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Master´s degree guide for thesis writing

1.2 Characteristics of a thesis

The Master’s thesis is a development task or applied research based on previously taken courses, previous theoretical research on the topic and knowledge acquired in working life. The thesis aims at solving a problem or a challenge occurred in working life. The purpose is to generate, produce and develop competence for the needs of developing local working life as well as for more general development needs. At its best, a Master’s thesis produces new interdisciplinary information and know-how as well as develops working life and the field in question in an innovative way. In Master’s studies students’ competences develop right from the beginning of the studies.

Students writing their Master’s thesis take a research and development approach to the thesis.  Master’s thesis can be characterized as a development project with a research perspective.

The information produced in Master’s theses of universities of applied sciences can be understood through the following levels: 

  • Descriptive level (knowledge in practice), in which the focus is on describing the development task as well as the purpose and the process itself.
  • Explanatory level (knowledge of practice), in which the focus is on analysis based on theoretical knowledge, methodology and accurate reporting.
  • Development level (knowledge for practice), in which the focus is on developing work / work community as well as the field in question and producing new information.

A Master’s thesis should cover all these levels. In other words, mere description of the development task is not enough. What is essential is the development actions taken as well as analyzing the theoretical foundations of those actions and evaluating the development task. This is carried out through careful documentation and reporting of the process.