See Start February 2019

3. Working on your thesis

Agree with your supervisor on when to start writing the thesis. It is usually a good idea to quickly start writing the Introduction and Method sections. You will likely have to submit, adapt and re-submit your report multiple times before it meets the thesis requirements. Make agreements with your supervisor on when to submit which section of your report, ensuring you will have enough time to make any adjustments. Of course, the same applies to the final version of your report, as you might still require some time to implement the suggestions from your final meeting just prior to submitting the final version.

3.1 Content of the bachelor's thesis

The language used in the thesis is English. Reports for a client may be written in another language (e.g. German), but the report is not assessed as part of the thesis. You have many different methods you can use in your thesis, for example: an experiment, survey research, qualitative research (interviews), observational research, systematic review, secondary data analysis or a design assignment. The introduction to the thesis demonstrates a limited knowledge of the relevant literature; hypotheses should follow on logically from the research questions and literature.

The layout and content guidelines of the bachelor’s thesis are in line with the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. You may find these guidelines in the Publication Manual of the APA.

As concerns its layout and contents the thesis is equivalent to a research article in a journal, and therefore is to have the following structure:

  • Introduction (containing the statement of the problem and the hypotheses)
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion

You are free to add any subheadings. However, each report is to start with an abstract of no more than one A4 page in length. You are to determine the length of your report in consultation with your supervisors. The length should be roughly the same as that of a research article, i.e., 15 to 25 pages excluding appendices.

Though the APA style is to be fully adhered to, a number of exceptions exist and the following format settings apply (these settings serve as recommended settings):

  • Tables and figures are included in the main text;
  • Line spacing: 1.5;
  • Font: Times New Roman; font size: 12;
  • Margins: head, foot, left, right 2.5 cm; page headers and footers 1 cm from the edge;
  • Default tab stop of 1.25 cm;
  • Justify text (right margin is aligned)

3.2 Data collection and research results

If you want to use an online questionnaire for collecting your data, you can make use of the online programme called Qualtrics. Qualtrics is the survey tool that is available for staff and students in the BMS faculty. For information about how to set up an account for the Qualtrics tool by using a self-enrolment access code you can go to the Qualtrics website. Students working on their thesis can also make use of departmental software to collect and/or analyse data.

As the bachelor's thesis is written under the primary responsibility of the first examiner/supervisor and the student tends to work on an existing line of research of the supervisor or the department, the data collected are relevant to the supervisor/department. Sometimes, the research results will be incorporated in an article submitted to an academic journal, but this is more common in the master’s thesis than the bachelor’s thesis. Publication of the article will take place in consultation with the student, but is the responsibility of the supervisor. You will not automatically become the co-author of a scientific publication. This depends on, among other things, your input during the graduation research and the documentation of the results and on your willingness to help write the publication. You role is determined in consultation. In no case are you to publish your research without the explicit prior permission of the first examiner/supervisor. The same applies to press releases and any other contact with the media. 

If you have trouble with organizing your study or with the statistical analysis of your results, the Methodology Shop might be able to help you. Other options for specific support or advice:

3.3 Monitoring process and product

It is recommended that you and your supervisor together reflect on the product, process and communication at least a few months after you’ve started your bachelor's thesis project. The following issues require attention:

  • Product: what is the quality of the pieces the student submits, what are strengths/ weaknesses?
  • Process: is everything going as planned, do any adjustments have to be made, should the study adviser be consulted?
  • Communication: review the professional relationship, also with the external institute/company if applicable.