Final Thesis - Häme University of applied sciences
Final Thesis

Final Thesis

26.01.2023 10:30

The aim of a thesis is to build up both the student’s general workplace skills and their sector-specific professional competence. The theses are targeted at the needs of the workplace and implemented as development projects or as part of research unit projects.

The scope of a Bachelor’s thesis is 15 credits, while the scope of a Master’s thesis is 30 credits. A Master’s thesis is broader and more in-depth and analytical in its approach than a Bachelor’s thesis. Moreover, the Bachelor’s thesis is designed to act as a bridge between studies and the world of work, to facilitate the transition to the workplace, and to help students establish contacts within the operational environment and culture of their relevant field. Consequently, the thesis is also useful for the labour market and regional development. The target of the Master’s thesis is to create, produce and develop competence which meets the development needs of regional industries and the society.

This page describes general information about the thesis, its key principles, aims, process and assessment, as well as the different implementation methods. The subpages contain more detailed information about the different phases of the process and related instructions and documents.

The pages contain instructions for both students and thesis supervisors the thesis. The purpose of the thesis guide is to ensure sufficiently consistent operating methods, comparable workloads, equal assessment and the quality of theses. The degree programmes have their own, more detailed instructions related to the practices and supervision of the thesis process. These can be accessed via the links on the right.

The key principles of a thesis include:

  • the thesis is workplace and research-oriented
  • the thesis topic arises primarily from the workplace or in some cases from the students themselves, e.g. a topic related to their own business
  • the thesis promotes the development of the student’s professional competence and improves their employment opportunities.

Writing a thesis is a learning process during which the student learns to work with a research-based, analytical and development-oriented approach. The thesis is often relevant to workplace development or the research and development activities of HAMK. It may also be associated with developing the student’s own enterprising activities. Its objective is to analyse and solve a problem on the agreed scale and schedule. A thesis may draw on HAMK’s multidisciplinary approach, and it may also be produced in cooperation between several degree programmes. As a rule, a thesis is produced individually or with a division of responsibilities that allows each student to demonstrate mastery of the thesis process as a whole and their individual competence.

After completing a Bachelor’s thesis, students

  • know how to find and apply national and international information in their own field, and are capable of critical assessment and analysis of information and understanding complex issues
  • are able to apply appropriate research and development methods to solving workplace problems
  • work with initiative and with a development-oriented work approach
  • demonstrate capabilities for developing their professional field.

After completing a Master’s thesis, students

  • know how to obtain and apply in-depth information in their areas of expertise and neighbouring fields, including deep national and international information, and are able to critically evaluate information and understand complex issues as well as create new knowledge
  • are able to apply appropriate research and development methods to solving workplace problems
  • master research and development methodology and know how to carry out research and development projects with the aim of contributing to the development of their field
  • demonstrate initiative and a research-driven and development-oriented work approach, and are capable of creative and innovative problem-solving and decision-making in the changing work environment.

Thesis process

Writing a thesis is a process that is documented in the Wihi system. Wihi is a software for the supervision and management of thesis projects, and it monitors the progress of the thesis and saves the events, files, communications and activity during the thesis process. More detailed instructions for using Wihi can be found in the Wihi instructions for students.

Image describes the thesis process and it's phases.
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The thesis begins with the planning of the topic, the creation of the topic proposal and the mastery of the implementation method. It progresses through the planning and implementation phase to the finishing phase, where the thesis is published, assessment and archived. An essential part of the thesis process is seminars – a planning seminar, an interim seminar and a final seminar. Seminar practices vary between the degree programmes. The degree programmes’ own thesis instructions can be accessed via the links on the right.

The thesis process may also include the creation of other documents, such as a research permit decision and a data protection notice, for which HAMK records management plan (arkistonmuodostussuunnitelma or AMS, in short) defines the storage period, storage location and a party responsible for storage. The student must check their obligations regarding the storage of documents in the checklist.

Before starting the thesis you should familiarize yourself with the ethical principles of the thesis, publicity, material management, accessibility and sustainable development. You should also familiarise yourself with the entire thesis process and the related instructions, and complete the Thesis Expert badge. More information about the Thesis Expert badge can be found on the Thesis planning page.

The implementation methods and structure of a thesis produced at a university of applied sciences may vary depending on the professional field and the assignment. The following section describes four different thesis implementation methods, the structure used in their reports and the assessment. A thesis can be either research-focused, practice-based, a portfolio or an article thesis. The thesis supervisor may also end up recommending other structural models.Regardless of the implementation method, all theses should comprise a report with an introduction, sections describing the knowledge base, implementation and results of the thesis, as well as conclusions and reflection on the results of the thesis. Here, the knowledge base refers to the theoretical background and previous research information related to the matter. Different sections of the thesis are put together in different ways, depending on the chosen model.

A thesis is a part of a higher education degree that must be available for open assessment. Accepted theses become public immediately. This aspect cannot be changed by any agreement. Publicity guarantees the objective and fair assessment of theses. For a more detailed description of the publicity of theses and copyright issues, see the Before starting the thesis.

Thesis assessment

Bachelor’s and Master’s theses are assessed using the key assessment criteria. A Master’s thesis is broader and more in-depth and analytical in its approach than a Bachelor’s thesis, which is also taken into account in the assessment. Acceptable theses are assessed on a scale of 1 to 5. The assessment criteria vary between the different thesis implementation methods, but all assessment criteria follow a uniform assessment scale.

  • Excellent 5: achieved to an excellent standard
  • Good 4: achieved well
  • Good 3: achieved mostly well
  • Satisfactory 2: achieved with some shortcomings
  • Satisfactory 1: achieved with shortcomings
  • Fail: the thesis has not achieved the satisfactory 1 level.

A student who is dissatisfied with the assessment of their thesis may address a request for rectification to the Examination Board. For more detailed instructions, see the Degree Regulations.

The Häme Foundation for Professional Higher Education and Research annually awards HAMK grants for HAMK thesis of high quality. Each degree programme may nominate a thesis for the award. The degree programme must request permission from the author(s) of the thesis for the nomination. The awarded theses are published on HAMK’s public website.

Thesis feedback

A precondition for the development of the thesis process is constant collection of feedback. The thesis process and the related guidance are developed based on feedback from students and the commissioning organisations. Student feedback is collected using a feedback survey. When the student’s thesis is complete and evaluated, the system automatically sends the student an email with a link to the feedback survey.

Thesis implementation methods

On the following is presented the different implementation methods, their structure and the assessment criteria.

A research-focused thesis is applied research and closely linked to the world of work. A practice-based thesis includes a concrete development assignment carried out in a workplace. A student may also collect material related to the thesis during their studies, which is then used to create a portfolio thesis. In an article thesis, the student plans and writes one to four articles. If a student has published articles related to their professional field during their studies, they can also compile them into an article thesis.

A research-focused thesis

The starting point of a research-focused thesis is a clearly formulated workplace-oriented research problem, to which an answer is sought using appropriate materials and common research methodology. A research-focused thesis typically uses empirical research design and materials to find an answer to a research problem, for example by organising a test or by conducting a survey or an interview study.

A research-focused thesis relies on basic structures (see the guideline for structures) that are commonly used in quantitative and qualitative scientific research. While the concepts of “research problem” and “research hypothesis” are generally used in quantitative studies (experiments, surveys), the concept of “research question” is more common in qualitative studies (surveys, interviews).

A research-focused thesis

  • is usually based on development needs observed in the workplace
  • includes specific objectives and research problems/questions and appropriate scientific research methods
  • is realised as a study that includes the perspective of practical applications (applied research)
  • is based on research and knowledge base previously published in the professional field and on the research topic
  • contains compiled knowledge and observation material, i.e. material that helps solve, understand and explain the objectives and research problems/questions
  • includes an analysis of the material
  • can be carried out as an independent study or as part of a larger research or development project, for example in HAMK’s Research Units
  • emphasises systematic approach and mastering a research-based approach to work.

Guideline for the structure of a research-focused thesis

In Introduction, the author justifies the topic selection and its relevance. They present the key idea of the thesis and describe its links to the workplace. Furthermore, they explain the background and starting points for approaching the topic and key concepts used in the thesis. At the end of the introduction, the goal of the thesis and the research problem are described.

In Knowledge base of the research, the author describes the thesis in terms of the knowledge base and background information. They describe how the research is linked to the previously published knowledge base and how the knowledge base will be utilised in the thesis.

In Materials and methods, the author describes the practices, methods and techniques by which they intend to answer the research problems or questions. They describe the material collection and analysis methods and present a practical implementation plan for the study.

Presentation of the results is the most essential part of the report. The results lead to the outcomes of the present study, i.e. answers to the research problem and questions. The results may be structured in many ways, for example by research question. The presentation of the results must be a material-based, logical and systematic whole.

In Examination of the results, reflection and conclusions, the author summarises the key results, compares them to the results of prior studies and critically analyses the factors that influenced the results. The reflection also includes a self-assessment related to reliability and problem-solving and discusses the significance of the thesis process for the student’s professional development. The conclusions show how the thesis has changed or increased knowledge in the area being researched or developed and how its outcomes may be utilised in practice.

Assessment of a research-focused thesis

The assessment criteria for a research-focused thesis and their more detailed description are presented below. All items are assessed on a scale of 1–5.

Assignment

  • The thesis has a clear goal and purpose.
  • The selected questions support goal achievement.
  • The research problem is presented clearly.
  • The selected assignment is topical and innovative and brings benefits for the workplace.

Knowledge base

  • Key concepts in terms of the topic have been selected for the thesis. They have been defined aptly and used fluently.
  • The selected knowledge base supports the thesis assignment.
  • The knowledge base consists of diverse sources that demonstrate strong knowledge of the topic, the operating environment and traditions.
  • The thesis demonstrates in-depth source criticism. The reliability of the sources has been evaluated analytically and expertly.

Topic definition and research questions

  • The assignment is feasible, and justifications are given for the topic delimitation.
  • Research questions are described in an understandable, sufficiently accurate and unambiguous manner.
  • The assignments described in the research questions are challenging enough for a thesis.
  • The student has shown initiative in defining and describing the objectives and the research problem.

Material acquisition and methods

  • The thesis presents the methods and procedures for collecting material.
  • The thesis describes the methods used in the analysis of the material.
  • The methods have been selected in a way that they can answer the research problem(s).
  • The selection of methods is justified.

Implementation process

  • The thesis process has been completed independently and logically and guidance has been utilised appropriately.
  • The implementation method of the thesis is fitting for the topic.
  • The thesis follows a schedule independently prepared and described by the author.
  • The author has demonstrated good project management skills during the thesis process.

Results and conclusions

  • The results have been clearly described and structured in a manner that suits the research problem and questions.
  • The results give an answer to the presented research problems/questions.
  • The material has been analysed thoroughly and adapted to the methods used.
  • The results have been reflected upon and linked to the theoretical section.
  • The reliability of the results (reliability, validity) has been evaluated thoroughly and expertly.
  • All research questions have been concisely answered in the conclusions.

Reflection and development proposals

  • The thesis demonstrates the development of the student’s expertise.
  • Development proposals have been presented in the thesis and they are based on the results of the thesis.
  • The results benefit the commissioning party and/or help to develop practices and working methods on the professional field.
  • The thesis seminars were logical, clear, professional and analytical.

Ethics, sustainability and responsibility

  • The thesis follows responsible conduct of research and the ethical guidelines of the professional field.
  • The author has demonstrated commitment and responsibility during the thesis process.
  • The thesis has analysed sustainable development and responsibility from the viewpoint of the thesis topic.

Reporting

  • The structure of the report is consistent and clear.
  • The report is written in a fluent and factual style, and it is free from errors.
  • Sources have been used/utilised in a versatile and critical manner.
  • Sources, including image sources, are referenced according to the instructions.
  • The layout is finished and compliant with the instructions.
  • The seminar presentation of the thesis is in-depth and illustrative.

A practice-based thesis

A practice-based thesis is a workplace development assignment that aims to develop, guide, organise and improve the efficiency of practical activities. The work develops, implements and evaluates new products, services, operating methods or work practices. The work requires the formulation of a research problem/question related to the matter at hand as well as the utilisation of an appropriate research method.

A practice-based thesis

  • emphasises a research-driven and development-oriented approach to work
  • includes both a theoretical and practical section
  • includes research problems/questions and a knowledge base
  • includes the results of the practical section and their examination in relation to the knowledge base of the vocational field
  • produces a concrete product/output or project implementation process as a practical section (e.g. guide, electronic material, planning an exhibition or event, development plan).

Guideline for the structure of a practice-based thesis

In Introduction, the author describes their interest in and starting points for approaching the topic and the links to the workplace. They present the background of a product or a process, justify the need for said product or process and also present the research problem or question.

In Knowledge base of a development assignment, the author presents the existing knowledge on the topic and similar products, outputs or processes that have been created before. The thesis has an evidence-based foundation that draws on studies, reviews and recommendations.

In Purpose and objectives of the development work, the author describes what the thesis aims for and why, how and where the results will be utilised. They also describe the links between the knowledge base and the goal and justify the choice of methods.

In Planning and realisation of a product, output or a project, the author describes the planning and implementation systematically. They can use images, figures and videos in addition to writing.

The Conclusions and reflection section includes an evaluation, conclusions, further plans and a deployment plan. The author of a practice-based thesis reflects upon and evaluates both the outcomes and their thesis process. They also describe the feedback received from the client, target group or experts on the produced output or process.

Assessment of a practice-based thesis

The assessment criteria for a practice-oriented thesis and their more detailed description are presented below. All items are assessed on a scale of 1–5.

Assignment

  • The thesis has a clear purpose and objective. The selected questions support goal achievement.
  • The selected assignment is topical and innovative and brings benefits for the workplace.
  • The assignment is feasible, and justifications are given for the topic delimitation.

Knowledge base

  • Key concepts in terms of the topic have been selected for the thesis. They have been defined aptly and used fluently.
  • The selected knowledge base supports the thesis assignment.
  • The knowledge base consists of diverse sources that demonstrate strong knowledge of the topic, the operating environment and traditions.
  • The thesis demonstrates in-depth source criticism. The reliability of the sources has been evaluated analytically and expertly.

Thesis plan and methods

  • The implementation method of the thesis is fitting for the topic.
  • The method has been consciously and justifiably chosen.

Implementation process

  • The thesis process has been implemented independently, and it has progressed in a goal-oriented manner using the guidance provided by the supervisor and the commissioning party.

Results and conclusions

  • The end result corresponds to the set objective, and the scope of the analysis has been defined.
  • The reliability of the results has been evaluated thoroughly and expertly.
  • The conclusions connect the knowledge base, the output and the author’s personal reflection.
  • The results benefit the commissioning party and can be applied in the development of the practices or working methods of the professional field.

Ethics, sustainability and responsibility

  • The thesis follows responsible conduct of research and the ethical guidelines of the professional field.
  • The author has demonstrated commitment and responsibility during the thesis process.
  • The thesis has analysed sustainable development and responsibility from the viewpoint of the thesis topic.

Reporting

  • The structure of the report is consistent and clear.
  • The report is written in a fluent and factual style, and it is free from errors.
  • The titles of the images and tables in the report explain their contents clearly and unambiguously.
  • Sources, including image sources, are referenced according to the instructions.
  • Sources have been used/utilised in a versatile and critical manner.
  • The layout is finished and compliant with the instructions.
  • The seminar presentation of the thesis is in-depth and illustrative.

A portfolio thesis

In a portfolio thesis, the student methodically collects projects and other assignments completed in different stages of their studies into an entity. The work requires the formulation of a research problem/question related to the matter at hand as well as the utilisation of an appropriate research method.

Characteristics of a portfolio thesis include:

  • Research problems/questions are defined and created for the work and the appropriate research methods are selected.
  • The thesis process can begin immediately after gaining the information and skills necessary for creating the work.
  • The work enables the student to process and examine a selected theme from different perspectives in a number of projects.
  • The work consists of outputs produced in different stages of the author’s studies that form a cohesive entity (the outputs do not need to be in written form, but it must be possible to document them using images and video, for example).
  • The work includes a written report that compiles the different parts of the thesis.
  • The work emphasises a research-driven and development-oriented work approach, interest in the selected topic, goal-orientation and methodical approach, understanding of complex entities as well as the ability to commit long-term projects.

Guideline for the structure of a portfolio thesis

In Introduction, the author describes the background of the selected theme and justifies the need for it. They can also describe their interest in and starting points for approaching the theme. The research problem/questions are also presented in the introduction.

In Knowledge base of the selected theme, the author presents the knowledge base that binds the selected theme and the outputs together by exploring existing knowledge about the theme and by utilising studies, reviews and recommendations.

In Presentation of portfolio products, the author describes the products, the selection, planning and implementation processes related to each product as well the usability of the products. They also describe the research and development methods used and the links of the products with the knowledge base and the workplace.

In Conclusions on the products and reflection, the author reflects upon and critically assesses the portfolio thesis as a whole, the learning trajectory and any further plans. They also describe the feedback received from the commissioning party and critically examine their learning.

Assessment of a portfolio thesis

The assessment criteria for a portfolio thesis and their more detailed description are presented below. All items are assessed on a scale of 1–5.

Assignment

  • The thesis has a clear goal and purpose. The selected questions support goal achievement.
  • The selected assignment is topical and innovative and brings benefits for the workplace.
  • The assignment is feasible, and justifications are given for the topic delimitation.

Expertise on the knowledge base

  • Key concepts in terms of the topic have been selected for the thesis. They have been defined aptly and used fluently.
  • The selected knowledge base supports the thesis assignment.
  • The knowledge base consists of diverse sources that demonstrate strong knowledge of the topic, the operating environment and traditions.
  • The thesis demonstrates in-depth source criticism. The reliability of the sources has been evaluated analytically and expertly.

Practical implementation and methods

  • The thesis process has been completed independently and guidance has been utilised appropriately.
  • The implementation method of the thesis is fitting for the topic.
  • The selected method has been justified.

Applying theory to practice

  • The theory of competence areas supports the implementation of practical applications.
  • The student analyses the applicability of theory and practice in different competence areas.
  • The portfolio shows a clear improvement in professional competence.

Improving one’s own competence, ethics and reliability

  • The thesis follows good scientific and professional practice and the ethical guidelines of the field.
  • The author has demonstrated commitment and responsibility during the thesis process.
  • The author clearly assesses their competence and possibilities to self-improvement.
  • The thesis demonstrates the development of the student’s expertise.
  • The thesis has analysed sustainable development and responsibility from the viewpoint of the thesis topic.

Reporting

  • The structure of the report is considered and controlled.
  • The report is written in a fluent and factual style, and it is free from errors.
  • Sources have been used/utilised in a versatile and critical manner.
  • Sources, including image sources, are referenced according to the instructions.
  • The layout is finished and compliant with the instructions.
  • The seminar presentation of the thesis is in-depth and illustrative.

An article thesis

A thesis can be implemented in an article format, especially when the topic is particularly relevant or interesting to the general public/professional field and the results of the thesis have novelty value. An article thesis centres around article(s) written by the student. It is important for the thesis supervisor to be familiar with different publication channels and their practices. Before starting an article thesis, the supervisor must contact HAMK’s publishing services at julkaisut@hamk.fi.

An article thesis

  • is based on a research-oriented approach
  • is usually based on development needs observed in the workplace
  • contains one or more articles that are ready to be published
    • A Bachelor’s thesis includes, for example, two (2) HAMK Unlimited Professional articles or one (1) HAMK Unlimited Journal article, in which the student is the first author.
    • A Master’s thesis includes, for example, one (1) HAMK Unlimited Journal article and 1–2 professional articles, preferably directed at external channels, in at least one of which the student is the first author.
    • The supervisor and HAMK’s publishing services ensure the article’s eligibility for publication.
    • The student’s graduation does not depend on whether the article is published or not.
  • An article written for a Master’s thesis must demonstrate the student’s extensive knowledge of the topic and strong know-how on the topic of the article.

Points to note in an article thesis

It should be noted that the results of all articles must be previously unpublished. If the thesis contains several different articles, they must form a cohesive entity. The publication channels are selected together with the supervisor according to the objectives and character of the thesis. The article can be written together with the supervising teacher or other expert, but the authorship must be agreed upon (see TENK’s guide on Agreeing on authorship). The student must be the first author in at least one article. The acceptable publication languages of the article are Finnish, Swedish and English, but the article and the thesis report do not need to be written in the same language.

Guideline for the structure of an article thesis

In Introduction, the author describes the background of the selected theme and justifies the need for it. They can also describe their interest in the theme and the starting point for approaching it.

In Purpose and objectives of the thesis, the author presents the selected theme and the knowledge base of the thesis, justifies the selection of the article thesis implementation method and describes the goals of the thesis.

In Article process description, the author describes the articles, the selection, planning and implementation processes related to each article and the usability of the articles. They also describe the research and development methods used and the materials. Furthermore, they present and justify the selected publication channels.

In Conclusions on the products and reflection, the author reflects upon and critically assesses the article thesis as a whole and any further plans. The reflection also includes critical examination of personal learning.

In Appendices, the author includes the thesis articles and possible materials.

An article thesis centres around the articles written by the student. Therefore, the recommended length of the report is 15–20 pages (without publications and appendices).

Publicity and archiving of an article thesis at HAMK

All theses are public. If the objective is to have the article(s) published, only the thesis report is stored in Theseus without the articles. In such case, the articles should NOT be uploaded to Theseus, as this would make Theseus the first place of publication, and journals may no longer publish the article(s). If the article(s) have already been published, permission for re-publishing them must be requested from the publisher and, at the same time, it must be agreed upon which version of the article may be published (publisher’s version, final draft, etc.). This is particularly important if the thesis is to be published in Theseus, where the thesis is openly accessible to anyone. It is also important to request permits and clarify which version of the article can be published in professional journals, as e.g. images in the article may be copyrighted.

Assessment of an article thesis

The assessment criteria for an article thesis and their more detailed description are presented below. All items are assessed on a scale of 1–5.

Assignment

  • The thesis has a clear purpose and objective. The selected processing method supports the achievement of the target.
  • The selected assignment is topical and innovative and brings benefits for the workplace.

Knowledge base

  • The scope and perspective of the article(s) demonstrate a solid understanding and familiarity with both the topic and the selected publication channel.
  • Relevant and justified sources have been selected for the articles. The report section provides background for the selection of sources and assesses their reliability analytically and expertly.

Thesis plan and methods

  • The implementation method of the thesis is fitting for the topic.
  • The selected method is conscious and has been justified.

Implementation process

  • The thesis process has been completed independently and logically, and guidance has been utilised appropriately.
  • The implementation method of the thesis is fitting for the topic. The research framework of the thesis is appropriate and relevant.
  • The selected publishing channel is conscious and has been justified.

Results, products and conclusions

  • The results give an answer to the presented research problems/questions.
  • The reliability of the results has been evaluated comprehensively and critically.
  • The articles have been combined into a meaningful entity in the conclusions. The knowledge base, results and personal reflection support each other.
  • The article(s) share information related to research and development for the use of the professional community. The results of the article(s) are relevant and useful for the professional community.

Ethics, sustainability and responsibility

  • The thesis follows responsible conduct of research and the ethical guidelines of the professional field.
  • The author has demonstrated commitment and responsibility during the thesis process.
  • The thesis has analysed sustainable development and responsibility from the viewpoint of the thesis topic.

Reporting

  • The structure of the report’s contents is clear and logical.
  • The report forms a coherent whole also without the articles.
  • The report is written in a fluent and factual style, and it is free from errors.
  • Sources have been used/utilised in a versatile and critical manner.
  • Sources have been cited in compliance with the instructions.
  • The layout is finished and compliant with the instructions.
  • The seminar presentation of the thesis is in-depth and illustrative.

Theses started before 1 January 2023

If you have started the thesis process when the previous instructions were valid (before January 1, 2023), you can still use the instructions on this website. There have been no actual substantive changes to the instructions. Some instructions have been clarified and the accessibility of the appendices has been improved. The previous thesis guide (January 1, 2020) is available as a pdf file.

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