Case study integration within a thesis?
April 5, 2011 11:36 AM   Subscribe

How to approach (personally created) case study integration within a thesis?

For my senior (undergrad) thesis I'm demonstrating and expanding upon common industry techniques by showcasing my own work. For context, the industry is game design, with my thesis revolving around specific ways to improve, through iteration, level design.

So I've got two levels I've made (maps) that I want to discuss, but there's not a whole lot of precedent to look to in terms of implementation because the industry is less academic than many. If anyone with experience with academia / theses in general could answer I'd be very thankful:

1. Does it make more sense to cover techniques, industry practices, existing literature beforehand, and then to launch into the case studies, or would it be better to try to work them in constantly throughout the paper?
2. What's the deal with self-reference in thesis writing? Does it differ by discipline? (if it matters my honors is in Information Sciences) Do I straight out say "I chose to..." etc. or do I avoid personal pronouns entirely? It may also be relevant that I have sold the two maps' distribution rights to a reputable company.

Advice in general would also be appreciated.
posted by MangyCarface to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
Best answer: Do you have a supervising professor for this thesis? I would think that person is the best qualified to answer these questions. For #1, I'm not sure, because I'm not in game design and not familiar with your topic. For #2, if you were my student, I would say yes, write about your own work in the 1st person, but I also know that both disciplinary and personal expectations on that matter would differ. So really, you need to ask whoever is going to be reading your thesis what he/she prefers.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 12:11 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Look at other theses written in your department/school even if they're not in your subject area. If there's a standard format it will be pretty clear regardless of topic. Then, yeah, talk to your supervisor about how to structure it because they're your main and best resource there.

The one's I'm familiar with, including my husband's computer science honours thesis (similar level to yours), followed the standard scientific structure. So literature review first covering all the background you're talking about in your #1, methods/results section showing what you did (with references to previous methods where applicable), then a discussion of the results, interpreting them and relating back to the previous literature (so this is where you'd say why yours is better etc). Even if you don't do the separate literature review, splitting out what you did from what it means is a pretty common structure and is a lot clearer than trying to do everything all at once. It's easier to write if nothing else.

As for first person etc, that's highly field and school dependent so your supervisor will be able to answer it.

You're not trying to impress other people in the games development industry, you're trying to fulfil the academic requirements of your University. Thinking of it like that should help guide you towards a good structure.
posted by shelleycat at 3:31 PM on April 5, 2011

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