Introduction to Thesis Work
Topic Idea Development
Implementation and Reporting
Presentation, Submitting and Assessment
During studies preceding the thesis students will become conversant with the principles of research and development activity linked to nursing and sports instruction. The preparatory studies support students’ development of critical and scientific thinking, provide students with sufficient content based knowledge, methodological and research skills and sufficient knowledge of research and development activities linked to the topic. Such basic skills include the ability to restrict the problem area, to use sources critically, to use written and spoken communication effectively and take part in reflective learning. Students will also learn to study in open learning environments, which includes having the skill to find, study and use current information critically. The preparatory studies last until the fourth semester according to the curriculum, after work on the actual thesis itself starts with the idea seminar.
Students start their thesis work process at the Ideas Seminar. The aim of this seminar is to help students find a thesis topic that supports their optional professional studies. Students should plan their supervised clinical training period, free choice studies and classroom studies with the help of their teachers so that their theses topics are covered. Consequently the thesis is a means of developing specific professional skills and it also benefits work.
The Ideas Seminar is a forum where a group of students, thesis co-ordinators and teacher supervisors (tutor and volunteer teachers) meet. It is also recommended that job or work representatives are present. They could present work based thesis topics and how they are linked to occupational development or on-the-job development projects. During this session teachers present ongoing UAS projects and topics linked to them. If job or work representatives are unable to attend, the thesis co-ordinators present theses topics from the topic bank, that have been commissioned by clients outside the UAS. Theses are completed on the topics and projects presented during the seminar. Students should also be aware of UAS and training research and development strategies and projects. The theses topics can be browsed in the Topic Bank.
The theses topics are considered both from a work place development and student learning point of view, providing an overview of the state of the profession in the region and issues that require development. Collaborative planning involving students, teachers and representatives from work or business creates a foundation on which to start work on the actual thesis itself and motivates students to take the bull by the horns – the thesis is really useful!
During the ideas seminar students have to estimate the amount of work that will be required of them to complete their theses. Students and teachers should discuss the timing of optional courses in relation to the thesis process and students will require supervision in time management. Students must understand the logistics how their studies progress. While completing their thesis students can complete free choice courses that cover the same issues (compare PEP – personal education plan). This widens and deepens knowledge of content relevant to the thesis. Students also receive supervision during their supervised clinical training period. It is useful if students can complete their theses while training within the commissioning party’s working community because the issues covered in the thesis are easier to learn on-the-job and this in turn eases the progress of the whole thesis process. In this case it is also easier to organise peer group supervision sessions and to manage time.
Students should select their thesis topic on the basis of the projects and issues presented during the ideas seminar. Students receive contact teaching from the thesis co-ordinator to aid topic selection. The thesis can be carried out alone, in pairs or in groups of three. If the thesis is to be done I a group, each student in the group must demonstrate his/her knowledge and skills. During topic selection students are entitled to supervision from teachers, the clinical training supervisor, work-based experts, fellow students and by independently studying relevant literature and research. The teacher co-ordinator and/or the supervisor (if already known), the commissioning party and the student then discuss the topic. The aim of this discussion is to clarify the aims, significance and schedule of the thesis.
When the thesis is commissioned by a business or working community, the commissioning party appoints the thesis supervisor.
The UAS also appoints a supervisor. If the thesis is part of a project, the supervisor is usually the teacher/person responsible for the whole project. The supervisor is usually appointed according to the content/issues covered in the thesis. If the thesis supervisor if someone other than an optional studies teacher, the students themselves must ensure that their thesis also supports their optional professional studies. In this case it is necessary to plan and check personal education plans in co-operation with the teacher supervisor, the students involved and the optional professional studies teacher(s).
Students should talk with their fellow students and ask someone to be their peer (peer partner) until the thesis has been completed. (See Peer Supervision)
The teacher co-ordinator writes a thesis progress schedule that lasts until the seventh semester, which students should be aware of when compiling their study plans. Teachers should also take the thesis schedule into account in their own planning (to attend presentations, to avoid travel etc when presentations are scheduled). The co-ordinating teacher should inform teachers and library staff of the whole thesis schedule.
After the ideas seminar the author or the thesis must write a topic analysis and present it at the topic seminar. The topic analysis should be recorded on the thesis model template. The teacher co-ordinator, thesis supervisor, commissioning party and the student group must attend the presentation. Students must attend all topic seminars – a 100% attendance rate is required. Each student must also listen to at least two theses and do an information search on the topic that should be reported in conjunction with the topic analysis. If students do not have sufficient information retrieval skills, they must attend an information retrieval course organised by the UAS library.
Students can work independently with aid of well-managed supervision. Students/groups are responsible for requesting supervision and the supervision session is presided over by both the teacher supervisor and the commissioning party. You should prepare carefully for each supervision session. For each session you must provide a copy of your written work and a list of questions and issues well in advance that you would like to discuss during the session. During the first session you will discuss thesis procedure and the duties and responsibilities (see also peer supervision) involved in the thesis process. If the thesis has been commissioned or if it is part of a project you should carefully plan the co-operation and meetings that you will require to complete your thesis successfully.
Before the planning seminars the teacher co-ordinator holds classes concerning the seminars. During these sessions you will have a feedback discussion concerning your topic analysis and seminar and you will also discuss your thesis plan. You will also receive feedback on your topic analysis information retrieval assignment and on how to write your thesis.
Students must write a thesis plan according to UAS instructions and it must be presented during the planning seminar that all students must attend (100% attendance required). Your teacher co-ordinator will also provide group supervision and you must also attend at least one presentation of a complete thesis.
To complete and present your thesis plan you need to have successfully accomplished all studies that support your thesis to ensure that you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out work on your thesis.
After the planning seminar, the commissioning party, teacher co-ordinator and teacher supervisor will permit you to complete your thesis according to issues discussed during the seminar. You may also be asked to add to or alter your plan if necessary.
When your thesis plan has been approved you may apply in writing for permission to gather material for your thesis (if your thesis requires such permission). You also need to make a commissioning agreement if your thesis has been commissioned. The commissioning party together with the author of the thesis/group of authors complete the commissioning agreement. You must provide a copy of the agreement for your supervisor and the commissioning party. You should record that you have made a commissioning agreement in your thesis follow-up form.
You should complete your thesis according to the approved thesis plan. If you have make many significant changes to your plan you will have to discuss with your supervisor and the commissioning party whether a new plan should be made.
You will complete your thesis under supervision though you will do most of the actual work independently. You are expected to find the relevant literature, carry out interviews, conduct surveys and questionnaires etc. and gather material. You are also expected to analyse and interpret results of your surveys and questionnaires, evaluate outcomes, test products, assess processes and to record issues that will be included in your thesis. Written records should be kept using the thesis model template.
Before your thesis is published the teacher who will co-ordinate the final touches to your thesis and the maturity test, will also hold a classes on these issues. You will gain a detailed overview of the maturity test, poster and how to record your thesis in writing during the Academic Writing course.
You must provide the teacher co-ordinator, teacher supervisor, commissioning party and peer with a written copy of your thesis. You must also provide one copy for the audience in an agreed location. On the day after you have submitted the presentation version of your thesis you must submit a poster to a location the teacher co-ordinator will announce.
You will then present/make public you complete or almost complete thesis in a location chosen/planned by you. An almost complete thesis means that each chapter of the written version is more or less done and contains written text as well as the abstract. All parts of the thesis should be more or less complete. If you are not sure whether your thesis can be considered complete or whether it is ready for presentation, discuss the matter with your supervisor.
The following procedures should be observed when informing others of your thesis presentation event: a) the student must send an invitation to the organisation where he/she has collected information for the thesis. If this information has been obtained elsewhere (not in the commissioning party’s organisation or for the commissioning party) b) the marketing co-ordinator will inform the media and will announce the presentation event in current events on the Net, C) the teacher co-ordinator will inform student groups and staff during school meetings and d) teaching staff will inform whoever the presentation may concern during supervision sessions. If the timetable has to be changed the student must inform the parties in points a and b. It is recommended that you present (make public) your thesis at the work place of the commissioning party.
The emphasis of the thesis presentation, publication event (depending on the commission) is on content and discussion of the outcomes. You should also emphasise any changes and developments that your thesis has brought about. Discussion of other issues such as language, structures and appearance will be kept within sensible limits. The presentation is simultaneously a final supervision session after which students are allowed to make any required/demanded corrections. After the presentation your thesis will not be graded, however your supervisors will state whether your thesis has been approved in its current state or whether it will require any corrections.
The responsibility of your peer partner, the chair, supervisor, commissioning party and the audience is generally the same as during the thesis seminars.
After your presentation you have to complete a maturity test under exam conditions. Your co-ordinator will agree a date for your maturity test (three dates) at the latest before the publication events. The first date is usually just after the final publication event and the second and third date are normal retake or upgrading exam dates. The 2 – 3 headings for the maturity test are compiled by the co-ordinator in co-operation with a language teacher.
You must have your abstract checked by a specifically appointed teacher before submitting your thesis.
You must submit your two loose-leaf copies of your thesis on an agreed date to your co-ordinator and supervisor. When submitting your thesis you must also provide a written assessment of your own thesis, a written assessment of a thesis that you have evaluated as peer partner (if you have not already returned it) and the Author’s/Authors’ Permission for Public Use of Thesis form to your supervisor. You must also save your thesis on Electronic library Theseus according to instructions (http://www.theseus.fi/en/ohjeet.html). When you have completed all the required parts of the thesis process you must return your thesis follow-up form to your co-ordinator.
Students are responsible for binding their thesis for themselves or their partners in co-operation. You can do this via the student union office (Kamo). You must also send a bound copy of your thesis to the commissioning body according to the commissioning agreement.
The co-ordinator, supervisor, peer partner, you yourself and the commissioning party will provide a written assessment of your thesis. For further information on evaluation and assessment please see background to assessment.
- Your completed thesis is available from the library and the Kaktus database.
- Completed theses are announced when appropriate in the Kajaani UAS Viisari magazine and professional magazines.
- Grade 5 theses are published in UAS journals.
- Theses awarded excellent grades are sent to the national Thesis competition.
- Completed theses are used/mentioned during field/school-specific meetings – issues for development and successful experiences.