I recently enrolled in a Master's program at a new university. I'm in the process of finishing my Master's thesis from a previous program, so now I'm sort of doing both at the same time. They are in related fields (political theory/democracy/human rights)
One of the classes in the new program is quite similar to a class I had in the previous program. For the first class, I did a pretty good paper that eventually inspired my Master's thesis. The topic of the paper was roughly something like "Gender perspective on X".
Given that X is like a concept developed by a specific philosopher, the topic is quite narrow. I was excited about the opportunity to write a new paper on the same topic, introducing some things I did not address in the previous paper-- the new paper would focus more on theoretical aspects, etc. Writing such a paper would also definitely help me with writing the Master's thesis.
But having started to develop an outline for the new paper, I realized there will inevitably be some overlap.
Obviously I know I can't just resubmit the paper, and wouldn't want to. But how much overlap is tolerated? I would not copy sections or anything, but is it necessary that I completely omit everything I've previously mentioned? Can I even cover the same exact topic, even if the content and structure of the paper are different?
I have already gotten the topic approved by the new professor, and in the email, I said "In full disclosure, I have researched similar topics before, but from a different perspective". I'm afraid this was not enough.
Admittedly, I am doing this to save time and help develop my thoughts for the Master's, because the topic is something I am already familiar with and interests me. I'm afraid that this alone amounts to academic dishonestly.
Am I just being paranoid- are we allowed to develop our own thinking in this way, by returning to topics? Basically, is it possible to do this in an ethical way at all?