Master

3. Working on your thesis

3.1  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 please check:

Students working on their thesis project can also make use of departmental software to collect and/or analyse data. As the master'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.
Wherever possible, the research results will be incorporated in an article submitted to an academic journal. 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.

3.2 Monitoring product, process and communication & additional support

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 masterthesis 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.

To support you in (the reflection on) your masterthesis process also a meeting is scheduled on this. In this meeting, organized by the study adviser, at least the following topics are being discussed:
-       Masterthesis schedule
-       Study and research skills
-       Future (after finishing your master(thesis)
Besides this you can always make an individual appointment with the study adviser. You may consult her for all kinds of study related questions, such as the topics mentioned above but also in case of personal issues that affect your study progress.
Below you can also find several other options for (specific) advice and/or support:

3.3  Tips for writing your thesis

The final thesis (bachelor and master) layout and content guidelines are in line with the APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines (Publication Manual of the APA, most recent version). Succinctly put, these guidelines are the following. As concerns its layout and contents, the final 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, submitted both in English and in Dutch. 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 within your field, i.e., 10  to 25 pages excluding appendices. This applies to both the bachelor's and the master's thesis.

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).
-          always consult the APA manual 

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.

The following English-language thesis writing guide (on a website) is helpful should you be looking for more information and tips on how to write your thesis: