Writing the final thesis

Every degree programme at TAMK includes the requirement to write a final thesis. The thesis is an independent, self-contained learning project. For the bachelor’s degree programmes, the thesis is worth 15 credits (ECTS cr.), except for the midwifery and nursing degree programmes, where the thesis is 20 credits in scope. The master’s thesis is worth 30 cr. The grade for the thesis is shown separately on the diploma which the student receives on graduation.

The whole process of carrying out a thesis project varies somewhat from one degree programme to another. Students may be required to take part in some contact teaching and seminars, in addition to receiving some personal guidance from a thesis supervisor. The major part of the work, however, is always done independently by the student. Most theses are produced by individual students, but pair work and even group work is possible in some cases, if the scope of the task is large enough. Working methods and requirements are specified in more detail in the regulations for each degree programme.

The thesis topic must be related to the student’s degree programme or field of specialisation. It should help the student to develop into a professional in his/her chosen area of expertise. Thus, the thesis should be closely linked to the needs of working life and should aim to develop in some way the practices, knowledge or skill-base of the professional field which the student intends to enter. Ideally, the thesis is commissioned by a body outside TAMK. Topics are often found during the student’s practical training placement, or in connection with a research, development and innovation (RD&I) project run by TAMK.

The learning goals of the thesis process include developing the student’s ability to search for and access information from different sources, critically analyse and select the information most relevant for the particular purpose, solve problems, draw conclusions, build a logical argument, analyse and develop work practices, and communicate clearly both orally and in writing. The thesis process gives the student opportunities to deepen his/her special expertise and to create contacts with professionals working in the field of interest.

A more detailed description of the thesis process, including instructions about the form and structure of the written report, is provided in the Quality Manual Compass, Section titled Thesis. The forms which have to be filled in at different stages of the process can be found from the same chapter. It would also be useful to study the Thesis Report Guide and the Thesis Template.

Some degree programmes at TAMK run courses and workshops dealing with the thesis process for their own students.

The English language abstract

TAMK theses always include abstracts in Finnish and in English (or another foreign language). The structure of the English abstract is the same as for the Finnish one, but the English version can be shorter than the Finnish – approximately 150-200 words in length. Both versions should cover similar content. The abstract is a concise, self-contained summary in English of the thesis report. It must be understandable in its own terms, without reference to the report itself. The abstract appears in the report on the page following the Finnish version; all the same information shown in the page headings for the Finnish version appears in English above the English version. At the bottom of the page, the same key words and expressions appear in translation.

Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Degree Programme in …
Option of …

 
Where there is a difference in spelling or vocabulary between British and American English, British English should be used (e.g. BrE organisation vs. AmE organization). In the title, the main words (nouns, main verbs, adjectives) should begin with a capital letter.

Waste Management Plan for the Hospitality Trade Fair in 2009
Promoting Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing in Secondary Education

 
Where structure is concerned, the abstract should follow the following pattern:

1) Introduction: Objective, Purpose
2) Approach/ Methodology: data collection and data analysis
3) Results/ Findings
4) Discussion/ Conclusions

 
The language of abstracts

Abstracts are written in so-called “plain English”. The language must be neutral and impersonal in style, concise, and clear. It is best to write the abstract directly in English rather than translate the Finnish version; word-for-word translations often sound clumsy, over-complex and contrived. Over-long sentences should also be avoided; they are not reader-friendly and often need to be read more than once in order to be fully understood.

Use of tenses

The imperfect (past) tense is used for the main body of the abstract, but for presenting conclusions and making generalisations, the present tense is preferred.

1) Objective of the thesis (imperfect)
The objective of this study was to gather information about…
The purpose of this thesis was to collect information on…

 

2) Approach/ Methodology (imperfect or present)
This study was carried out as a project.
The data were collected from 17 paediatric patients and 29 parents.
The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
The theoretical section explores…
The empirical part consists of…

 

3) Results/ Findings (imperfect or present)
The respondents stated that…
The majority of participants believed that…
These results suggest that …

 

4) Discussion/ Conclusions (present)
The findings indicate that…
Further research is required to…
Furthermore, preventive measures should be adopted to reduce all types of abuse…
To help prevent obesity, strategies are needed to decrease adolescents’ sedentary leisure time…

 

Accuracy

Abstracts are written in an impersonal style. The use of the passive voice is thus very common, because it allows personal references (I, me, mine, etc.) to be avoided.

More attention has been paid to…
The data were gathered by conducting a survey among customers…
The data were analysed by applying…
Different methods were compared…

 
In order to keep the style formal, abbreviations are avoided: doesn’t = does not; didn’t = did not, etc.

There is no comma before the word that in sentences such as:

The results show that the respondents were satisfied with the service of company X.

 
To show possession, an apostrophe and s (so-called s-genitive) are used with people; so-called of-genitive is used with things or ideas:

The customers’ opinions gave interesting information for the new menu of the restaurant.

 
More information about writing an abstract in English:

Quick Help for Writing an Abstract