Tampere
21 May, Tuesday
4° C

The library of essays of Proakatemia

Writing the bachelor’s thesis



Kirjoittanut: Flóra Lang - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 11 minuuttia.

Written by Flora Lang and Ariel Cohen

  1. Introduction 

 

The final thesis of bachelor studies sounds like a scary thing to begin. It is a massive undertaking that not only needs to be comprehensive but also factually sound, well-structured, and clearly written. It can be an added challenge for most, to write it in a foreign language, which in our case is English. In the following paragraphs, we are going to cover how to plan a bachelor’s thesis, research it and later write it. The goal of the essay is to become more confident at writing academically, better understand the thesis process, analyze and study past theses, and practice writing together as a pair.  

 

  1. Planning and scheduling  

 

Planning a thesis is comparable to managing a significant project what requires a careful organization, foresight and structured approach.  Like every succesful project requires a  comprehensive plan, thesis is no different. Planning phase is like laying a foundation of a building, it sets the direction for the whole project and usually it starts from well defined research question.  

 

Finding the topic is not an easy task and it might be a major threshold for many.  Coming up with something interesting, innovative and relevant to the field of studies can cause anxiety, as the deadlines are closing in. Finding a relevant topic for the thesis might be even the hardest task in the process but on the other hand it is perhaps one of the most important part. When writing about something interesting, the task tends to get easier and more enjoyable. Overall, the quality of the work will be better.  

 

The first phase of the process also involves identifying a suitable research advisor and crafting a research plan. It is suggested to go through potential tasks and challenges that may arise during discussions with the advisor. (Enago n.d)  

 

In Proakatemia, the thesis is often suggested to be done in either spring, or autumn so it would not overlap with other essays and projects. This requires a planned schedule to keep things in control and managing the deadlines. Scheduling keeps everything under control to make sure the goals are achieved in time. When done properly, It allows room for contingency and other neccissary tasks in fast-paced life. 

 

 

Scheduling provides a structured plan, encourages discipline, and ensures effective time management. It helps in resource allocation, research delays, and promotes efficency. By prioritizing scheduling, writers can overcome the complexities of thesis. There will be many thresholds during the process and it is important to prepare for them. (Mindtools n.d) https://www.mindtools.com/ak2ljl6/effective-scheduling 

 

 

2.1 Overcoming problems 

 

“ I’m having difficulties with thesis advisor” “Hard to start writing” “Text that i’m writing doesn’t seem good” “The stress is affecting my sleep” 

 

Thesis writing is a formidable task for students, often accompanied by many challenges. Some of the common problems include sleeping problems, procrastination, stress, and writing blocks. These obstacles can slow down the progress and impact the quality of the final work. (Lipson 2005) 

 

2.3. Coping with stress 

 

Stress is a mind’s reaction to pressure, particularly when dealing with the psychological pressures of research, writing, and managing a big project independently. These factors called as stressors are inherent to the process, and while some level of stress can be manageable, excessive stress is destructive.  

 

Rather than attempting to eliminate stress entirely, it’s more productive to focus on reducing its intensity and negative effects. Maintaining a mindset that views challenges as manageable obstacles, rather than unconquerable 

barriers, helps by lot. By considering stressors as temporary feelings associated with specific tasks rather than permanent, universal problems, it is possible to develop strategies to manage them effectively and maintain productivity despite their presence. 

 

According to studies, reframing stress into optimism leads to more productive work. It’s giving a sense of hope and prepares to solve problems that arise. Mishandled stress can easily spiral into a destructive mindset, where individuals feel powerless to change their circumstances. This pessimistic attitude can continue the cycle of stress and by that, effect the end result. Reframing stress as temporary moments, encourages students to actively seek solutions and look into past experiences for gaining confidence and certainty.  

 

 

To combat pessimism, and the associated stress, it’s reccomended to approach work differently. Breaking down tasks into realistic, concrete goals, which are more manageable and less overwhelming. By transforming large, vague goals into solvable problems, you can make significant progress and reduce anxiety. Additionally, celebrating accomplishments along the way and giving yourself credit, rather than suffering on difficulties or failures. Reward yourself for completing tasks, whether it’s with small treats for weekly achievements or larger rewards for major milestones. (Lipson 2015) 

Procrastination 

 

Every one of us delays some things sometimes but some face more severe problems. Having difficulties with completing crucial work and finding it hard to manage even small tasks will cause issues during the process.  

 

Procrastination is self-harm. When procrastinating, we are completely aware about it and it makes us feel bad. It is fundamentally irrational phenomenon where individuals are knowingly delaying tasks despite understanding the negative outcome of it.  

 

According to Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield, inability to manage negative moods around tasks is a key factor driving procrastination. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, or boredom often accompany tasks seen as challenging or unpleasant, leading individuals to procrastinate as a means of avoiding these emotions. However, this avoidance only perpetuates the cycle of procrastination, ultimately increasing negative moods and stress. (Lieberman 2019) 

 

The immediate relief from procrastinating makes it especially dangerous. In the present, putting off a hard task aside and agree to continue it tomorrow, provides relief. When we’re rewarded for something, we usually repeat it, and that makes it a chronic habit. Procrastination does not only slow the productivity but also might cultivate chronic stress, low life satisfaction, depression and anxiety, just to name few.  

 

Our brains perceive our future selves as strangers, leading us to prioritize immediate gratification over long-term goals. Procrastination, therefore, becomes a means of avoiding negative emotions associated with tasks, even at the expense of future consequences. 

 

The root cause of procrastination is emotions, not productivity. Solution for it doesn’t include reading about self-control and learning new methods for it. The solution is to learn managing our emotions in a new way. To combat procrastination, it’s important to find a reward that addresses present challenges without compromising our future well-being. Two effective approaches are self-forgiveness and self-compassion. Research demonstrates that forgiving past procrastination reduces its recurrence and enhances productivity. Similarly, practicing self-compassion reduces stress, while simultaneously increasing motivation and personal growth. 

 

Also, like in coping with stress, reframing tasks in a positive light can be a powerful tool against procrastination. Reflecting on past successes or imagine the benefits of completing a task can provide the necessary motivation to overcome procrastination. By approaching challenges with acceptance and kindness, rather than dwelling on past mistakes, we can change a mindset favourable to productivity and well-being. (Lieberman 2019) 

 

2.4. Writer’s block  

 

Writer’s block is a condition, where the author hits a brick wall. It is challenging to get anything on the paper and the brain does not know how to proceed with writing.  

It has the same fundamentals than in procrastinating but can be treated differently. 

 

Freewriting is often proved helpful against writer’s block and it involves writing rapidly, without interruption, for a set period, typically ten to fifteen minutes. The idea is to keep moving and not worry about staying on topic, spelling, or grammar. By bypassing self-editing, freewriting helps break through habits and can lead to unexpected insights and language. (Lipson 2015) 

Freewriting is a low-pressure method for dealing with writer’s block, as there is no room for procrastination. Simply start writing down whatever comes to mind and keep going without stopping. Since there are no criteria for judgment or perfectionism, individuals can freely express their thoughts without constraint. 

 

Some experts recommend a technique called “looping,” where individuals review their earlier freewriting, highlight ideas or phrases they like, and use them for a second round of freewriting. This process makes the ideas better bit by bit. 

Prewriting on the other hand allows you to delay the process to writers block. During prewriting, you put down many ideas and make connections without worrying about structure. By the end of this process, you’ll have most of the content for a draft, even though you haven’t written it formally. Consistently prewriting as you research and read can lead to smoother writing outcomes. (Lipson 2015) 

  1. Bachelor’s thesis 

 

Bachelor’s thesis is one of the final work of a student in bachelor’s of business administration. It is a research paper for students to find a problem and independently (or as a pair) work on it, using different research methods acquired throughout the studies as well as the thesis process depending on the relevancy. “The objective is that every student learns to gather information independently, analyse data critically, solve problems, reason and debate, study and develop work practices and communicate in writing as well as orally in an articulate manner”. In TAMK 4 types of theses can be written by business students: research, practice-based, portfolio-based, and diary-based. The students although working by themselves, are supported by their supervisors in the process. (Tuni n.d.) 

 

  1. 3. Research

 

3.1 Research question 

 

The most important part of writing is to know what one’s writing is about. The research question will be one of the first elements of the thesis, both when it comes to writing and reading. The problem at hand needs to be clear and specific. The whole thesis will follow the flow of the statement, to get closer to a solution. “The researcher does not actually solve the problem themselves by conducting the research but provides new knowledge that can be used towards the resolution. “ (Dissertation Center n.d.) A problem statement will give the direction of where the essay or thesis is heading, but coming up with additional questions to answer will steer the process even closer to success, as they help find the best sources of interest (Warburton 2006, 33).  

 

3.2 Research methods 

 

It is important to know that the methods of research and the aim of the thesis will vary according to not only the skillset of the writer but also the subject area. (Lipson 2005, 91-92) For (us) business students, it is going to be more data and statistics-based with the use of theories. For history students, it is going to be more about reading original texts, looking and analyzing manifests, and of course the heavy use of primary sources.  (Lipson 2005, 91) 

 

According to Lipson (2005, 89) research is something that the thesis writer needs to do in parallel with reading and writing. Most would think that research comes before the writing, instead, he suggests that they are balanced throughout the process. Writing will be part of the research, and research is part of the writing. Once we are aware of this, we can start creating a research strategy.  

The research strategy consists of many components, that are integral, however, the extent of their use will vary according to the route of the thesis (duplication, generalization, extension) the relevancy of various data, the practicality of the data, and construction of the text according to the writer. (Laerd dissertation nd.) 

A good thesis research will use many different sources, not just contextually but methodically as well. The same sources can be interpreted differently and different sources can provide opposing viewpoints and theories to create a more holistic picture and understanding of the topic, which is the goal of a bachelor’s thesis. Once the topic is understood, we can “build on its findings”.(Lipson 2005, 89) 

 

  1. Primary reading and research. 
  1. Secondary reading material and research. This can be more niche data related to the topic.  
  1. Finding missing questions, that were not answered or considered.  
  1. Finding debates regarding the topic, such as differences of opinion between experts or data diversion.  

(Lipson 2005, 90) 

 

3.3. Data gathering and collection 

3.3.1 Qualitative and quantitative data gathering 

Qualitative and quantitative research methods refer to ways of collecting data. While quantitative research gathers numbers and other specific and measurable information, qualitative research focuses on non-measurable data.  

Quantitative data is collected through surveys, reports, experiments, etc. that allow the researcher to draw conclusions, predict and compare results. This type of data-gathering method can give objective and specific results based on a large number of answers, however, it does not support a surprising and broader understanding, interpretation, and context of the topic. Analyzing the data collected with this method is easier, and it can be nicely visualized on charts, graphs and diagrams.  

Qualitative data is collected through interviews, personal observations, focus groups, etc. The findings of qualitative research allow us to get a more comprehensive understanding of the topic, however it is more subjective, as it most probably has a smaller number of participants with “personal bias that are hard to manage”. Analyzing the data collected with this method is more difficult and dependent on the research question, however, it can also be visualized, for example, words used most in the answers.  

(Grand Canyon University 2023) 

 

3.3.2. Case studies 

 

As Ryan (2006, 71) mentions there are three main methodologies of data collection – case studies, surveys and experiments. In this chapter, we are going to explore case studies further.  

Case studies are a deeper investigation into specific aspects of the thesis. According to Schell (1992), case studies focus on current events to understand instances contextually and comprehensively. A case study aims to examine one or a few cases to create a comprehensive understanding and explore connections, create hypotheses, or write up tests. When conducting case studies the researcher will focus on methods of implementation in the case and the reasoning behind the implementation, while observing real-life and current occurrences. If the research demands a different approach, case studies might not be the most relevant and useful data-collecting method, so another one shall be chosen. Schell mentions 3 categories of case studies: exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory. It is important to note, that there is no exclusivity when it comes to using the categories and they can be implemented simultaneously.  

 

  • Exploratory (traditional) case study focuses on a specific instance, within a broader framework. 
  • Descriptive case study focuses on the information and detailed explanation of the case to create a broad understanding.  
  • Explanatory case study will try to isolate some of the elements within the case, such as underlying reasons, mechanisms, and other factors.  

 

3.3.3. Designing a case study 

To design a case study, there are many things to take into consideration, however there are some essential components. In this example, I am going to come up with a design to, to figure out what an excellent (grade 5) bachelor’s thesis should look like, using the 5 main components mentioned by Yin (2009, 27-35). 

Study questions: What are the essential components and elements of writing a thesis, that is graded 5? How do certain elements contribute to such an outcome? 

Proposition: Based on a hypothesis, what specific elements of the thesis will result in an excellent thesis? Originality, coherence, contribution, etc. 

Unit of analysis: I am going to use a thesis that I know, got a 5, and another one that I know, got a worse grade.  

Linking data to the proposition: I am going to review the data (the 2 theses) and put them against my original proposition to see if there is a conclusion I could draw. 

Criteria for interpreting the findings: I am creating benchmarks to review the thesis, based on my propositions to be able to analyze my findings.  

Finally, I summarize my findings and propose options for moving forward. Is there anything else left to research in the field? Do I have recommendations and a design for additional studies regarding this topic? 

  

  

3.4. Limitations and delimitations 

3.4.1. Limitations 

The limitations of a study refer to constraints that are often beyond the researcher’s control, such as research design, statistical models, funding, or other factors. These limitations can impact the study’s design, results, and conclusions, and thus they should be acknowledged in the thesis (and other research papers). Examples of limitations are limited access to relevant participants, for example geographically; narrow results; time constraints; and the inability to repeat qualitative research or create reasoning based on the quantitative analysis. It’s crucial to clearly state these limitations to prevent the research results’ misinterpretation. (Theofanidis & Fountouki 2018,156) 

 

3.4.2. Delimitations 

Delimitations are set by the author themselves to limit their scope of research, so “delimitations are mainly concerned with the study’s theoretical background, objectives, research questions, variables under study and study sample”. Delimitations, just like limitations should be mentioned and briefly reasoned. (Theofanidis et al. 2018,157) 

Conclusion 

 

Writing a thesis involves several important steps that require careful attention and dedication. It all begins with defining a clear research question, which serves as a quide throughout the entire process. This question gives the direction of the research and helps focus the inquiry. Once the question is established, researchers then choose the best research methods suited to their particular topic and objectives as it lays the groundwork for how data will be gathered, analyzed, and interpreted.  

 

Throughout this process, research and writing go hand in hand, with each informing and influencing the other. As data is gathered and analyzed, researchers go deeper into their topic and figure out conclusions. Additionally, case studies often play a significant role in this wit, offering an opportunity to explore specific instances within a broader context, thus providing richer insights into complex phenomena. However, it’s important for researchers to acknowledge the inherent limitations of their study, ensuring transparency and maintaining the integrity of their work. In essence, writing a thesis is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor that not only deepens our understanding of the world but also hones critical thinking and research skills essential for academic and professional growth. 

 

Sources 

Warburton, N. 2006. The Basics of Essay Writing. Published  

https://dissertation.laerd.com/process-stage6.php 

Ryan, Anne B. 2006 Methodology: Collecting Data. In: Researching and Writing your thesis: a guide for postgraduate students. MACE: Maynooth Adult and Community Education, pp. 70-89. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/297009539.pdf 

Lipson, C. 2005. How to Write a BA Thesis. A Practical Guide from Your First Ideas to Your Finished Paper. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 

Lieberman. C. 2019. Why do you procrastinate. Read on 25.2.2024 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/smarter-living/why-you-procrastinate-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-self-control.html 

Grand Canyon Univeristy. 2023.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research: What’s the Difference? https://www.gcu.edu/blog/doctoral-journey/qualitative-vs-quantitative-research-whats-difference

Enago Academy. 2021. How to plan a research thesis. Read on 20.2.2024 https://www.enago.com/academy/how-to-plan-a-research-thesis/ 

Mindtools. N.d. Effective scheduling. Read on 20.2.2024 https://www.mindtools.com/ak2ljl6/effective-scheduling 

Dissertation Center n.d. Problem Statement. Problem Statement Overview. https://resources.nu.edu/c.php?g=1006886&p=7294692  

Schell, C. 1992. The Value of the Case Study as a Research Strategy. Manchester Business School. Read on 17.2.2024. http://www.psyking.net/HTMLobj-3844/Value_of_Case_Study_as_a_Research_Strategy.pdf 

Yin, R. K. 2009. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. SAGE Publications. https://books.google.fi/books?id=FzawIAdilHkC 

Theofanidis, D. & Fountouki, A. 2019. Limitations And Delimitations In The Research Process. Perioperative nursing (GORNA), 155–162.  

http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2552022 

Tampere University. n.d. Thesis at TAMK (student’s guide). Retrieved on 19.2.2024. 

https://www.tuni.fi/en/students-guide/handbook/tamk/studying-0/thesis/thesis-tamk-students-guide#thesis 

  

  

 

 

Post a Comment