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research competences
master thesis
methodics of educational work
scientific research methodology in methodological disciplines


A master thesis is a first comprehensive research paper within the framework of formal education, realised at the second cycle academic studies. At the University of Montenegro, master studies candidates are engaged in a research leading to the design of a master thesis. This paper aims, based upon an empirical research, at assessing research competences of preschool education students, for whom the methodology of education and moral education is a basic course unit. For a successful research, the students need competences as regards scientific research methodology, with professional qualifications implied. This research applies combined methodology (qualitative and quantitative), and the initial research question is as follows: What research competences and to what extent have been acquired by preschool education master studies candidates? This question has been operationalised for the purpose of designing a questionnaire that has been fulfilled by the students (n = 33) and by their supervisors (n = 11), by means of focus group interviews. The questionnaire has been delivered in an electronic form and the results have been statistically processed. With regard to the latter group of respondents, the results point to difficulties in understanding the majority of methodological elements, with special emphasis on the following: lack of expertise concerning the design of relevant sources preview, stating hypotheses, and description of research method and procedures. On the other hand, the former group of respondents features self-confidence and they assess themselves as being methodologically competent. Taking into consideration the factor of experience – enormously relevant in these matters – we claim that our master studies candidates are only at the beginning of their efforts as regards the acquisition of methodological competences and that the development of such competences requires systematic and gradual planning through a series of course units, starting from the first year of academic studies.
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