Reporting format and language
In consultation with the tutors and at the start of the research project, the writing format of the Master Thesis COM needs to be discussed. Regarding the writing format of the Master Thesis COM a distinction between two formats can be made, based on the type of research and preferences of the student, tutor(s) and/or external organisation:
- Research article (English)
- Research report (English)
English as reporting language
Because the current language of the master programme Communication Studies is English, it is obvious that the language of the Master Thesis COM is English as well. Apart from that, in the domain of social or behavioural sciences, the main language is English. Most research articles are in English and it is therefore also beneficial to write the Master Thesis COM in English.
1) Research article (English)
The writing format of a research article has some advantages for both the student and also the tutors of the Master Thesis COM:
- The writing format of a research article is a familiar format, because most of the literature and research articles in the domain of social and behavioural sciences are based on this format.
- Writing a research article might hold the possibility for the research to be published in a scientific magazine.
The writing format of a research article is a more dense and compressed, containing less contextual information, as compared to the writing format of a research report. This writing format is more focussed on the academic and scientific implications of the research, based on the research proposition and subsequent discussion, as a result of the conducted research.
When writing a research article the actual reporting format is derived from the author instructions of a journal for which the research project could be interesting in terms of possible submission. Although, in order to be able to assess a Master Thesis COM written in an article format, following documents and additional information needs to be available and handed in:
- The Full-text of the article
- Documentation of collected research material (qualitative research)
- The SPSS-data file (quantitative research)
- The complete literature review
2) Research report (English)
In cases where an external organisation is involved, and/or if the research is based on a applied case study, it might be preferable to write a research report. A research report gives a more broad description of the research project. The research questions, research design as well as the methodological section are, for example, justified and described in more detail. The report will contain more contextual information concerning the (case) study, also for an organisation to be able to grasp the content and execution of the research. Therefore, and as a result, the volume of a research report will be far more comprehensive as compared to a research article.
The lay-out of a research report is primarily based on the standard professional and academic reporting conventions, which can be found in various handbooks on professional writing. Depending on the type of research, in terms of the research design, the lay-out may differ. Typically, even though, a research report will comprise the following sections:
I -Management Summary
II - Preface (optional)
III - Table of content
5.Conclusions (and recommendations)
IV - References
V - Appendices
Additional management report
When preferred, it is possible to write an additional management report apart from the research article or research report. This, for example, if a research article is preferred by the student and/or tutor(s), while an involved organisation is interested in a management report or summary of the most important findings and possible recommendations. Also an additional management report may be required in cases where an organisation is, apart from the research report, interested in a (more practical) report in a language other than English.
When writing your Master Thesis COM or conducting research in the domain of social or behavioural sciences, compliance to the APA-style conventions is an important requirement. In the bachelor and pre-master programme as well as during the courses in the master Communication Studies, compliance to the APA-style convention is continuously brought to the attention. Please note that plagiarism is the worst academic offence one can face as a student as well as a professional researcher. Thus, be absolutely sure that the consulted articles and other sources are cited correctly. This in order for the tutors to be able to distinguish between parts of the Master Thesis COM containing referenced work and parts that hold the ideas, design choices and/or reflections of the student.
The most recent APA-manual is available in the university library. Furthermore also consult the internet for available summaries of the APA-style conventions, such as below mentioned examples: