Planning the thesis
Writing in Pairs
As mentioned in section 1, students writing an essay on the intermediate level are expected to write in pairs. On the bachelor’s and master’s levels you write your thesis individually. For students who are going to write with another student on the Intermediate level it is important to pair up early on. In order to assist students in this process, an introductory seminar is held at the beginning of the semester. During this seminar, students are expected to briefly introduce the topic of the thesis.
Writing an Outline for the Thesis
Soon after the introductory seminar, most teachers want to see each student or group for supervision in order to discuss the topic for the thesis or essay. The purpose of this initial conversation is to assist students in writing a thesis outline, which is to be presented at a planning seminar at a later stage.
Formal Requirements for the Thesis Outline
If your teacher does not instruct you differently, the thesis outline should be 2-4 pages (800-1600 words) in length, not including the list of references.
The outline should include:
- The Research Problem: Delimit the topic and include a well articulated statement of the problem as well as relevant research questions. This is the most important part of the outline; without a clearly formulated research problem it is impossible to write a good thesis.
- Theory/Mode of Analysis: It is important to reflect on how the research problem can be understood in principal and how it can be structured. Specify your theoretical approach.
- Method and Empirical Material: How do you intend to investigate your research problem? Describe how your research question will be operationalised in practice.
- References: You should include a (preliminary) list of relevant literature that will be used in order to write your thesis. This list should include all theoretical and empirical texts as well as literature on methodology, which you expect to use for your thesis project. Include sources which you have not yet had an opportunity to read as well as texts that you are well acquainted with.
The thesis outlines are usually handed in and distributed through the I-assistant system. Your teacher will inform you if you are to submit your paper using a different system.
While you are writing your thesis, your supervisor will assist you through a series of individual sessions and group seminars for all students who are in the writing process. The resources available for individual supervision are limited; at the present 2-3 individual sessions of 1, 5 hours in total including the supervisor’s preparations is available per thesis. Students normally meet with their supervisor during an advisory session in preparation for the planning seminar where theses outlines are presented. A follow up session usually takes place after the planning seminar. For Masters Students, group seminars take place throughout the semester.
Individual supervision sessions generally take place during the initial stages. There is no preliminary assessment of the thesis prior to the examination seminar.