Preparatory Research Seminar (SAM690)

The course will give the candidate the best possible basis for developing a sketch for the master's thesis and thereby begin the process towards writing the master's thesis. The main goal of the course is to develop a project sketch and research design for the thesis.

Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.


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An important part of the thesis seminar is to create realistic expectations for the process of writing master's theses and to put in place realistic clarifications of expectations between the candidate and the supervisor.

In the thesis seminar, various research designs will be discussed. We will problematize choices made in relation to design, and present different task genres, and requirements that are set within each of these. Challenges in developing sharp themes and problem formulations are also discussed. We refer further to examples of good assignments written within different genres.

The main activity in the thesis seminar is to prepare a project sketch for your own master's thesis. There will be discussions about possible topics for master's theses, as well as information about possible topic wishes from external partners. Against this background, students will work with problem formulation, choice of a feasible research design in relation to the resources available, etc. As a conclusion to the assignment seminar, a complete project sketch must be submitted by 15 November. Instructions for submission are given on the course's Canvas page.

The project sketch will form the basis for the assignment of a supervisor.

Learning outcome

The aim of the preparatory research seminar is to develop a project outline and a research design for the master's thesis.

At the end of the course, the student is expected to:

  • be able to explain various research designs and which decisions must be made to create a project outline for a master's thesis
  • have designed a project outline that can form the basis of the master's thesis

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written assignment 1/1 Passed / Not Passed All

Guidelines for thesis writing at TNspecify the requirements for the master's thesis.The preparatory research seminar requires an approved project outline to receive a final grade in the course (passed). The project sketch is not graded, but the sketch must satisfy a number of requirements and will be assessed as a research design. Guidelines for sketching a master's thesis are communicated and discussed at the preparatory research seminar.The students can work together in pairs on the project outline if the master's thesis is to be carried out by the same two students. Failure to pass the preparatory research seminar could lead to a postponement of the assignment of a supervisor and delayed start of work on the master's thesis.The follow-up of the individual student in the master's work itself is carried out by the assigned supervisor.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Bjørn Ivar Kruke

Head of Department:

Tore Markeset

Method of work

In this course, lectures and plenary discussions are used as working methods.

Open for

Societal Safety - Master's Degree Programme

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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