In this post, I would like to summarize a set of resources that could be useful for your thesis and help you in moving forward. Let’s face it, your supervisor at the university is probably the one that will do the heavy lifting in helping you, but he/she cannot be your coach, your psychologist, your friend, and everything in between at the same time. His/her role is limited to guiding you in your thesis journey and steering the conversation in the proper direction.
You may receive support from proper offices at the university, open source initiatives, as well as from the web. Here, I will share my favorite set of resources. Some are strictly related to the university where I am currently working, however, many institutions offer similar services.
Support for writing and related work:
- Universities have dedicated facilities (in Tilburg it is called Scriptorium) to help with writing assignments, such as a paper, a report, or your thesis. These facilities offer individual support for writing in both the language of your bachelor/master’s thesis (whether it is Dutch, French, Finnish, or something else) and English. You can also get help with searching for relevant background literature, consulting specific databases, and with questions about quoting and source referencing. Do not misunderstand me, they will not do the work for you but they can provide you with guidance and feedback.
- Libraries have a collection of best practices on how to reference sources in the proper manner and avoid plagiarism. Ref Cite is the one of the Library of Tilburg University: It is a self-study tutorial explaining the why and how of working with sources in academic writing.
- Libraries (here you can find the link to the one of TiU) are also the natural go-to place for retrieving material for your thesis. Nowadays your library is probably digital and offers your remote access via dedicated VPN. Nevertheless, your resources may also be available in paper format.
Support for Software and IT in General
- Some software is expensive, some is difficult to configure, and some has special licenses for students/researchers/faculties member. The IT support (here the link to the one in TiU) may help you in navigating this labyrinth and solve the various software (and hardware) related issues.
- Data are an important ingredient for your thesis. Your library (link again to the TiU one) may have access to particular packages (datasets) that are not available in a common setting.
- Data are also available in the web. Possible sources include the one mentioned in this post as well the datasets that I recently released.
IT Resources Offered for Free to Students
Being a student is (sometimes) an asset. Many companies and no-profit associations offer special support to students for experimenting and conducting their researches. Here there are two that I believe should be mentioned:
- Amazon Education: offers for free both classes as well as free computing resources for practicing cloud computing and related skills.
- GithHub education pack: offers an entire set of IT based services as well as the GithHub pro version for free to students that apply for this program.
Online Communities in the Web
Online communities may also be a source of support, mentorship, and exchange of ideas. Here are two that you should consider joining:
- StackeXchange (here you can see my profile) contains many communities that can be helpful for programming, configuring applications, as well as handling research in general.
- AskAcademia in Reddit is also a nice (virtual) place for exchanging opinions of academia-related issues.
Problems in Organizing Your Time and Delays
Deviation from what is originally expected is more common than you can imagine. Universities usually offer dedicated facilities for covering these problems. In TiU, this is the case of the Dean of Students. This is where you can find tailored support in case personal circumstances cause unforeseen problems for you. You can also develop a personal roadmap or working/study schedule.
Personal Coaching and Mental Health in General
Let’s face it, Covid times are not easy for anybody. In this respect, universities are organizing services that are supporting the mental health of students and staff. If you are experiencing difficulties in focusing, you may contact a specialized service (again, here you can find the one of TiU as an example) that can offer tailored support for your specific issue.
Other Online Resources for Your Thesis
A bit of self-promotion here. I am curating a few guides with the aim of offering quick (but effective) tips and suggestions for delivering a good thesis. In particular, I would suggest you to look at:
- A curated set of articles for improving the various aspects of your thesis
- A curated set of articles for moving from “Script Programming” to Object Oriented Programming.
This article (Your Thesis and Help: Where to Get It When You Need It?) is part of the miniseries on how to do a good thesis. You can see the full list of posts at the following link: