How to approach a Master’s thesis

Apart from research publications — often, I receive questions on writing the thesis, both a master’s thesis as well as a doctoral thesis. What I have learnt from those queries is cluelessness! A very few know about their research interest, identified research gap and proposed contribution. But for many, it is another assignment with a substantial length which is crucial to obtain their degree that they have enrolled. A master thesis is an opportunity to apply the learning for holistic development as a professional. On a special request from my students, sharing with you quick tips to approach master’s thesis:

1. Know your passion

The first question is, ‘what is your passion?’. For example, are you passionate about bikes, cars, music, stock market, travel and people etc. the list may go on. Introspect your passion and be mindful in extending that to rigorous academic and industrial applications such as branding, strategy, and communication etc. I, as a guide, always encourage students to identify the areas that they are in love with so that they don’t seek an extrinsic motivation to complete their master’s thesis. It is vital because the preparation of the master thesis is tedious. Hence requires a lot of self-motivation.

2. Look for managerial or social implications

The students should identify their field of intense interest; find the possible commercial/business or social opportunities that are available in the specified area. It is essential to align students’ passion with the managerial and/or social opportunities. There are various ways to evaluate anticipated managerial or social implications. However, the two most straightforward ways to identify the areas of opportunity is referring to the latest reports, articles from leading magazines and newspapers. It is advisable to recognize the researchers, academicians and practitioners who have contributed in your areas of research interest.

3. Motivation to conduct the research

It is essential to dedicate quality time for reading. The more students explore their area both with scientific (scholarly) and creative (Magazines/web blogs) articles, the clearer they become with the research objective. Enumerate the reasons why one should take up the stated area for master’s thesis. A substantial reading certainly provides clarity of thoughts. Choose one exciting and feasible reason to outline the master’s thesis. For instance, if consumer behaviour is your field of interest, compensatory consumption is a specific area you would wish to explore; and conscious consumption w.r.t COVID-19 — maybe the exciting and viable topic to study.

4. Ability to conduct the research

I have also observed students say, ‘‘I am not good with numbers, I don’t want to conduct quantitative analysis, is there anything I can do avoiding analytical software or heavy quantitative analysis’’. Well, there are numerous methodologies one can explore and implement with timely handholding and guidance. Therefore, first- assess your ability to employ research methodologies. It is imperative to discuss your confidence and inhibitions regarding various research methods with your guide/faculty mentor. One must remember that it is not always the interest of the students but the necessity of the research problem to extract the best possible insights; which may demand the methodologies and techniques that might be outside students’ comfort zone.

The master’s thesis is an integral part of a post-graduate programme. It is an amalgamation of self-learning and quality discussion with the guide/faculty mentor. I hope the above points will give some clue to the clueless ones.

I will be writing more about the master’s thesis. Watch out for this space :)

Happy reading!

Academic | Researcher | Behavioural Scientist