An important part of the master’s programme is the master’s project. In working on the master’s project, students learn to integrate the knowledge, skills and academic attitude that they have acquired in the course of their studies.
Choosing a topic
A master’s project is directly linked to the ongoing research which is subsumed under one of the lines of research of the Institute for Education and Child Studies. Each half year staff announces which projects are available for participation and students can register for one of these.
The project proposal
A master’s project must be well prepared. This preparation should result in a clear, structured project proposal, including a realistic time schedule. The importance of a good project design cannot be overemphasized. A clear project plan offers direction and help in carrying out the master’s project, and good planning of the activities offers both the student and the supervising staff member the possibility to evaluate the project’s progress.
The implementation phase of a master’s project can only begin once the project proposal has been approved by both the first and the second supervisor.
The project proposal should include the following:
1. the title (or preliminary title) of the master’s project;
2. a short introduction including the aim and the background of the study, as well as the research question;
3. the theoretical context of the study;
4. the structure of the research, including the research design and methods;
5. the time schedule of the different stages of the research project;
6. a preliminary literature list.
Supervision of the master’s project
The first supervisor is one of the lecturers/staff members. This first supervisor offers support in determining the topic, making contacts within the field and during the process of writing the various parts of the thesis. Moreover, this supervisor also monitors the progress of the master’s project.
The second supervisor evaluates the project proposal and must approve it. In addition, the second supervisor evaluates the final result (the master’s thesis). The second supervisor participates in the supervision process through the first supervisor and has, generally speaking, no contact with the student. At any stage of the project the first supervisor can, if necessary, ask for advice from the second supervisor, or involve him in contacts with the student.
Achievement levels: 1-19.
The general course objective of the master’s project is to be able to independently set up, implement, analyse and report on theoretical or empirical research relevant to Education and Child Studies, making use of relevant publications. All elements of the research process must be included, although not all elements have to be given an equal share of time and attention.
Meetings are planned by the supervisor and collaborating students themselves. Regular meetings with the thesis supervisor are foreseen.
Mode of instruction
Individual research under supervision.
Written research report. The final report of the master’s project (the thesis) should be no longer than 30 A4 pages with 1.5 line spacing and font size 12 (excluding appendices). The thesis should also include a summary of a maximum of 300 words. This summary should succinctly inform about the context of the research, the research question, the research design, the results and the most important conclusions. The lay-out of the thesis must conform to the publication guidelines of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological association (5th ed.). Washington: Author.).
Once a master’s project has been completed, the final report (the thesis) and the implementation of the project are evaluated by the first and the second supervisor.
This evaluation may take no more than three weeks. By the end of this period, at the latest, the student will be informed whether or not the report is of sufficient quality and what the final mark is. The final mark consists of the average of the marks given by the first and the second supervisor.
There are six global criteria involved in evaluating a thesis and in conducting the research, which are:
- Methods and degree of autonomy
intensity of supervision
use of the supervisor’s feedback
sufficiently independent work
- Structure and legibility of the thesis
orderly lay-out and division into chapters and sections
clear formulations, correct use of language
consistent theme, internal consistency thesis consistent with the publication guidelines of the APA
- Compilation and processing of literature
relevant scientific literature has been studied
literature has been adequately processed
the APA guidelines have been applied
- Research methods and procedure
systematic description of the research method applied
sufficiently explicit steps
methodological justification of the chosen procedure
adequate methods of collecting materials
proposal correctly implemented? All changes reported and justified
- Processing and description of research results
adequate methods of analysis, sufficiently justified
sufficient depth of analysis of the materials
correct description of the results
the conclusions and recommendations match the results
reflection on research results on the basis of theory and previous research
different points of view sufficiently distinguished and contrasted
reflection on scientific and social consequences and relevance
Relevant literature on the research topic.
Contact persons per specialisation are:
Child and Family Studies dr. D. Arnoldus
Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies drs. S. Richter
Learning Problems and Impairments drs. J. Renee
Educational Studies dr. C. de Brabander
Coach for Learning and Development prof. dr. A. Espin
Applied Neuroscience in Education and Child Studies dr. L. Alink