Teacher: professor Frans Mäyrä
Time: Thursdays, 9 January - 15 May, 2013, 9-11 am
Place: to be announced.
Link to the Learning2 course environment (to be added).
Subscription: via Teaching Schedule pages.
The seminar starts the work on pro gradu thesis. The students will produce the research plan for their thesis, survey relevant research literature, and create the basis for collecting and analysing research data. The work in the seminar is focused on scientific writing, creating the outline and finding the method for one's pro gradu thesis work. Additionally, the participants will practice providing feedback, acting as an opponent and participating in scientific dialogue.
The work in the Master's Thesis Seminar is designed to proceed in “process writing” style, meaning that there will be several intermediate steps and the larger chunk of work will be split in small, manageable assignments. The first seminar meetings will include some teacher-led work, as well as discussion about science, scholarship, and about the aims and goals for pro gradu thesis. The work on one’s own thesis is started with the choosing of one’s topic area and point of view. The next step will to formulate the research question or research problem. This, in turn, will be related to the choice of research method and planned research materials or data that will be needed to answer the research question. The next steps will involve creating the rough outline of the work (disposition), which will be accompanied with the timetable for the preparation of the different parts of the thesis, and how much work these will require. After the research plan for the pro gradu thesis has been outlined, the most of thesis seminar will be dedicated to preparation and writing the seminar essay. The seminar essay can consist, for example, of one of the chapters included in the master’s thesis disposition.
The final aim of the Master's Thesis Seminar is to provide the “big picture” about the goals and steps required by the master’s thesis (pro gradu), and to create a seminar essay that will function as a good start for writing the final thesis. The seminar essay can focus on different parts of the thesis, depending on the chosen topic, approach and how far in the thesis process the student already is. The version of work that is prepared and discussed in the seminar can, for example, consist about a literature review into the previous research of the subject matter, and then proceed to provide grounds for the approach, method and research question chosen as the basis of master’s thesis. Another alternative is to focus the seminar work on research material and data gathering, and to write the seminar essay so that it forms the early version of the method and analysis chapters for the master’s thesis. There are other alternatives as well, and these will be discussed with each individual at the beginning of the Master's Thesis Seminar.
The seminar essay will be presented in the seminar, and there will be another student who will serve as the appointed opponent, a pre-examiner of the seminar essay. Both the substance, approach and the formal features of the seminar essay (such as its written language and the use of references) will be discussed in detail, so that the process will provide as much help as possible for writing the final master’s thesis. The Spring term with its finished seminar essay and pro gradu research plan will provide the student with half (5 ECTS) of the seminar credits. There will be a continuation seminar (“gradupiiri” in Finnish) where every student will participate for another term, presenting the progress and the next chapters of their thesis, after which they will receive the other half (5 ECTS) of the course credits. In addition to seminar, there will also be individual thesis supervision meetings that will be dealing with the details and the conclusions of the master’s thesis. Other teachers and researchers of the School can also act as the main supervisors of the master’s thesis.