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What Adaptations Between a Premaster’s Thesis Proposal and Report Reveal About Research Execution

Sat, April 18, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Hyatt, Floor: East Tower - Purple Level, Riverside West


Textbooks on thesis writing and research methods pay little attention to the process of
executing research. Based on the idea that deviating from a plan is visible in the changes
made from a proposal to a final report, we looked for patterns of change by comparing the
proposals and final reports of 24 (pre)master’s students’ theses. By means of a grounded
theory analysis we compared adaptations between (pre)master’s proposals and reports. We
found that the quantity and quality of adaptations varied widely. Overall, insertions,
deletions, and edits resulted in detachment from the practice setting, theoretical embedding
and scientific improvement. Other changes, however, reflected students’ indecisiveness and
disorientation. Detecting change proved to be difficult because of localization and
interpretation issues.