S2-Week 3-Class

Semester 2 (Week 3)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 20th March 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topics for today’s workshop

– The Introduction
– Abstract
– Conclusion

Previous MSc student publications

Some Measures of Academic Research

Is there a difference between analysis and interpretation of data
Informed / contextualised
Explicit about aims

The Introduction

Pat Thomson highlights the work that the thesis should have

Warrant (setting out your stall)

The introduction has to clearly set the warrant for the thesis- the mandate or rationale for doing the research. Identify the gap in the research.

We need to understand a particular phenomenon, process or practice better…

Justify your research topic/question


Sets out specific focus for the research in the form of a thesis statement, aims and objectives.


This includes methodology and methods.

Outline and Definitions

Outline or road map
Clarification of any key definitions.
Some theses and papers use a glossary.


This is about locating the researcher in the research. This varies according to the discipline, the topic,the epistemology, etc.



Establishing boundaries around the research makes it clear what aspects of a topic and those you haven’t.

It’s about setting expectations that you meet in the thesis.


What the abstract has to do

It is a mini-statement of the thesis or paper.
It presents ALL the key aspects of the larger text
The biggest problem examiners have is the writer not providing the results of the project.

What the abstract is not

The abstract is not a trailer or a
It’s not a foreword

Abstracts – what the MSc handbook says

This will depend on the target journal paper so different rules apply!
You may be given a word limit or you may be instructed to provide a structured abstract with specific bullet points.

Issues with Abstracts

They are very short – not easy to stick to word limit
They are very short – you need to get everything in there

Abstract questions to ask

What’s the research question
How do I locate the significance of the work
What conversation am I in?
What approach have I undertaken to address the research question
What do I offer to existing research? So what…
What’s my argument?
Does my abstract make sense as a stand-alone


Future areas for further exploration
Significant / important finding and highlighting
Make sure there is no new material

Based on your own experience, what is the purpose?
What do you expect to find out from reading it?

Guidelines from Wallace and Wray
(1) a summative claim that reflects the conclusions of your findings and discussion and briefly identifies the key claims and observations from your research literature

Don’t be repetitive
Save a really good quote or fact for the end of the paper…for impact
Instead of just summing up, try going further and predict.
Or you could add personal thoughts on the subject, if you have any personal knowledge. What do you think can or should be done about something.
Consider implications.
Answer “now what?”
Consider qualifications: are there qualifications/limits to your argument.
N.B. A strong finish!


All necessary features
Research question

– tell them what you are going to tell them (research question)

– tell them

– tell them what you have just told them (restate research question)