The final project takes place in the second master phase (M2) and conclusion awards 30 EC. A final project must address topics in the area of the specialization. The final project must also have a scientific character. A final project normally concerns research, design (development) or a combination of both. Research in a final project has to be carried out according to a systematic approach and the results should be interpreted and verifiable. Design (development) has to be carried out according to systematic methods and techniques and should serve a scientific purpose. For example, prototypes that may be produced in a final project aim at either proving a method or some theory, but they should not be considered as the final goal of the project.
Learning objectives of the final project
For convenience we will first divide the main aim of the final project into four learning objectives, and then elaborate further those objectives:
After completing the final research project the student is capable of:
- identifying the research problem;
- performing a literature review & writing a theoretical/conceptual framework;
- researching the design or approach to the problem;
- collecting and analysing the data and/or designing and validating the design;
- drawing conclusions and giving recommendations.
As these objectives are still rather vague, we will elaborate on each objective below.
Objective 1: identifying the research problem
- The student has demonstrated that he/she is capable of independently formulating a relevant research problem for a relatively complex research or design assignment, including research and/or design questions and a corresponding strategy or general line of approach;
- He/she has provided systematic motivation of the choices made, based on an identification of the objective, the core problem and the relevant solution parameters on the one hand and on the theory and/or empirical considerations on the other hand.
Objective 2: performing a literature review & writing a theoretical/conceptual framework
- The student has demonstrated that he/she is capable of compiling representative scientific and professional sources (including recent scientific papers) which are relevant to the assignment and of assessing their importance in relation to his/her objective.
- He/she has also shown an ability to conduct a critical study and in-depth analysis of the relevant sections of the selected sources and, on the basis of broadening, integration and/or comparison of the various theories, concepts and models to develop his/her own ideas for the clarification and operationalization of the research question.
- In doing so, he/she has incorporated recent developments in the field relevant to his/her research/design.
Objective 3: researching the design or approach to the problem
- The student has demonstrated that he/she is capable of independently drawing up an action plan for carrying out the (design oriented) research.
- He/she is capable of developing his/her own conceptual apparatus or own adaptation of an existing apparatus and of specifying general abstract concepts in a valid manner for the empirical domain.
- The student has provided adequate motivation for the approach selected and has ensured that it follows logically from the research problem and the theoretical framework.
Objective 4: collecting and analysing the data and/or designing and validating the design
- The student has demonstrated that he/she is capable of independently handling the instruments for data collection and analysis in a valid and reliable manner, resulting in a data set and corresponding analysis results, the validity of which he/she has ascertained and which enable him/her to answer the research questions. and/or:
- The student has demonstrated that he/she can independently and adequately handle the instruments for designing, selecting and validating solutions, resulting in a design for the solution to the problem which meets the set specifications/requirements and the validity of which has been ascertained.
Objective 5: drawing conclusions and giving recommendations
- The student has demonstrated that he/she is capable of describing research and/or design results and of relating them to the research problem, the research or design questions and the relevant literature.