Writing a master’s thesis: Associations between the grade, self-efficacy, approaches to writing, and experiences of the thesis as a teaching and learning environment
Keywords:Master’s thesis writing, approaches to thesis writing, thesis as a teaching-learning environment, self-efficacy for thesis writing, thesis grade
Master’s thesis writing is a challenging endeavor, requiring students to engage in deeper learning processes and apply several academic competences. This study investigates the associations between students’ approaches to master’s thesis writing, the perceptions of the thesis as a teaching-learning environment, self-efficacy for thesis writing, and thesis grade. The data consist of engineering students’ answers (N=283) to a survey and their thesis grade, gathered from the study register of a Finnish university. The findings indicate a positive association between the thesis grade, deep and organized approach to thesis writing, self-efficacy as well as levels of interest and relevance for thesis writing. This study identified three groups of thesis writers who differed from each other in their approaches to thesis writing: 1) Students applying a dissonant approach; 2) Students applying a deep and organized approach; 3) Students applying an unorganized approach. Students applying a deep and organized approach to thesis writing differed significantly from the other two groups as they scored higher in their experiences of the elements of the thesis as a learning environment, self-efficacy for thesis writing and thesis grade. This study highlights its results in conjunction with previous research and offers practical implications for master’s thesis writing support.
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