Hi blog, it’s been a really hectic start of the year!
Exams in all of January, new subjects and continuation of a really big exam in February. That leads me quickly to March. March is the month where the real work of the master thesis goes into the plan. This means one should have an opinion on what you want to write about. There is a big difference in focus between the school in Lillehammer and in Berlin. In Lillehammer, the topic about the thesis begins already during the third semester, whilst in Berlin, it starts in March. That’s almost 6 months difference. Also, in Lillehammer, the entire period from January to May is used for writing. In Berlin, this is reduced from the middle of March until the middle of July. This means there is quite a lot less time to actually work on the thesis. This is not just bad. The positive side is that one will work much more consistently with the thesis.
So, what is the work being done before actually writing the thesis?
First, you need to decide what you want to write the thesis about. In my case, I wanted to write about remote working. I had some thoughts writing about how remote working affects teamwork, but this was too generic according to my supervisor. Some other thoughts I had was “how remote working affected productivity” or “does remote working have a negative impact on productivity”. This was also to generic.
After discussing the topic with my supervisor, we came up with how remote working affects two groups (one group which can work remotely versus a group of employees that can not work remotely) of employees experience any challenges and the perception they might have.
The actual title of the thesis is “The challenges of remote working; a comparison of the perception of remote employees versus traditional office employees.”
When this is figured out, one needs to fill out some forms for the administration and examination office. One of the documents wants you to describe the core focus of the work, outline or structure of the thesis and elaborate what kind of methodology will be used for the thesis. This work can easily take a few days by itself. When the documents are submitted to the administration, you will after some time receive an email from the dean of the school. This email contains information if the subject is accepted or rejected. In my case, it was accepted.
In addition to this, one needs to find relevant empirical information about the topic. This can be really challenging or easy, depending on the topic you want to write about as well as how much research has gone into the topic. In my case, it is somewhat challenging as remote working has changed quite a lot since the term was originally coined (in the late 80’s/early 90’s) compared more recent times (after 2010). It’s also worth mentioning that not only need you find empirical resources, but they also need to be relevant for the thesis.
Some other, but relevant thoughts
This is not something I thought too much about before I started speaking with my supervisor, but the master thesis will define you and your knowledge area. This means the topic should be selected with some reflection in mind. For instance, in what area do you want to work after the master’s is completed? A potential employer can consider you and the master thesis up for a position.
Another point is that the topic will follow you for the period for writing. Make sure to pick a topic that you like, because you will end up disliking it for some time after it’s finished (according to several people I have spoken with).
This is a small update from my end, but feel free to ask my any questions.