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General information Research Projects

Research projects in the Research Master Psychology

An important objective in the Research Master Psychology is to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for performing scientific research in Psychology. The goal of the research projects is to provide students with an opportunity to acquire practical experience in carrying out scientific research (including problem definition, making research designs and reporting), and to learn to work independently.

Research projects I and II (the Internship and Thesis) are a compulsory part of the programme of the Research Master Psychology. The Research Internship and the Research Thesis and the Thesis Proposal together should be at least  50. In the research internship, most students participate in current research projects, they are not responsible for designing the research question, nor for answering it. For the research thesis, students should develop their own research question and answer it, though this research may be in the framework of current research (i.e. be a part of a larger research).

Research project requirements

These research requirements should widen the scope and research expertise of students and prepare them for intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration later in their career:

  • the projects should be carried out individually;
  • the two projects should not focus on the same issue;
  • the projects should not be supervised by the same staff member;
  • the projects should preferably include an internal and an external project;
  • the projects should preferably be in both specializations of the student (major and minor);
  • students are not allowed to change an internship project into a thesis;
  • the internship must be completed in the first year and the thesis in the second year.

Publication?

If a research project could lead to a publication, the student and supervisor(s) need to come, to an agreement about who will be the first author and subsequent authors at an early stage. This should preferably be stated in the research proposal. Students and supervisors are strongly advised to work on publication of the article after the research project is graded: the timeframe of both Internship and Thesis is too small to cover this extensive procedure.

Research proposal

Both projects should always be preceded by an approved research proposal. The research proposal serves three important goals. First, planning ahead, formulating clear research goals, and designing a good work plan will improve both quality and timing of research. Second, the research proposal specifies what exactly the student will do and how the student will be supervised. This is relevant to determine the feasibility and to prevent delay. Finally, writing of a proposal provides the opportunity to train an important aspect of the student’s future academic career: how to write a convincing (grant) proposal.

Research projects should be planned such that it is likely that a student will finish a project at the end of the second semester (1st of July). To make sure projects finish in time, students and supervisors should discuss the progress regularly. The intensity of the supervision may vary but should at least be one hour every week.

The most up-to-date version of both the Research Internship proposal form and the Research Thesis proposal form can be found at Internship and Thesis

Thesis proposals are evaluated and graded by the Thesis Commitee. If the proposal has been approved by the Committee, the student receives 4 ec. The internship proposal is not graded separately.

Ethics Committee

Research projects should be approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty before data-collection starts. The supervisor is responsible for registration of the research at the Ethics Committee website: http://lab.uva.nl/lab

The Ethics Committee assigns a reference number to each research proposal. When students hand in their research proposal at the Thesis Committee, mentioning this reference number from the Ethics Committee is required (and sufficient). Please note that the project supervisor carries the final responsibility to get the research approved by the Ethics Committee.

If the research is conducted at an other university or organization, the student should consult the local supervisor to find it if there is approval or how to get from the local Ethics Committee, and the student report about this in the Research Proposal.

Peer reviews

Each Research Proposal has to be reviewed by two peers: fellow Research Master’s students, who are not necessarily an expert on this subject. Students are expected to make improvements according to the peer reviewer’s comments. When students hand in their research proposal, the two peer reviews should be included. Purpose of a peer review is to avoid obvious mistakes, and to write the proposal such that it should be comprehensible for non-experts on the topic. It trains the reading student to provide constructive feedback.

Handing in the research proposal

In order to hand in the research proposal, the supervisor(s) have to have approved the research proposal. The signatures of the supervisor(s) and student have to be on the research proposal.

The proposal and peer reviews should be mailed in PDF to this email address: thesis-researchmaster-psy@uva.nl. Students who do not manage to get the PDF document signed can hand in a paper version with the signatures on it as well. Please hand this in at the Research Master’s Psychology office (room 1.02).

• Internship students can start collecting data when there is approval of the Ethics Committee.

• Thesis students have to wait with collecting data until the Thesis Committee and Ethics Committee have approved and graded their proposal.

Thesis Committee review

A Thesis Committee member and the second assessor of the project review the Thesis Proposal. The Thesis Committee gathers and discusses the proposal and reviews. Their decision is emailed to the student within two weeks (10 working days). The decision can either be that the proposal is approved, or that a minor or major revision is required. Students are expected to revise their proposal within two weeks (10 working days).

Final report

Each project has to be completed with a written report.

• The Internship report is the research proposal with a results and discussion section added to it. Alternatively, a student may choose for the format of a journal article, with appendices for all research information that did not fit in the article.

• The Thesis report has to be in the form of a publishable article in a journal relevant for the topic. Obviously it is not a requirement to publish, nor to do so within the timeframe of the Thesis research.

Handing in the final report

The final report should be emailed in PDF to: thesis-researchmaster-psy@uva.nl. Together with the final report, the signed internship/thesis grading form, with the evaluations of the Research Master’s supervisor (and for the Thesis, of the second assessor), should be mailed to this email address.

Individual oral defense of Thesis

Students who conducted a Research Thesis should present their research work and results in an individual oral defense. This presentation should be in English, it should last one hour (including questions and discussion). For this presentation students book a room at the secretariat of the specialisation of their Research Master’s supervisor. Do set the date and time in mutual agreement with their Research Master’s supervisor. The Research Master’s supervisor has to attend the individual presentation for it is part of the grading.

Grading

The Thesis Proposal is graded by the Thesis Committee. The product and the process of the research project are graded by the Research Master’s supervisor (who consults the local/daily supervisor, if applicable). The thesis report (product) is also graded by the second assessor.

• The Internship grade is based on the research work and the research report.

• The Thesis grade is based on the research work, the report and the indivual oral defense.

The Research Master’s supervisor and second assessor have to use designated grading forms to evaluate the research projects. 

Poster presentation

All students present their Internship or Thesis on a poster at the annual Research Master Graduate Conference. 2015: Friday2 October

Budget

For each research project there is a budget to cover research expenses to a maximum of € 80. Students can charge their expenses at the secretariat of the programme group of their research supervisor, by showing proof (receipts) of the costs made for the research.