M&IB Master’s Thesis SeminarSession #1 - Introduction Mikko Vesa (Management) & Alexei Koveshnikov (IB) Fall 2014 12.9.2014
Today’s agenda • Introductions and practicalities • What is the Master’s Thesis work about? • What does a good IB Thesis look like? • What’s the process like? • What do you need to do next? • Next steps -
Introductions Who are you? What’s your (provisional) topic? Initial feelings about the Thesis process?
Thesis seminar - 3 elements Purpose: To support you in writing your thesis • 3 joint compulsory seminars 12.9., 19.9. & 26.9. @ 12:15-14:45 in G-109 • Understanding of the process • Guided first steps – assignments that will help you getting started and progress One-on-one supervision – individual attention • 6 months of active support, what, where & how decided between supervisor & student • Good idea to always book next meeting! Progress seminars 7.11., 14.11. or 21.11. @12:00-15:00 in G-109 • Compulsory for everyone to present once (10 + 20 mins) • Sign up outside Arja’s office starting from October 15th (check if your supervisor can be present) (max. 12 students per group – first come first served!) • Four fellow students to give written feedback (1-2 pages) and one student to act as an opponent
Some clarification There are two types of students: • Degree regulations of 2005 and 2013 2005 & 0 credit units: • you need to attend the first three sessions and complete assignments 1&2 • Unless you want to, you do not need to attend progress seminars and do assignments 3&4 but to be fair, if you do, then you will have to give feedback to others also! 2013 & 6 credit units: • Check the syllabus – you have to do everything!
Joint seminars Introduction to thesis process 12.9. Building a research plan 19.9. Writing, collecting data and presenting 26.9.
Requirements for Master Thesis seminar • Thesis seminar course will be accepted as completed if all compulsory meetings are attended or compensated for; • Exceptionally, the absence of one compulsory meeting can be compensated • Talk / send email to Mikko or Alexei if you need to be absent • Progress seminar cannot be compensated, everyone has to participate! • Submission of thesis for pre-examination to supervisor
Compensation • To compensate you will have to write: • a one page summary for 3 out of 4 pre-selected articles on methodological aspects of doing academic research in M&IB (i.e. 1 page for each article) • Plus a page where you provide your reflections concerning why (or why not) and how the summarized articles can be useful for / applied to your own project • The assignment is evaluated as pass or fail –> You need to pass!
Compensation For everyone: • Eisenhardt, K. (1989). Building Theories from Case Study Research. Academy of Management Review 14(4): 532-550 • Alvesson, M. Kärreman, D. (2007). Constructing Mystery: Empirical Matters in Theory Development. Academy of Management Review 32(4): 1265-1281 AND For Management students additionally: • Gioia, D. Chittipeddi, K. (1991). Sensemaking and Sensegiving in Strategic Change Initiation. Strategic Management Journal 12: 433- 448 OR • Mantere, S. Schildt, H. Sillince, J. (2012). Reversal of Strategic Change. Academy of Management Journal 55(1): 172-196 For IB students additionally: • Welch, C., Piekkari, R., Plakoyiannaki, E., & Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, E. 2011. Theorising from case studies: towards a pluralist future for international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 42: 740-762.
Course website • Master’s thesis seminar syllabus • Rubric & thesis evaluation form https://noppa.aalto.fi/noppa/kurssi/26e99905/etusivu Got questions? Email us or come to see us (by appointment) Mikko: firstname.lastname@example.org Alexei: email@example.com
Why Master’s Thesis? Perhaps the most important part of your studies • Individual work & responsibility • Deep work, getting a taste of academic work Working on a topic that interests / is valuable to you • An enjoyable, personal journey Learning analytical & methodological skills, and critical thinking & argumentation skills -> useful beyond the thesis Your “business card” to the world: Valuable contacts, CV, even future employment -> Make the thesis your top priority!
Topic? Topic relevant for IB – many different topics apply Your own interest is key Topic/contribution does not have to be “entirely novel” • New context, new aspect/perspective, combination of different perspectives, methodological contribution You can still change / modify the topic • Happens often Think about potential data collection & its feasibility right from the start (e.g., where, how, access)
Expectations Work independently! Present and defend ideas using principles of written academic English Solve a research problem by going through the stages of a research process
What does a good Thesis look like? Includes all of these: • Motivation& research gap • Research problem/objective & research problems • Definitions & limitations • Literature review -> your theoretical framework • Research context/data & methodology • Empirical analysis & findings • Conclusions and implications
And… • Presents a coherent argument • Well structured, clearly & concisely written • Well-informed (& well-referenced) AND shows own synthesis/thinking • Rigorous methodology • Provides a contribution • Descriptive -> Explanatory
Assesment Methods and Criteria • Grading 0-5 • Criteria: • Problem setting of the study: the topicality and interest to the scientific and business community; • Contribution and the use of scientific methods; • Presentation and integration of the study; • Style and format of the study; • Research process (e.g. completed within time scheduled) • Participation in the seminar sessions, including presenting, giving feedback and acting as opponent/discussant at the progress seminar
Assignment 1Purpose: to get an idea of what a (good) thesis looks like • Find a (preferably Management or IB and in English) Thesis relevant to your topic/ methods/interests/level of ambition • Analyze & evaluate the thesis • Using the evaluation grid: What was good? What could be improved? • What did you learn from reading this (and other) theses? • 2-3 pages, deadline by email: 18.9. @ 10AM • Library (ground floor) or http://epub.lib.aalto.fi/en/ethesis/
Thesis process in a nutshell Choice of topic & research problem/question formulation Critical literature review / Synthesis of the relevant literature Development of YOUR theoretical/conceptual framework • Empirical work: • Research context & access • Data collection method(s) Data analysis - Methods & presentation of findings Writing of the final thesis
Reality Choice of topic & research problem/question formulation Critical literature review / Synthesis of the relevant literature Development of YOUR theoretical/conceptual framework • Empirical work: • Research context & access • Data collection method(s) Data analysis - Methods & presentation of findings Writing of the final thesis
Not quite sure… NORMAL! “Writing a novel (Thesis!) is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way” E.L. Doctorow
It’s both fun AND frustrating Zero Yes You think you know what you are doing No Yes No You know what you are doing
Tips! IR kick-off session for Master’s Thesis students • A 1-hour IR (information retrieval) session organized by the library • Receives excellent feedback from students • http://lib.aalto.fi/en/information_skills/toolo/kick-off_masters_thesis/
Tips! Keep a research journal! • Develop a habit of reading “with” your journal Not so much for traditional notes But for ideas, insights, things to remember, thinking on paper, drafting figures
Tips! Most typical pitfall No. 1: Getting lost in the (literature) forest!
Remedy A helicopter view! Scan literature first – start broad -> narrow down Get an overview of the field – e.g., mindmap Then start reading in more depth
Tips! Most typical pitfall No. 2: Trying to solve the whole world at once
Remedy Focus! Use a funnel approach
Tips! Most typical pitfall No. 3: Including too much: 15 concepts, 5 theoretical perspectives, 4 frameworks…
Remedy Link everything together into one storyline And guide the reader from start to finish
Next steps Scan different dissertations -> Assignment 1, due 18.9.@10AM Choose a topic and let us knowaboutit sowecouldfindyou a supervisor If you can book a meeting with your supervisor • First one-on-one supervisory meeting straight after the joint sessions • Come to the meeting with your completed assignments & pre-prepared questions! Start scanning the literature -> Mindmap (Assignment #3) • Do I need/want to revise topic? Next joint session 19.9. -> Building a research plan