Course code: 3GJ321
Course name: Thesis Preparation Seminar
Academic year: 2019–2020
Credits: 15 ECTS Credits
Single subject: No
Required prerequisite knowledge
- 3GJ303 Research Methodology
- In addition, as the main rule, 60 ECTS credits must be completed (i.e. the first year of the programme).
Relevance within study programme
GJ 321 Thesis Preparation Seminar is a mandatory course in the MA Programme in Global Journalism at NLA University College. It takes place in the third semester of the programme, immediately preceding the MA thesis project.
The course is practically oriented and aims to prepare the student for the subsequent MA thesis project. The course covers issues such as how to develop a proposal for an MA project, how to work with theory, how to do field research, and how to compose and write a thesis. A separate section discusses practical concerns related to research ethics. The course is designed both for theoretical (GJ 322) and practical-theoretical (GJ 323) MA thesis, although professional competence related to the media production in GJ 323 will not be covered as students choosing this option are expected to have acquired sufficient production skills in their undergraduate degree.
Learning outcomes descriptors
- has knowledge of the basic design of a research project
- is aware of the elements involved in the preparation of a small-scale research project
- can write a proposal for a small-scale research project
- can assess and make preliminary judgments of potential ethical dilemmas expected to arise with a planned small-scale research project
- is able to prepare a small-scale research project, practically and theoretically
GJ 321-1: Preparing a research proposal
The student is introduced to the preparation and writing of a research proposal, with a particular view on the MA thesis proposal. The students will work both in groups and individually with their proposals. Each student will meet with a preliminary advisor during the process. An important part of the research proposal process is to arrive at an appropriate method for the project, thus drawing directly on the material covered in GJ 303 Research Methodology. A submission date will be given for the final proposal to be handed in at the end of the course.
- No particular reading is presented for this part of the course, but the students will be acquainted with the standard format for writing an MA research proposal in the Global Journalism programme. Examples of research proposals will be used in the instruction.
GJ 321-2: Working with theory in a research project
This part of the course focuses on how theory becomes an integrated part of a research project, both at the planning stage, fieldwork stage, and writing stage. Students are urged to use knowledge from this part of the course when preparing their research proposal. Material covered in all previous courses in the programme is potentially applicable as theoretical points of departure for the project.
- No particular reading is presented for this part of the course, but a series of examples will be used from the existing scholarship.
GJ 321-3: How to do field research
This is a practically oriented part of the course advising students how to prepare and carry out field research. Various methods from GJ 303 are revisited from a practical point of view, discussing items such as to how to conduct fieldwork interviews, how to get in touch with respondents, how to obtain a research certificate, and how to save the project when everything seems to fall apart. Particular attention is paid to the many troubles which may occur when crossing cultural and national boundaries, which are inherent to many research projects in Global Journalism. Instructors will draw from their own research experience in this part of the course.
GJ 321-4: Writing an MA thesis
This part of the course focuses on how to write a research report, with a particular view on the MA thesis. Items covered are organization of the thesis, style, argumentation, clarity of speech, plagiarism, working with statistics, and more. Instruction of how to use the analytics software SPSS will be offered for students who intend to use it in their project.
GJ 321-5: Research ethics
This part of the course covers theoretical and practical issues in research ethics. Particular attention is paid to ethical considerations that are characteristic to journalism research.
Teaching and learning methods
The instruction is delivered as a combination of lectures, seminars and individual consultation. Students are required to present a draft of their proposal in the seminars and will give feedback to the draft proposal of others in the group. The course runs full-time for half a semester (approximately nine weeks), and concludes with the submission of individual research proposals.
250 - 300 horus.
All lectures in GJ 321 are compulsory, although 25 % absence is allowed in cases of illness and other extraordinary circumstances. The requirement of attendance is set to avoid excessive resources spent on individual follow-up at the subsequent stage when the actual MA thesis project begins. Consultation with a preliminary advisor is compulsory as well (cf. GJ 321–1), as is the submission of an MA research proposal within the announced due date towards the end of the course.
Grading, coursework requirements
The assessment of GJ 321 comprises of one compulsory item:
- Submission of MA research proposal (pass or failure)
The submission date is final. The proposal will be assessed by the programme–s Academic Committee and be given a pass or failure grade. In the case of failure, the student will be given a report outlining what needs to be improved in order to bring the proposal up to an acceptable standard. Two resubmissions are allowed. The proposal must obtain a passing grade before the student is assigned an advisor for the MA project (GJ 322/323). The proposal must follow the directions outlined in the Manual for MA Thesis Proposal for NLA–s MA Programme in Global Journalism. The proposal must be written in either English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.
Permitted aids under examination
Pass or failure.
The proposal must be written in either English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.
Annually course evaluation in accordance with the quality assurance system for NLA University College. Students may also give their feedback on the course in the student group/ in class.
Available for Course Students
Revised May 2019
Nygaard, Lynn P. (2017) Writing your master’s thesis: From A to Zen. London: Sage (194 pp.)
- Oliver, Paul (2010) The student’s guide to research ethics (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press. (178 pp.)
- Skjerdal, Terje (2013) Competing loyalties: Journalism culture in the Ethiopian state media. PhD dissertation, University of Oslo. Pp. 75–98.
Total reading: 396 pp.