The Bologna plan introduced in Spain the obligation to prepare a graduation project, hereinafter TFG, to complete university studies. This final career step can be frightening or anxiety-provoking for many students.
This work is a test of intellectual maturity, in which a large part of the skills acquired during university training are valued.
What is a TFG used for? Simply put, entering the job market with a degree in hand. This six-credit subject aims to promote critical thinking, originality, planning of projects related to the diploma, students’ approach to the reality of work, rigor and oratorical techniques.
How to beat the shadows of the TFG?
Imagine that we are the protagonists of the Gallic village of Udenzo and Goscinny, Asterix and Obelix. Julius Caesar, inspired by the 12 labors of Hercules, challenges us: can these students pass the 12 TFG tests?
If so, I will grant them the title; otherwise, they will be sentenced to one more call, without being able to register in time for the master’s studies they would like to follow.
We go to Panorámix, who lets us drink a sip of the magic potion, to stop seeing shadows and escape from the platonic cave and become graduates. What is this magic recipe? In a few drops of perseverance, a few grains of a proactive attitude, a few sheets of logic, three glasses of critical thinking and the search for academic-working-class niches to explore, two tablespoons of detailed analysis and a few pinches of humility and know-how Listen.
the twelve trials
Our contemporary Julius Caesar presents us with the following proofs:
Find the theme, without fuzziness or frills.
Justify our proposal, objectively and subjectively.
Outline the hypothesis and its objectives, using a scientific method.
Establish a methodology without tangles, clear and precise.
Design a relevant theoretical framework.
Offer a critical and original experience.
Draw real, valuable and academic-professional conclusions.
Mark the strategies for the future.
Use careful academic language.
Set clear deadlines.
Achieve an impeccable defense.
First test: what should I focus on?
Finding the theme, without fuzziness or frills, is not a simple action. The player will have to use the potion, with the advice of the tutor, to study which avenue of investigation best corresponds to his profile.
You will need to find the the philosopher’s stone of the TFG. It will have to be a relevant question, which can be approached in a creative and academic way, which is not exhausted at the theoretical level, which is temporally framed and, in turn, well delimited.
Second try: why?
It is relevant that any academic work, such as that presented here, be justified objectively and subjectively. In objective terms, to pass the test, you will have to defend the social need to investigate the subject in question, as well as link the project to the subjects of the degree.
With regard to the subjective aspects, here the author of the work must demonstrate his interest in the investigation, without childishness.
Third test: approach
It is essential that the hypothesis and the resulting objectives are well established. Future professionals will have to grasp what motivates the investigation, what is the starting thesis, what one thinks before investigating, so that later, thanks to a careful methodology, approves, expands or denies this hypothesis.
The objectives will derive from the hypotheses, which are the guide of the work and must coincide with the conclusions.
Fourth test: methodology
How to deal with the problem posed? The key to this test is to document existing scientific methodologies, read a lot, take notes…
It should be borne in mind that in order to describe something in particular, the more general phenomenon must have been previously explained.
Fifth test: the foundations of the argument
This is to establish the theoretical framework: students must demonstrate solidity in the foundations that support their practical argument.
For this, the relevant bibliography must be collected, systematically ordered and without forgetting the definition of key concepts.
Test 6: Solution design
Let’s show Julius Caesar that we know how to design an experiment. We will have to solve the problem that we described as relevant at the beginning of the tests, in an academic way, without vagueness.
We can rely on the strategies applied in similar works by authors with more extensive experience than ours, while bringing our personal touch, and never forgetting to justify any decision.
Seventh test: conclusions
Having gone through the previous six steps, the author must draw the relevant inferences that flow from all of the above. They must, of course, be in line with the objectives.
To do this calmly, it may be good to give yourself a little distance.
Eighth test: look to the future
We must bring a vision of the future to our project. Otherwise, they will not grant us the quality mark and we cannot escape the a madhouse of Asterix and Obelix.
Ninth and tenth: the importance of forms
We must reference well: we will have to follow the system that the Faculty has put in place, or, on the contrary, opt for one and always be faithful to it.
Taking care of spelling and grammar rules, as well as making use of scientific language, which you will never find as a companion on the path to familiarity, is essential so that our work does not falter.
Test eleven: organization of time
Reasonable and realistic planning is the key to successful work. Be careful not to allow Morpheus to be part of this adventure! We must deprive ourselves of our mobiles during work time, as well as being in an environment that does not distract us.
It is important to distribute tasks by hours and use an alarm. It is better to work a few hours efficiently than to spend many hours in front of the screen without making much progress.
The weekly planner and a daily schedule with rest intervals are essential. Working for goals is a great motivator, and giving yourself small prizes of ten, fifteen, twenty minutes (the breaks should be longer, although timed, for each hour completed), too.
Test 12: The art of public speaking
The art of public speaking then comes into play. The court must be convinced that one is sufficiently capable of exercising on the labor market all the professions related to the title that he is intended to obtain.
The work should be presented congruently, showing the strategies of a good salesperson, in a formal format, with scientific rigor and aplomb.
Finally! Constancy, proactivity, critical thinking, in-depth analysis, logic, knowing how to be and how to listen and humility have allowed us to get out of the platonic lair of the TFG. With our title in hand, we can be proud of the enormous effort made. It wasn’t that complicated.