PAST THESES: Check here the titles of some Master Theses by past students.
THESES: how to apply and write the thesis
The brief notes and the material provided on this page intend to give you some general insights on how to prepare a Master thesis and organize your work. These suggestions come from the experience of some teachers of DSTS Master program, but for any doubt and question, please refer to your supervisor.
PLAGIARISM AND MANDATORY DECLARATION TO INCLUDE IN THE THESIS
Plagiarism is defined as the total or partial attribution of another person’s ideas, research, or discoveries to one’s self, or omitting a citation either intentionally or by accident. Even using data collected from other people, by pretending it is your own and without citing the source, is plagiarism.
Plagiarism is a criminal act, and it can be legally prosecuted. All texts undergo a plagiarism check through an automatic system.
It is fully permissible to read, study and take inspiration from material (e.g., articles, books, reports) of other people, but it is not permitted to copy entire passages or phrases. The text must be reworked by the student in his/her own words, and it is also always necessary to check that the data have a certain source. Short sentences of other authors could be quoted if needed, indicating the text in quotation marks (i.e.: «quoted sentence») and citing the work from which the quotation was taken, including the page number.
Moreover, the first page of the dissertation should contain the following declaration that should be signed by the student:
I hereby declare that this submission is my own work and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief,
it contains no material previously published or written by another person nor material which has been
accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma of the university or other institute of higher learning,
except where due acknowledgment has been made in the text.
Translation, adaptation in whole or in part, reproduction using any means (including media, microfilm and
photocopy formats) and electronic storage is reserved in all countries.
WHAT IS A MASTER THESIS
The preparation of the thesis is the final stage of the Master Program and provides you with the opportunity to show that you have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to manage a research project:
- setting research objectives;
- locating, organising and critically analysing the relevant literature;
- exploiting an appropriate research methodology;
- analysing the data selected and drawing on the literature in the field;
- drawing conclusions.
A dissertation is a “formal” document and if should follow some “rules”. It must have chapters that provide an introduction, a literature review, a justification of the data selected for analysis and research methodology, analysis of the data and, finally, conclusions and recommendations.
BASIC STEPS FOR WRITING A MASTER THESIS
1) Choosing the topic and the direction
The thesis is a written project generally based on own ideas addressed during the student’s coursework. The choice of the topic should be based on student’s professional and academic goals and interests and can be defined with the help of the supervisor.
Once the topic has been chosen, students must address to the Professors potentially suitable for supervising the project in order to fix the supervisor. This step has to be done BEFORE starting to prepare the thesis. The Professor should be contacted at least 6 months before the date envisaged for the graduation.
The theme you select and propose to the supervisor should be sufficiently clear and precise, and be related to a research question. For example, "Wine sector in the EU" is too wide, while "Tourists perception of farmers' markets in Tuscany" is sufficiently precise.
2) The project
Once selected the theme, and approved by the Professor, students should prepare the project / plan of the dissertation, including the specific ideas that will be addressed in the thesis, the appropriate methodology to be applied, and the specific goals of the research. In order to plan the research structure and verify the coherence of the concept, a provisional index should be shared/agreed with the supervisor.
The provisional index represents a nice guide (e.g., for planning the research and establishing the relevance of sections and chapters); it can be modified as the project takes shape.
Here you can find a template representing a useful guideline for defining your thesis project.
3) Writing the thesis
A Master thesis should include some sections (indicatively, but not necessarily, corresponding to different chapters): Introduction, Literature Review, Data & Methods, Results, Conclusion, Bibliography. You may also include Tables, Figures, Footnotes, Appendix.
More detailed rules and suggestions, as well as a template for the formats, can be found in this file (the file, prepared by prof. Marescotti for his students, can be useful for all students). Here you can find the fac-simile for the front page of the thesis.
When writing your dissertation, remember to use short, linear, and clear sentences. Please check grammar and typos before sending your work to the supervisor. It is often best to write the introduction and conclusion after writing the other chapters (e.g., methodology, results, discussion). Exclamatory sentences should be avoided. Pay attention on potential plagiarism issues (check the specific point on this page).
4) Bibliographic research and Social Sciences Library in Novoli
The Biblioteca di Novoli provides a help service for students who need help with their thesis research. For more information call 055 2759866, 055 2759865 or ask for the service of Research Help of the Library (library's 1st-floor desk).
You can also fill an oline module to ask for a personal meeting (service "ask a librarian": click here ITA; ENG).
The library also offers courses for students about how to find bibliographic resources and specific sources and database. For more info, please check the Library website or contact the Research Help.
5) On-line submission of the final version
Once agreed with the supervisor, the final and complete written thesis must be converted into a PDF file following the indications reported in the UniFI online application for graduation (check the “how to graduate” section on this website). An Abstract of the thesis must be also prepared. It will be uploaded separately from the full text, as indicated in the application. This operation will be done once agreed with the supervisor.
We remember that application for the final exam can be performed uniquely through the online procedure (check the “how to graduate” section on this website). It is the responsibility of the student to check and respect the calendar and deadlines established each Academic Year by the University of Florence (check here).
OBLIGATION TO FILL IN THE ALMA DEGREE QUESTIONNAIRE
As part of the online degree application procedure, it is mandatory to fill in the ALMA DEGREE questionnaire before graduate (Academic Senate Resolution dated 6 July 2016). This obligation is binding for the purpose of completing the application: if the questionnaire is not filled in the student will not be able to complete the application. You can find the link for the questionnaire on our personal webpage.
RELATIONSHIP STUDENT-SUPERVISOR AND GOOD PRACTICES
The preparation of the thesis is made under the guidance of an academic supervisor, but it should be emphasised that the dissertation is entirely your own work: the responsibility for the quality and content of a dissertation is entirely that of yourself, the student.
Typical functions of the supervisor are: to advise the student whether or not the project appears to be feasible and the possible risks that may be involved; to assist the student at the outset in finding useful and relevant reading material and appropriate academic framework within which to place the topic; to tailor the proposal to the time and other resource constraints; to advise on the choice of suitable methodological approach(es); to monitor progress and to advise on what is required to achieve a satisfactory dissertation.
In order to assure an effective relationship student-supervisor, and for a for a good result of the final work, some basic good practices should be followed:
- to maintain regular contact with the academic supervisor. It is the student's responsibility to inform their supervisor of progress and to lead the development of the dissertation. Difficulties must be communicated at the time they are encountered. Retrospective information is not acceptable;
- to write the dissertation in a good standard of clear English using appropriate academic terms and citation and referencing conventions;
- to inform the supervisor of any absence (sickness, personal, family visits, holidays, work experience) during the time nominated for working on the dissertation;
- if during the preparation of the dissertation, the focus and direction of the dissertation change substantially from that outlined in the initial plan, then the student should immediately discuss this with the supervisor.
THE DAY OF THE GRADUATION...
The graduation day, each student has to present his/her thesis work to the Commission (formed by the thesis tutor and other colleagues) using a power point (or similar) presentation, and each student has 10 minutes to present the work. Please remember that respect time is important, so focus your presentation on most important and original aspects of your work.
Students should bring a copy of the thesis for the Commission (and then you can decide to take it back or to give to the thesis tutor).
Please send a copy of your presentation to the Director of the Master Program at least the evening before the graduation day, in order to faciliate the upload procedure and reduce time. To be sure, please also bring your presentation on a pen drive (no USB-C pen drive).
The day of the graduation we will ask to students if they agree to communicate us an email address (not the UniFI one) to be contacted in the future for job offers, small surveys, seminars, and so on. If you agree, you can fill the form that we will provide to you (you can also check the dedicated web page on former DSTS students).