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Master’s thesis – a piece of cake? Per Ertbjerg Department of Food and Environmental Sciences University of Helsinki, Finland.

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Presentation on theme: "Master’s thesis – a piece of cake? Per Ertbjerg Department of Food and Environmental Sciences University of Helsinki, Finland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Master’s thesis – a piece of cake? Per Ertbjerg Department of Food and Environmental Sciences University of Helsinki, Finland

2 Basic principles Thesis work is a project!! Clearly set goals Schedule/deadline -October 31, i.e at the beginning of October -Goal: in the end of August Resources given Responsibilities

3 Basic principles Before the start the supervisors know more about the subject that the student does After the process the student knows more than the supervisors (about the particular subject!) The student shows her/his academic independence and skills Academic reading, writing and calculating Scientific thinking Mastering of methods of the subject area Ability to collect, critically evaluate and utilize scientific material Ability to do scientific knowledge transfer

4 Scientific communication Ability to do a literature review and write a report Ability to write a report about own experimental research Ability to prepare a scientific publication Ability to write professional papers Ability to prepare a scientific oral presentation with PowerPoint (or similar) presentation Ability to communicate orally in various situations (one to hundreds of people) Speak loud Speak clear Do not worry too much about your English Native: speak slowly, loud and clear

5 Slooooowly!

6 Clear!!

7 Loud!!!

8 ????? 1.What?? 2.Why?? 3.What do we know?? 4.How do we get what we want to know??

9 What?? Ultimate goal (purpose) Specific focuses, operational aims Actual targets, what will be needed to do All parties/actors must understand similarly and agree Ultimate goal  purpose  foundations  plan  results  discussion  conclusions Reporting  Thesis  Publication? ’What’ +`’Why’ = ’introduction’

10 Why ??? Why do you want to know that, where are you going to use the gathered knowledge? Basic research, Applied research Problem solving All parties/actors must understand similarly and agree upon it

11 What do we know in advance ??? General exam, consisting all material of the main subject Literature review Basic knowledge Specific knowledge Methodologies Use modern systems

12 How ? (plan) Design of the study Y-variables -those that you want to measure/know X-variables -those that you vary/control Sample numbers -Preliminary tests -Statistical power -Statistical methods for presenting the results and hypothese testing Methods

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14 Practical advice Read the course descriptions https://moodle.helsinki.fi/course/view.php?id=5245 How will a thesis will evaluated and graded? Make /ask to be establish a study group Supervisors and co-supervisors Other graduate students Read previous MSc theses Textbooks  Reviews  Original research articles Modern methods (Google, Wikipedia etc.)??

15 Practical advice Plan everything carefully Have a notebook (quality assurance) Collect all references immeadiately into a list and use modern systems (e.g. Refwork) Collect your experimental data onto sheets immediately and follow the results during the study regularly Plan the tables and figures in advance

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17 Schedule (Helsinki style) August: discuss with your supervisor(s) about the theme Plan the study program (courses) Discuss with your supervisors September: Collect basic knowledge about the broader area Read textbooks about the subject Try to find review articles and central original research articles about the theme (supervisors help!) October: Continue with articles Write the table of contents and discuss with your supervisors Start to focus on methods Start to write the literature review

18 Schedule (cont.) November Start testing your methods Collect some experimental material  you will learn your methods  you will get information about your material and the variation in it concerning your study design December Continue the above activities Continue the review writing Make the research plan, estimating the statistical power Make sure that the scientific background and detailed research plan is ready by the end of the year

19 Schedule (cont.) January – March Do the study!!! Have the tables ready Collect always immediately the results and make the calculations April – May Final checking the literature review and writing the discussion and conclusions June - July Completing the thesis writing Practical training Final exam Keep the schedules!!!

20 Summary 1. What ?? 2. Why ?? 3. What do we know now ?? 4. How do we get what we want to know ?? Academic independence and skills The new knowledge Discussion and conclusions are the most important parts

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22 Schedule Literature review Targed line December 2014 Preliminary research plan Preliminary tests Targed line December 2014 Final research Plan start of January Experimental part Targed line March 2015 Manuscript Targed line May 2015 (Practical training) June - Juli 2015 (Final exam) August 2015 Seminars May … August Thesis evaluated and accepted, mid September 2015!!!

23 Practical Regular group meetings (every second week) (More) Regular meetings with the supervisors Same samples when applicable Joint literature database Joint research results database Use library Web of Sciences, Scopus References –function Books and Journals (ask for advice!)

24 Excercise on thesis planning On Saturday You should choose your area of interest of the themes introduced here, the final one or for this excercise only You will make a preliminary plan for the study Discussion about the plans in small groups Presentation of the plans

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