What I have learned… Where I did mistakes…Confession of the young researcher


Dear friends,

Today I want to share with you my challenges and wins in writing a thesis paper, provide you with a piece of advice to improve your online learning experience and propose some recommendations to advance this course.

First, to my fortune, I easily chose the topic of my research that I am passionate about: teacher leadership. BUT! It was not so easy to identify the focus of research, because leadership is very broad and big phenomenon. Then I decided to compare two perspectives on teacher leadership: principals` and teachers`. Because in most cases the big difference in interpretation and perception can lead to misunderstandings and misleading practice of leadership roles. Next top to climb was the formulation of research questions. It was so hard sometimes to stay focused on research vision and purpose. Different irrelevant and vague questions came to mind. My instructors` supervision and guidance saved the situation. Thirdly, literature review. That was the most challenging mission for me! I have found tones of articles, and all of them seemed so important, I decided to include them all, staying behind the research topic. As a result, primary version of literature review looked as a silly shopping list. Last concern was connected with interview questions. What I need to ask to reveal the valid responses and get reliable findings? The questions seemed very broad and far from the research focus.

However, this course helped to fix some practices in stating the research questions, organizing literature review, selecting and justifying proper measurement instruments and methods. Weekly writing assignments with limited word count, attached guidance and clear instructions helped me to represent the ideas as concise and transparent as possible. I used to apply long and descriptive introductions, where in the surge of hundred words the reader cannot get the main idea and gets lost. Robyn suggested me to wear the potential readers` shoes and use short and simple constructions easy to understand.

The only 2 suggestions I would like to promote is changing the format of this course. I suppose it is rather better to organize it as a blending course. When students can attend face-to-face elective courses and then have some practice at home and submit the take –home assignments online. The second is to practice writing the mini-thesis during the first study year. It would be more beneficial to exercise mini-thesis writing skills before conducting a real master thesis. Otherwise, it is really distracting from the main full-thesis.

If nothing changes and format of the course remains the same I recommend to online learners the following tips to survive:

  • Appreciate the time
  • Do not create any excuses to justify laziness
  • Follow strictly the assignment requirements
  • Any concerns? Consult the course instructors and group mates
  • Write everyday: even 100 words a day on assignment
  • Take a breath: put the draft away. After some period of time, proofread it again with the fresh mind
  • Save all the drafts in Google Drive


P.S. Through the thorns to the stars!!!!


5 thoughts on “What I have learned… Where I did mistakes…Confession of the young researcher

  1. Aigerim!

    Thank you for this post! I especially liked two things. First is your comparison of a literature review with a silly shopping list. This is hilarious =) The other thing that drew my attention is your recommendations for online students. I agree with the things you have listed. I believe that following the rubrics, contacting the course instructor and writing little by little contribute to successful course completion.

    Wish you all the best,


    1. thank you with tr sharing s about huge mount of literature experience. I also, found too much literature for my thesis last time. Now I understand that some of them were not necessary for my thesis. I do like yr comparirison with shopping list. I see my drawbacks too.


  2. Dinara,

    The idea of the mini-thesis in the first year is now under discussion in the office. Thank you very much for a thorough post with solid recommendations. I am all for blended learning too.

    I wish you success with your main thesis.

    Ann 5/5


  3. Aigerim,
    I think this was a thorough journey for all of us. I hope that at the and we all will succeed. I agree with you on the point of blending learning because in online learning students feel isolated and abandoned.
    I find your tips very useful, especially the time. Time is the thing that you no matter what must appreciate while doing so many thing at a time.



  4. Indeed, thesis writing is a daunting task for all master students. Unbelievably, I need to start writing my thesis after several months. At the moment, I am a bit nervous.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and tips for thesis writing. I think the most important thing might be the time management. Thesis writing needs to be scheduled, and we should carefully follow our timetable. Moreover, writing drafts can be useful for revision.
    To all thesis- strugglers, I would recommend your relevant tips and I hope that we can finish our theses in time and with good quality.


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