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35E99901 Master’s Thesis 35E99902 Master’s Thesis Seminar 35E99903 Maturity Test Spring 2015 ISS & Logistics Saarinen & Vepsäläinen Guidelines and Recommendations.

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Presentation on theme: "35E99901 Master’s Thesis 35E99902 Master’s Thesis Seminar 35E99903 Maturity Test Spring 2015 ISS & Logistics Saarinen & Vepsäläinen Guidelines and Recommendations."— Presentation transcript:

1 35E99901 Master’s Thesis 35E99902 Master’s Thesis Seminar 35E99903 Maturity Test Spring 2015 ISS & Logistics Saarinen & Vepsäläinen Guidelines and Recommendations for Writing Your Thesis

2 Thesis Seminar Mandatory for major studies (6 study credit) Grading: 0-5 Requirements: Introductory lecture “Guidelines and Instructions” Lectures on Quantitative and Qualitative methods Two presentations given by you (Presentation I and II) Active participation in at least 15 (13+2) presentations One presentation lasts approximately 30 min. The presentation appr. 20 minutes Discussion appr. 10 minutes Schedule presentations by email Review regularly Noppa for the most current schedule Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 2

3 Handing in your thesis Agree with your supervisor on when to hand in your final thesis See instructions ”Finalizing your thesis” in Noppa Remember maturity test! Schedule test time individually or during seminar All courses, thesis, seminar and maturity test results need to be registered to weboodi before you can order your diploma Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 3

4 Agenda On Master’s Thesis in general scale and objectives research process Thesis report structure and styling examples Seminar work basics presenting your own work participation maturity exam What now? Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 4

5 Thesis Requirements Quantitative measures usually takes between 4-8 months length varies; 70-120 pages number of high quality and relevant source references important, e.g. o 5 basic books, 15-40 scientific articles, perhaps case company data Qualitative measures research topic suitably defined o clear research problem o challenging objectives, and making sure the thesis meets them good report o logical flow of text, technicalities and styles in order, easy to read and understand Most important requirement research must have a scientific contribution such as a conceptual or mathematical model or an excellent application of theory Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 5

6 Searching for Thesis Topic Literature course material, recent articles and books media Research reports master’s theses, licensiate theses, doctoral dissertations Bachelor’s thesis own thesis, other students’ topics (Summer)job Company thesis assignments Own interest! Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 6

7 Factors Affecting the Selection of Topic Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 7 General criteriaOwn capabilities –Focusing the topic avoiding superficial and narrow discussion potential for versatile analysis and evaluation of causalities –Doing the work data and material available applicability of research methods –Significance applicability and potential usage in business theoretical contribution –Skills and knowledge etc. industry knowledge knowledge of the topic modeling skills and conceptual aptitude –Motivational level goals project duration –Managing ”conflicts of interest“ negotation skills (?) separate company report might be needed

8 The Problem, Goals and Focus What are the results expected? How to measure if the objectives are fulfilled? Determining the research objectives Take it seriously – this defines the work to be done Set realistic targets with the company at the beginning o Bear in mind the recommended length of report and work load Avoid very general research settings such as ”analysis of the problems of delivery system”, but rather preferably: o What are the options for delivery systems in the literature and how these can be applied in the chosen industry? o Analysis of the pertinent options from company viewpoint and calculation of connected costs o Comparison of alternatives and proposal of detailed action plan Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 8

9 Research plan 1.Background of research area 2.The problem 3.Goals 4.Research methods 5.Expected results 6.Estimation of application possibilities of results 7.Time table and work plan 8. Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 9

10 Research Proposal What is the company problem? Reason and goals of the project Background of project Is the problem general? Theoretical research question and objectives What kind of solution and basis for it Available data and methods Depth and width of business case Contribution Theoretical contribution The role of the case in the thesis, other areas of application? Time table Preliminary list of most topical sources Why are these sources essential? Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 10

11 Getting Familiar with the Topic Research Plan + Discussions with advisor(s) Literature Survey Scientific publications (logistics, management, IS) Dissertations, Master’s theses, other reports Text books and course materials Studying the Company & Industry & Operations Interviews for overall picture & details Observations and data collection, data creation & analyses Published descriptions and hypothetical cases? Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 11

12 A Sample of Scientific Publications Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 12

13 Good Electronic Sources HSE Library data banks Helecon International o Scima: scientific articles o Bild: HSE library books o Thes: HSE Theses (pro gradu in Finnish) Access within the school: Publisher sites Elsevier: Decision Sciences Web MCB Press: Emerald Library INFORMS: PubsOnline Databanks ProQuest, EBSCO etc. Home pages of professors, researchers and institutions Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 13

14 Using Theory in Your Thesis Relevance of theories and models you use Use methods and theories that solve real problems o Example: Fisher’s (1997) classification of functional and innovative products? Presenting models that you don’t use is waste of readers’ time Comparison of models’ applicability is still justified Discuss the theory instead of copy/paste Critical approach Everything you do should be justified Definitions Only the most critical ones Not: ”Logistics is considered as the management of material… Better: ”In this research, the term channel conflict means…” Balance of thesis structure Each part of the thesis should have an appropriate weight Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 14

15 Empirical Research 1.Quantitative / qualitative research 2.Information gathering o Observation o (open question) interviews o Surveys o Statistics, historical data 3.Analysis o Classifications o Graphs o Statistical analysis o Simulation etc. 4.First set your objectives; clear goals should guide your research Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 15

16 Literature on Research Methods Qualitative research Alasuutari (1999), Hirsjärvi et al. (1998), Miles & Huberman (1988), Silverman (2000) Statistical analysis and data collection Hair et al. (1998), Malhotra ja Birks (1999) Case study Yin (1989) Optimization Hillier et al. (2000), Shapiro (2000), Williams (2006) Simulation Evans & Olson (1998) Law & Kelton (2000) Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 16

17 Thesis Structure 1.Before Introduction Chapter o Abstract o (Preface or Foreword) o Table of contents o Lists of tables, figures and appendixes 2.Introduction 3.Motivation o “The Story”, literature research and research gap 4.Theory o Discussion on relevant theories o Model or framework; “the contribution” 5.Empirical part, the case 6.Conclusions 7.List of references and Appendices Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 17

18 General Advice Formats first o Templates & Styles  at least: text, list(s), headings, captures, table of contents, list of figures and tables o Margins and spacing Exact and informative titles Clear subtitles and paragraph structure Use of graphs, tables, and figures is recommended Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 18 Never forget these!

19 Abstracts In Finnish and English Objectives o Description of contribution o Relevance for the reader o Description of research o Usability in scientific research databases Short description without subtitles o Research question o Motivation and objectives of the research o Research method and hypotheses o Research data o Results and conclusions! Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 19

20 Table of Contents and Other Lists and Tables Formulation for clarity – overall picture & details Styles, 3 or 4 levels, font size and bold (no italics or upper case) Max 2 pages List of Figures, Tables, Equations and Appendices Automated by Word, but do define Proper Styles! Indicate original source of Figures and Tables in the caption (normal reference!) The lists may fit on one page! Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 20

21 Introduction The Topic - Explain and motivate The Research Problem and Objectives o Indicate the difference between the general theoretical problem and the specific problem concerning case company o Formulate three to four objectives, for example  Review the literature for previous concepts, theories & empirical results  Suggest a general solution – Theory, model frameworks etc.  Application of the general solution to the case, demonstration of results The Approach of the Research o Methodology/methods, scope and point of view  the contents of research depends on the topic The Contents and Organization of the research or report Main Concepts o Formal definition or list of key words (not always needed) Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 21

22 Background and the Theoretical Part The Background of the Thesis o Introduce the main theories and empirical results reported in the literature  Avoid direct quotations!  Independent and creative analyses rewarded, own classifications etc.  Emåphasize critical approach – comparative studies o Position your own research vis-a-vis previous studies and scientific knowledge o Justify your approach and attempted solutions Use References to Chart the Intellectual History of your topic o Indicate temporal and topical evolution, and 2-5 main sources o Find over a dozen scientific references (books or articles) o Enough application data – interviews, company records, etc. Propose, motivate and describe the development of your own theoretical and empirical approach (a separate chapter!?) Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 22

23 Empirical part - Case Description of the Case Company Empahsize the issues most relevant for your own research Limited length, recommended max 1 page! Define the empirical data material – if necessary Methods of collection and compilation; analyses performed Often methodology should be discussed already in Intro Reporting of empirical tests and results Use tables and comparisons to emphasize and summarize the results How valid and generalizable your results are? Honest and open discussion Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 23

24 Conclusions Summary Briefly repeat the main thrust, contents and results of your thesis Theoretical Results and Managerial Implications illustrate and sell your results and conclusions Demonstrate your suggestions and recommendations Future research – Directions and concrete topics Other observations Clear and systematic account of your research Do not introduce new issues and materials in Conclusions Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 24

25 List of References, and Appendices List all reference materials you have used Books, handbooks, proceedings, articles, reports, interviews, web pages, etc. Do not list sources not referred to in the report When you need Appendices A convenient way to supplement text, helps cutting out text Place for complex calculations, charts, tables, blue prints, etc. that you have condensed or referred briefly in the main text Use descriptive titles and enumerate the appendices Remember to refer to every Appendix in text! o For example. “see Appendix 2”, or “(Appendix 2)” Use a well-articulated system of referencing and appendices from the very start! Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 25

26 Listing of References - Examples Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 26 Books and reports –Author(s) name, printing year, title of the book, publisher, printing location, and number of pages –Koskinen, A., Kivistö, T., Lankinen, M., Sakki, J. & Vepsäläinen, A. (1995) Ostotoiminta yrityksen kehittämisessä, Weilin & Göös, Espoo, 333 s. Articles –Author(s), year of print, title of the article, name of the journal, volume and number of the journal, time (e.g. Summer, Fall), and page numbers –Laine, J. & Vepsäläinen, A. (1994) "Economies of Speed in Sea Transportation", Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Vol. 24, No. 8, pp. 33-41. A separate part of a collection, handbook, or conference proceedings –Author(s), year of print, title of the article/chapter/paper, ”in” author(s) name, printing year, title of the collection, publisher, location, and page numbers –Iyer, A. V. (1999) "Modeling the Impact of Information on Inventories", in Tayur, S., Ganeshan, R. & Magazine, M. (eds.) Quantitative Models for Supply Chain Management, Kluwer, USA, pp. 337-358. Interviews –Name of the interviewee, job, company, place and time –Raivio Riku, Director, Company XYZ, Espoo, 12.10.2001. Internet-references –Posti (1999). Online. Available at:, [15.2.2000].

27 Literature References Why do you use references? So that the reader can verify the origin of your information To give credit to the original authors & To point out your own contribution How to refer to your sources in the text? Active references recommended Denote author(s), publication year, and sometimes page(s) o Mark page(s) especially for exact quotations, definitions or claims o Example: (Haapanen & Vepsäläinen, 1999) o Example with more than two authors: (Lee et al., 1995, 35) References to interviews and other sources Name of person or other source (web page etc.), and date o Example (Heikkinen 12.3.2002, interview), o Example (Google Wikipedia 3.9.2008) Never place the reference outside the sentence! Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 27

28 Presentation I – Research Plan Briefly explain the starting point and preliminaries of your thesis General research problem Case company and the particular problem(s) Justify your plan for the thesis Objectives Research methods, models and data material Your chosen research methodology and theoretical setting Expected scientific and managerial contribution of your thesis Outline a preliminary schedule and work plan So the first presentation covers your research plan or an early version of the thesis Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 28

29 Presentation II – Results of the Thesis Give before handing in your thesis – helps in finalizing text Repeat your: research problem, objectives and methodology Report your findings Emphasize theoretical contribution and results of practical implementation! Theoretical contributions o explaining causal relationships o general framework, ”grounded theory”, etc. Empirical results o more efficient operating model o cost savings, better service levels etc. Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 29

30 Thesis supervision On the supervisor’s role personal guidance sessions typically 3-6 times usually supervisors also grade the thesis may not attend any meetings with case company Before a meeting with your supervisor(s): always submit the latest version of the thesis (or at early stage, a description of the research problem and/or a plan for completion) email it at least 3 working days before meeting always follow the formatting instructions – from the very start! make sure your name, date and the title of your thesis appear in the file – and also in the name of the file We comment only on work that follows these guidelines! Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 30

31 Grading of the Thesis The reviewers read and evaluate the final Master’s thesis The grading is based on: Specification of research problem and objectives Review and use of existing research and references The use and development of theory/ framework Use and justification of research methodology & data collection Novelty and importance of results, discussion and conclusions Integrity, thoroughness and insightfulness of the study Independence of research, criticism exercised by the student Consistency and readability, proper writing and layout Spring 2015 M.Sc. Thesis Seminar 31

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