April, May and June are considered the defining moments for all students pursuing higher education in Ghana. It is the period where many universities both public and private organise examinations and in many instances prepare to kiss goodbye to an academic calendar which determines whether you qualify for the next level or readies students for graduation.
Like all final year students the feeling of wanting to leave school climbs to a crescendo and the uncertain prospects of finding a job almost immediately could nonetheless turn sick to your stomach.
This can be the least of the worries for the fourth-year students who are constantly reminded of the deadline to submit their thesis or project work. The angst to meet deadline coupled with lack of co-operation from fellow group mates leave many dissertations hanging in the balance, making this thesis an utter nightmare for those who wish to graduate successfully from school.
Ask those who retake referrals- it isn’t always a pleasant experience let alone defer your graduation for the sake of thesis.
Stages of the Thesis Process.
A standard dissertation is composed of five chapters which begins with a research proposal to one’s academic supervisor who then approves the research topics and methodology before launching the entire work.
The first chapter introduces the problem under study, shows the research objectives and indicates the methodology designed to achieve the findings of the study.
Also Chapter two chronicles the theoretical framework and attempts to look at the related literature and research works found to be purposeful to the study. However, Chapter three examines the methodology used to achieve the research objectives. It specifically highlights the research design, population and sample data collection techniques and analysis.
Finally, Chapters four and five present the results or findings of data analysed alongside providing a summary of the research results, limitations, conclusion and recommendations for further study.
This process is by no means a taxing feat yet many of these works are tossed out over a period of time.
Dealing with project groups.
As some students find it increasingly difficult to co-exist in a group to undertake research works, Jonathan Aseidu a final year student of the University of Ghana shares in his sentiments.
He is working on a project with a colleague in a group but it appears they don’t see eye to eye.
” I don’t really know how the University pairs students, this is a guy who have had about 5 referrals-he is unsure of graduating with our year group, doesn’t show up for project meetings and yet he expects that I put together all the research work to meet with our supervisor. All this ends up on shelves of many university libraries”, Nketia nags.
It is estimated that about 80 percent of students who sit for their final exams are able to complete their dissertation in good stead while 15 percent struggle to resit a few courses they failed before eligible to graduate. Meanwhile, the 5 percent do not graduate because of peculiar factors such as lacking co-operation in a group and contracting “commercial researchers” who do nothing except plagiarizing other authors’ works.
Enoch Larbi will be finishing his studies in May at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, he reckons the challenge of co-operation puts his group in a state of gridlock but his only way out is to burn the midnight candle to produce every chapter needed for review by his supervisor.
Larbi tells me it can be “daunting” and “nightmarish to find out your other colleagues are further away from your chapter”.
However, he maintained that is the oxygen that drives him to work tirelessly day and night to meet the deadline.
Interactions I had with some continuing students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism who pleaded anonymity suggest, a huge apathy towards research works but they only undertake the study in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication studies. To them their hearts bled to think one day their hard-earned research findings may also join the trail of works packed under staircase of lecture halls.
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The question lingering on the minds of many graduates is why students go through all these hurdles only to find their findings of research aimed at solving societal problems gather dusts over time.
By William Boateng.