The final stage of the master program consists of writing a master thesis. The master thesis (18 ECTS) is the ultimate individual examination, in which the student demonstrates his/her skills as an independent academic researcher. The thesis builds on preceding courses, and the student will use the knowledge and skills that were acquired over the entire Bachelor and Master program. The thesis is a proof of the student’s ability to conduct solid scientific research at the master’s level. This includes designing studies, collecting data, properly analyzing results, and reporting on the whole process in a scientific and accessible way.
On successful completion of the thesis, students will be able to:
- identify and define a problem relevant to the field of social psychology;
- evaluate critically the literature relevant to the problem, integrate knowledge and ideas from various perspectives in the literature, ;
- develop a novel research question and subsequently formulate hypotheses based on the reviewed literature;
- apply the appropriate research methods in psychology to test hypotheses, including research design and data analysis, while taking into account best practices in social psychology, as well as interpret data to answer the research question;
- discuss the outcomes in relation to the hypotheses and previous work, discuss shortcomings of the method and/or findings, and describe implications for both theory and practice;
- reflect critically on the conducted research by noting its limitations and translate findings and limitations of the current study to implications for science and/ or practice;
- present all of the above in a scientific report (thesis) written in proper academic English, while using the most recent APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines;
- demonstrate an academic work attitude in both thesis process and product. This means that students demonstrate the ability to use feedback from supervisors in a constructive and conscientious manner and demonstrate the ability to conduct the research independently.
Type of thesis
The master thesis is a report of an empirical research study conducted in Economic or Work & Organizational Psychology. Data can be collected through an experiment (in- or outside the ESP lab) or through field research (experiment, quasi-experiment, survey). The master thesis will be written in English. The thesis takes the form of a scientific journal article, ready to be submitted to an APA-journal.
The topics available for the master thesis are closely related to the research programs of the different research units that participate in the Social Psychology master program. Staff members who are involved in this master program are also supervisors of the master thesis. A list of supervisors and their research topics will be published on Canvas.
The result of the master thesis project is a contribution to either a theoretical issue or a practical issue. The problem statement involves the central problem that the student aims to resolve through the master thesis research. It contains one or more specific research objectives that should be addressed in the study. The scientific relevance of the study should always be clarified. The criterion that we use to determine whether a study has scientific relevance, is whether the results of the study add new knowledge and insights to the fields of Economic or Work & Organizational Psychology. The research type may vary in nature; one can conduct, for example, a hypothesis-testing study, a validation study or a replication of existing research in a new context. Also, a specific practical research question of an external company can serve as a starting point. In all cases, the study should have a scientific foundation, use scientific methods and result in a (possible) scientific publication.
Master thesis proposal
Before being able to conduct the actual research, the student needs to write a master thesis proposal (form will be available on Canvas). Only after this proposal is approved by both the supervisor and second assessor, the student can start the master thesis research.