Master's thesis

At the termination of their Master’s course, all students will have to discuss and present their thesis to an Examining Committee. The student will have to present an overview of the knowledge they have obtained from the extensive literature search they will have performed during their studies. It will take into consideration the evidence found as well as gaps in the knowledge, all put into context of your thesis project. It should be the product of research and your own critical thinking. Your work must be an original contribution from a scientific and a methodological point of view and there must be non-plagiarism. Students must discuss and ask approval of the topic chosen for the Master’s thesis from their supervisor (relatore). The supervisor has a central function in the process of preparation and elaboration of the student’s thesis and they will offer all necessary assistance to the graduating student. They will also judge whether the thesis can be written within the time limit and the academic limits, which are set out in the regulations. Students may only choose their topic from the scientific sectors already present in the “Percorso formativo”. The number of pages of the Master’s thesis should be between 100 and 150, each must be circa 2.000 characters page (including spaces, tables, figures, charts, diagrams, footnotes, etc.), for a total of circa 200/300 thousand characters. The students are expected to work on the elaboration of their thesis from a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 10 months. Guidelines - How to write a master's thesisStructure your thesis Writing a thesis requires that you follow certain academic conventions. A thesis contains distinct sections, each serving separate functions.Title page A title page provides the reader with practical information about your thesis:

  • Author’s name
  • Department name
  • Name of programme
  • Name of supervisor
  • Name of assistant supervisor
  • Date and place of submission

A good title reflects as briefly and precisely as possible, what the thesis is about including. The title may contain a subtitle that amplifies or explains the title.Abstract The purpose of the abstract is to help the reader to quickly ascertain the purpose and conclusions of your thesis or in other words to understand why your thesis is important. An abstract presents your problem formulation, methods and main results and describes how the thesis makes a difference in your field. An abstract is rarely more than half to one page long.Foreword The foreword is optional and can be used to acknowledge those who have contributed to your work as well as to explain why you have chosen this particular topic; what was your motivation and how did you get interested? Typically, the foreword is from a half to one page in length.Abbreviations A list of abbreviations is usually optional, but of great help to the reader. It contains all the significant abbreviations used in your thesis.Table of contents Table of contents gives the reader a quick overview of your work. The index shows first level headings and page numbers for each section.Introduction Your introduction presents the justification for the project and includes much of the same content as you addressed in your synopsis. The section starts to present an overview of the knowledge you have obtained from the extensive literature search you have performed during your study. It summarizes the evidence you have found as well as gaps in the knowledge, all put into context of your project. Based on this you present your problem formulation and/or hypothesis and your specific objectives to the reader. You can also say that is a verbal “road map” that describe where you want to go (objective), which difference your work will make (hypothesis) and to whom.Methods This section describes the method or methods you have used to answer the question(s) raised in your problem formulation. Your information concerning methods should both allow the reader to assess the validity of your results.Conclusions The conclusions section is where you summarize your answer(s) to the questions posed in your problem formulation. What is the strongest statement you can make based on your findings?Recommendations or perspectives The final section involves the last part of your academic performance; how to launch the results and conclusions into the future. What are the perspectives of your results and conclusions.References The list of references or bibliography contains a formalized description of all the sources, e.g. books, journal articles, reports, etc. that are cited directly in the text of your thesis. You should apply the referencing system suggested/required by your curriculum or thesis guidelines suggested by your supervisor. Make sure all references cited in the thesis appear in the list of references.Appendices In addition to the regular report sections described in the previous modules, you may need to add an appendices section. The appendices section typically includes various materials or data that lend support to your text in the previous sections, but are too lengthy or detailed to be incorporated in these. All appendices should be numbered and directly referenced in the relevant text section.Discussion The discussion is the key section of your thesis. The purpose of the discussion is to explain the central results and potential implications of your study. You have to discuss and defend your thesis argument by systematically relating your problem formulation and empirical findings to the existing body of knowledge and/or theory as outlined by your literature review.Layout The different sections of the thesis need to follow the same configuration to ensure a professional appearance. Keep a standard layout (font size, line spacing, display of table/figure etc.) across the entire document – including the appendices, if possible.

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