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Disseminating your thesis

Disseminating your results is a part of the academic process. You can do it by presenting papers at conferences or seminars, producing posters, and, of course, publishing in journals and books. You may choose to disseminate your masters’ thesis by including it in your institution’s electronic archives (called self-archiving). In doing so, you make it available worldwide for free download to anyone who has access to the Internet.

Written presentations

When you have submitted a thesis you have acquired new insights. If you would like to share this with a wider audience than your own teachers and peers, an op-ed on your topic might be a good channel for communicating your findings.

Choose a newspaper or journal that is likely to be interested in your topic. If your research concerns students and part-time jobs, a student paper like Universitas or Studvest might want to publish your article. Is your topic of national interest? Try the daily press. To enhance your chances of being published; try linking your findings to current events. A topic like students and part-time jobs might be of interest in the autumn, around the beginning of term. If you have written on climate change in the Norwegian Arctic, you may want to present your findings in a scholarly journal, e.g. Klima. Always be conscious of your target group and genre.

Have someone read through your text before you present it to its intended audience; they may have ideas about how you can improve your text, and they can provide new perspectives to enrich its content. 

Take particular care:

  • that you have clear transitions in your text
  • that you have intermediate titles
  • that the different sections of the text progress logically

This will help you structure the content and make it more easily available to your readers.

Oral presentations

Who is your audience?

  • How much information do they have on the topic already?
  • What is their relationship to the topic; is it academic, work-related or of private interest?
  • Is a summary of the topic sufficient or do you need to go into greater detail?
  • Does the audience expect a formal or informal presentation?
  • Give the audience space for their own thoughts

How should the presentation be structured?

  • Formulate a title which is short, catchy and precise
  • Select a suitable amount of material to fill the time you have available
  • Indicate what you are going to say, say it, and finally; summarise
    • You should state clearly in the introduction what you are going to speak about. The aim of the introduction is to capture the attention of your listeners and stimulate their curiosity
    • Then present the main points of the argumentation and ensure you cover everything you want to say
    • The conclusion should clearly emphasise your main points

Visual aids

Use visual aids to reinforce your message. Some correlations can only be explained through, or with the help of, visualisations.

  • Poster presentations
    • The title should be short and poignant
    • Carefully design your pictures, illustrations and captions
    • Use as little text as possible
  • Presentations made using PowerPoint or similar software and a projector:
    • The programs are simple and intuitive to use
    • To design your slides, you can select a pre-set template suitable for displaying text, graphs, tables and pictures
    • Do not exaggarate the use of effects such as animations; they can easily draw attention away from your message
    • A good template uses around 15 slides for a half hour presentation
    • Editing electronic presentations is easy. You can quickly amend slides and where required make corrections immediately before the presentation
    • Make a printout of your slides in case of technical problems
  • Your presentation can include:
    • Experiments, demonstrations
    • Pictures
    • Graphs
    • Animations
    • Videos  
    • Web pages
    • Handouts
    • University logo and graphic profile (Check with your institution)

Can you check the room in advance?

  • Equipment  
  • Sound  
  • Positioning of the audience  
  • Lighting, room temperature, ventilation
  • Legibility of slides/transparencies  
  • Do you have compatible software?  

Tips for presentation 

Before the presentation:

  • Make sure you know the contents of your presentation well! 
  • Show what you know and make yourself understood
  • Keep to the time schedule
  • Practice the presentation (even though you are not nervous)
  • Write a manuscript or notes, but prepare to talk freely, rather than read your written text out loud

During the presentation:

  • Remember good manners:
    • At the beginning: Thank for the invitation after you have been introduced and before you start the presentation.
    • At the end: Thank the audience for their attention.
  • Think about communication; look at the audience, maintain eye contact. 
  • Speak clearly; use a microphone to avoid shouting. 
  • Pay attention to body language. Avoid fumbling with your hands.
  • Do not allow the audience to interrupt as this can easily distract you. Ask the audience to wait until the discussion section at the end. You are the speaker and you decide how the presentation will be carried out. You have been allocated a period of time, and it is up to you decide how that time should be spent.
  • Make sure there is time for questions from the audience at the end. Remember that no one expects you to be able to answer all questions.

Self-archiving

Many university colleges and universities offer master’s students the opportunity to self-archive their theses electronically in the institutional archives.
Some institutional archives in Norway:

All these archives make research carried out at the relevant institutions freely available on the Internet. Works can be retrieved using search engines such as Google Scholar. If you wish to make your master’s thesis available in this way, you must find out about your institution’s submission procedures. Some institutions allow you to self-archive your thesis at the same time that you submit it for examination. Other institutions will only allow self-archiving after the examination process has been completed. It is never too late to self-archive your work. Contact your institution if you decide later on that you wish to self-archive.

Publication vs. self-archiving

If you wish to have your master’s thesis published commercially as an article, chapter or book, it is important to check the publisher’s policy on self-archiving. Some publishers consider self-archiving as equivalent to publication and may reject your manuscript on this basis. The situation varies from publisher to publisher. Accordingly it is important to think carefully about how you wish to disseminate your text before you self-archive. Otherwise you may find that you have inadvertently limited your options. If you have signed a contract with a publisher you can always self-archive in the future.

If you have published an article, you can self-archive it if your publishing contract allows this. In Norway, the publishers’ and authors’ associations have collaborated to produce a standard contract for publication in journals, which permits self-archiving.

Under this contract, the publisher has non-exclusive rights regarding the digital publication, duplication and publication of the work. The author may include the work on her or his own website or that of her of his employer.

With regard to international journals, consult the Sherpa/Romeo database. This database contains information about most publishers’ and journals’ policies on self-archiving.

Contact your institution’s library if you have questions about copyright, self-archiving and the dissemination of articles in different versions. For more information about Open Access publishing and self-archiving in Norway, e.g., about Norwegian publishers’ practices, see the Norwegian website openaccess.no.

Sources:

Dysthe, O., & Kjeldsen, J. E. (1999) Skriveråd for studenter (No. 1/99). Bergen.

Vaage, S. (2001) Perspektivtaking, rekonstruksjon av erfaring og kreative læreprosessar George Herbert Mead og John Dewey om læring. I O. Dysthe (Red.), Dialog, samspel og læring (s. 129-150).

‘Learning Support Services. Skills for Learning. CD-rom version’, 2004.

Last updated: March 11, 2014

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