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Technology Innovation Management

Doing a thesis - the gate review process

Students who select the M.A.Sc. thesis option learn a host of valuable skills as they define a research problem, develop their research method and carry out their research. Students come out of this process as experts in their chosen domain of knowledge, confident of their analytic capabilities, and able to present their research results convincingly to any audience. A TIM thesis makes a significant contribution to the research literature in technology innovation management.

Students working on their thesis research take part in a gate review process much like that used by companies for product development. The gate review process facilitates the timely and logical completion of thesis research. TIM students have among the shortest completion times across all departments.

Gate reviews are held on a regular schedule in October, February, March and June. The gates used are:

  • Gate 0: Proposal of research topic (usually in the second term of study)
  • Gate 1: Proposal of research method (usually in the third term of study)
  • Gate 2: Dry run of thesis defence presentation (usually in the fourth or fifth term of study)
  • Gate 3: Formal thesis defence before an academic panel (usually in the fifth or sixth term of study)

Gate 0 is a research proposal that includes:

  • the objectives of the research
  • the specific research deliverables expected
  • the relevance of the research to researchers and managers
  • the anticipated contribution to the academic literature and management practice
  • the theoretical basis for the research
  • the research method to be followed
  • the description of the data to be used
  • how this data will be analyzed, and
  • proper references to the academic literature to be used.

A student can pass Gate 0 by making a presentation of his or her proposal. A standard template is used for all gate presentations. A student can pass a Gate 0 without a thesis supervisor.

Gate 1 is an elaboration of the information presented in Gate 0 with an emphasis on the appropriate collection of data and its analysis. To pass Gate 1, a student must make another presentation and prepare a "Gate 1 document". A gate 1 document is written in appropriate thesis format. It is in essence a thesis without data analysis and conclusions. More on the appropriate thesis format is available here.

Gate 2 is a preparation for the actual defence of the thesis research, which is Gate 3.

Gate review presentations are open to the public. Students in the TIM program are expected to attend both gate review presentations and subsequent formal thesis defenses.

Thesis development is described in detail in the TIM Thesis Development document.

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