With MA thesis,student demonstrates that he/she:
– has obtained the skills to compile an academic analysis that draws upon international scientific publications;
– is able to identify and find international scientific literature needed for solving specific practical problems;
– has got an insight abouta specific area;
– is capable ofusingappropriately available data, undertakingsound analysis, interpretingthe results in relation to existing knowledge, and assessing critically the findings.
The main requirements for MA thesis are as following:
- Length:up to 12 000 words, excluding bibliography, appendices and footnotes. Longer thesis must be justified and reasoned.
- Theoretical framework:predominantly the theory part of MA thesis must rely at least on 30 academic or other analytical writings.It is comprised of generalized knowledge on the research topic under the scrutiny, based on internationally recognized academic sources. This section of a thesis has to create an analytical framework for empirical study. It deals only with theoretical considerations and has to be analytical in terms of linking the information obtained from different sources, comparing and synthesizing it.
Academic sources are: 1) articles and chapters in peer-reviewedjournals and books; 2) policy analyses, e.g. from World Bank, OECD, EU, IMF etc.; 3) publications in foreign languages, published in Estonia, e.g. Administrative Culture, Praxis analyses.Academic sources are NOT legal acts, journalistic publications (e.g. articles in „The Economist“), handbooks, internet websites.
- Empirical analysis:empirical part of a thesis should encompass the analysis of a specific case (case-study approach) and include the introduction of research methods, background information, empirical analysis in detail, and conclusions. Has to rely on analytical framework, presented in the theory part of a thesis. Statements have to be based on clear arguments and facts.
- Editing:Times New Roman 12, 1.5 spacing.MA thesis must be written in English with correct grammar and spelling. It should be decided between British or American English and kept this consistent. Emphasis is by italics, underlining, boldface, or block letters; boldface in headlines. Illustrations and graphics are as a rule welcome. In general, MA thesis should follow Harvard style in format.
- Thesis has to include:Title page, Abstract (up to 200 words, including „Key words“), List of contents, Introduction (presentation of the objective of a thesis, research questions, including background information about the topic, research methods, and the structure of a thesis),Summary (up to 800 words as a review of the whole thesis without any new data and topic developments), Bibliography, and Appendices (if any).
Students MUST refer to all sources they rely on in their MA thesis, i.e. refer or cite sentences, thoughts, ideas and data of other authors. Opinions, other than the students’ ones, have to be distinguishable. Otherwise, students infringe the academic rulesthat are considered as plagiarism.
Eligible for defense is a thesis that:
- Meets the length and editing requirements; is written in correct English;
- States a clear and concrete research topic and question(s);
- Has coherent theoretical and empirical parts; the former being based on academic sources;
- Has concordance between research question(s), theoretical framework and research methods;
- Contains detailed empirical analysis, based on scientific principles.