Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman

Ph.D., Assistant Professor

January 2022

Dear Master Students in Psychology,

The purpose of this letter is to describe the way in which I supervise Master´s thesis. It is important for you to know what you can expect from me as a supervisor and what I expect from you.

In the first attempt, you have the right to 15 hours of supervision. During this time, you can expect that I will advise you in all phases of the writing process. In return, I expect you to prepare for meetings as agreed, because it is during the meetings that the supervision takes place. Please be aware that the 15 hours include the time I require to prepare for meetings (including any e-mail correspondence), and to read your text, as well as the time spent during the supervision meetings themselves.

Before our first meeting, I expect that you have read the course description in the course catalogue regarding the formal aspects of the Master’s Thesis (see relevant links below). I also recommend that you take the courses on literature searches and reference management (e.g., Refworks, EndNote) provided by the library. You should have received the relevant information on Brightspace. It is also a good idea to look at the selection of the best Master Thesis on Psychology in the website if you would like to see some examples of high-quality work (see relevant links below).

By the time I first talk to students, most of them already have an idea of what they want to write their thesis about, and have read extensively on the topic, either because a) they took a course on the topic, b) completed a practicum related to the topic, and/or c) find that the knowledge gained from writing the thesis on this topic can help with prospective psychology jobs that they are interested in. Other students choose a thesis based on personal interest.

If you have not yet determined what you want to write about, in the first phase of the process, you will determine what topic you are really interested in writing your Master’s Thesis about, and what type of thesis you want to write (classic thesis, empirical thesis or article thesis). You will narrow down your topic and formulate your interest into a realistic research question and a specific outline for your Master’s Thesis. In this phase, you will also develop a writing plan to help you stay on track and submit your thesis on time.

More precisely, in this first phase, you will…

• Determine the topic of interest
• Narrow down the topic
• Formulate the topic into a research question
• Prepare an outline of the thesis
• Plan your writing process, including dates for meetings and delivery of text

During the first phase, we will meet one, two or three times (about one hour each time), until you are ready to start writing the thesis itself. How many times we will meet will depend on how far along you are in the process described above.

In the second phase of the process, our supervision meetings (6-8) will mainly consist of discussion and feedback on your thesis. I expect that you send me the text you want me to read at least 2 days before our meeting, along with a short description of what I should focus on. For example, you might have questions about your ideas on how to structure the thesis, about the quality of the text, or you might need help with making decisions on how (and where) to best present a study. I suggest that before each meeting you prepare a meeting agenda to keep us focused, and that after the meeting you write the minutes of the meeting with the tasks and decisions we agreed during the meeting.

Regarding the quality of the text, I advise primarily in terms of the structure and comprehension. Please, be aware that I only read 3-5 pages each time. During the supervision process, I do not read the entire thesis, as I am also the one evaluating it, along with an external censor.

It is also important to me that you find joy while writing your thesis. It is a time to think deeply about the topic of your thesis. Consider it an opportunity to contribute with psychological knowledge to a topic that you are deeply interested in.

Send me an e-mail, so that we can begin the writing process.

Sincerely,

Alejandra

Relevant links:

https://studerende.au.dk/studier/fagportaler/psykologi/bachelorprojekt-og-speciale/speciale/

https://kursuskatalog.au.dk/da/course/110099/Speciale

https://studerende.au.dk/studier/fagportaler/psykologi/bachelorprojekt-og-speciale/speciale/de-bedste-specialer/