Upon completing the Research Proposal course, the students will gain the following knowledge and skills:
- formulate a clear and specific research question based on a well-defined research problem;
- develop a comprehensive research framework based on the review of the scientific literature;
- develop a coherent research design for data collection, analysis and validation;
- write a well-structured and well-argued document in the form of a research proposal;
- provide constructive peer-to-peer feedback on the proposals of fellow students;
- plan and manage own learning process in preparation for the master thesis project.
This course builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in the MEEM Academic Research Skills course. At the same time, it forms the preparatory stage for the MEEM Master Thesis. As such it consists of the following steps:
While this seems like a linear process, you will move back and forth between steps 4 and 6. This is not unusual, but it is important that you keep regular contact with your supervisors (especially the 1st), if only to avoid unnecessary loss of time.
- choosing your specialization;
- getting assigned two supervisors
- choosing your thesis topic;
- conducting preliminary research into relevant theories and methodologies;
- determining your research question(s);
- writing your draft proposal;
- submitting your final proposal.
There is a dual process across this course:
- The lead process consists of periodical meetings between the student and (1st) supervisor(s) to discuss and go through the steps 3-7. There should be at least 2 meetings during this process: one at the start of Q3 (first Ideas / most important work arrangements), and one at the end of Q3 (discuss draft proposal/ make follow-up arrangements for Q4). Ideally, the students also arrange for a mid-Q3 meeting to discuss and evaluate progress and make new arrangements with their supervisor.
- The support process includes several compulsory activities that students should participate in. These activities are outlined on Canvas, and will include, among others: a peer-to-peer presentation and discussion of draft research questions (and supporting theory and methodology), and a workshop on conducting a literature review.
Time planning of the lead process is arranged between the student and (1st) supervisor(s), and for the support process by the course coordinator. As this is a 3EC course, it involves a nominal workload of 84 hours, so about 1 day a week across the 10 weeks of the quartile.
While the lead process is specifically linked to the individual student's thesis project, the support process has a more generic scope, which contributes both to the lead process and the general understanding of what makes for good scientific research. The students can use their own project to reflect and compare the content and progress with that of others
Activities in the support process require participation in all compulsory activities to get a ‘pass’, while the lead process is about the assignment of producing a proper thesis proposal to get a ‘pass”. Both ‘passes’ are required for obtaining the final pass on the whole course.|
A pass on the thesis proposal does not exclude the possibility that thesis supervisors may later require improvements as part of the Master Thesis course (in quartile 4). The assessment (pass/fail) in this course is on having made proper progress that addresses all key components of a thesis proposal and reflects a basic understanding of relevant theories and methodologies. If that is not the case, then a ‘fail’ is given, which means that improvements should be made (until a ‘pass’ is given) before this course is concluded.
A ‘fail’ given for the support process implies that a replacement assignment will be prescribed (for each activity that was not seriously participated in). Only when sufficiently fulfilled, can the ‘fail’ assessment be changed to a ‘pass’.