers
Online community of students interested in improving the world via their research careers
Reasons to promote Effective Thesis
It’s an easy way to attract students - via Effective Thesis you’re offering concrete free services to help them think about their thesis, which enables you to introduce the concepts of effective altruism in a more applied and practical manner. Collaborating with organisations like Effective Thesis and highlighting your connections to them will also assist with recruiting members to your EA Group as you demonstrate that there are more benefits to joining your local group than people might have otherwise thought.
By encouraging students (and potential future academics) to shift their research focus onto more impactful topics, we can steer the world, topic by topic, to become a better place. People spend a lot of time on their theses, and if we can ensure this time is spent in an EA way, we can considerably improve the world.
This makes promoting Effective Thesis beneficial for all parties involved as it works as a stronger form of promotion for the EA groups, whilst also generating impact through helping people begin highly impactful research careers. In general, tabling is quite effective as it allows you to get people onto your mailing lists and fellowships in an efficient way. Since we believe Effective Thesis can generate more value to your tabling sessions, this is an even more effective way of tabling.*
*How much better it is can be time dependent, and it is usually better to promote Effective Thesis when most people at your university are thinking about their thesis.
How promoting Effective Thesis works
A simple way to start could be to add links to Effective Thesis’s website or some of our services specifically in communication with your group members. This could mean mentioning Effective Thesis in rejection emails to your fellowships/other programmes (as another place where people can seek support from) as well as in the final emails you send out to people who have completed the fellowship (as one of the suggestions for the next steps).
Anyway, we think there is even higher potential in organising an Effective Thesis tabling day. Tabling is an often used form of EA outreach among student group organisers, and we would highly appreciate it if you were to table on behalf of Effective Thesis. When tabling it is important to have a call to action, therefore we recommend giving out cookies or coffee in return for people signing up to your newsletter, where you send them info about Effective Thesis and your own local group. Tabling involves staying at a location on your campus and giving out information about your organisation. You can see more tips below. If this feels too much for you, we would appreciate it if you could at least spread the word about Effective Thesis’ services in your local group and invite your existing group members to one of our introductory presentations.
We aim to run an introductory Effective Thesis presentation every 2-3 weeks or so during the semester. The presentations will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, and currently the schedule is the following:
March 22nd at 8:00 UTC and 18:00 UTC
April 7th at 8:00 UTC and 18:00 UTC
April 26th at 8:00 UTC and 18:00 UTC
May 11th at 8:00 UTC and 18:00 UTC
The presentation is typically 30 minutes long, followed by Q&As, and depending on attendance we may also run breakout rooms for an additional 15-30 minutes for students interested in specific disciplines to get the chance to meet each other and discuss their potential thesis topic ideas.
The presentation content covered is:
A general introduction to choosing a research topic (this includes some coverage of the INT framework commonly used in EA)
Examples of topics we recommend
An overview of the services Effective Thesis offers.
Steps to promote ET via tabling
Read this whole manual to check if promoting Effective Thesis is a good fit for the goals of your EA Student Group
Pick a date and time for your tabling and gather 2-3 volunteers (see tabling tips below for more info). Figure out where you can borrow a table from ahead of time (and a flask for coffee and etc. if you decide to offer snacks/coffee).
Check here for the next Effective Thesis Student Groups presentation in your timezone and click attending on the relevant facebook event. Please also share the event on your timeline and on your EA Student Group Facebook page and other relevant social media. You can then invite people to join the event on the day as they pass by the table.
Apply to Effective Thesis for a $30 coffee and snacks budget if so required by filling out this form here.
Run an amazing tabling day: feel joyous at the fact that you’ve helped (many) people on their first steps to a more impactful research career! Make sure to ask students when they typically need to start thinking about their thesis topic (and note how it varies for undergraduate/masters/PhD) and also which of our services they’re most interested in (again noting if there is a difference across level of study). Please keep a note of this info (tally it down somewhere) as we will ask for the data in our feedback form.
After the tabling day, please fill out the feedback form here.
Attend the online presentation you promoted on the tabling day.
Enjoy the impact you produced by motivating people to use our services and joining your group!
Existing resources on tabling:
Location is important.
First and foremost, make sure the general area is one with lots of students walking past
Secondly, make sure that the table is conveniently placed so that it is easy for students to walk up to you
Hook them with a snack and then be genuine
Share the general excitement you first had when hearing of EA and Effective Thesis with others - if they know you have skin in the game, they will be more likely to do so too.