Workshop 2: Searching for treasures from random piles of stuff

Wending one’s way to a thesis through theory, data, analysis and argument-building

Facilitated by Henni Alava (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä)

In this workshop, we will discuss the process of master’s thesis writing with a focus on how theory, data analysis and argument-building actually happen. You will be provided with concrete examples of how this has been done in previous studies. In addition, you will get a chance to hands-on practice doing data analysis jointly with others. Time will also be reserved to share and talk about issues that may be blocking your progress in thesis-writing.

Students can participate in one of three roles:

1) All in

You will submit a document prior to workshop, which will be read by the facilitator and all of the other participants. The document should include

1) Your tentative title
2) A short description (max. 1 A4) of your overall research question, your data, and the data analysis methods you are using or planning to use.
3) A snippet (max. 1 A4) of the empirical material you will be using for your thesis. This could be a section of an interview; a part of a fieldwork diary; a project planning document; or a newspaper article, etc… Please note that any confidential data must be fully anonymised.

You will also commit to reading all the documents submitted by other participants, and will be assigned a number of other students’ data excerpts, which you will analyse.

2) Commentator

In this role, you will be expected to read the other participants’ submissions, and will be assigned as a commentator to some other students’ data, but will not have to submit your own.

3) Observer

This role is for you who want to think through the process of writing a master’s thesis; who already have a theme and a research proposal and possibly some chapters, but do not have the time to commit to commenting on your colleague’s work, or feel, for whatever reason, that at this point you would rather just stay quiet and listen.

All students should read the other students assignments, and prepare to present a brief analysis of data excerpts assigned to them, by the time of the workshop.