The most important basis for assessment is your written thesis. It is assessed, first of all, by your master supervisor at the university. The contents, the way of writing and the professional skills influence the final grade. Your supervisor at the company has a (strong, by the way) advisory role in this. To guarantee objectivity, your master supervisor will call in a so-called 'second reader', i.e. another member of the VU scientific staff who independently advises regarding your final grade. This second reader exclusively assesses the written thesis. Also for this reason it is important that the thesis itself gives adequate information on all relevant aspects of your Master research work. Therefore, it is not only the results that count; you must also describe the problem statement, research questions and design, a justification of the chosen methodology (in other words, how you get from problem to solution), and motivations for specific choices and decisions made during your research.
A good thesis will contain at least (excluding obvious things such as table of contents, literature references etc.)
- A problem statement (what is the problem to tackle, including positioning the problem statement in its societal or scientific context).
- An objective (what part of the problem statement is solved in the research).
- A description of your approach to reach the stated goal (methodology).
- The results reached; what you have done (and why) etc. This is the actual contents of your thesis.
- Conclusions: what is the upshot of the work you have done?
The thesis will be assessed by a combination of the following aspects, of which the first two are the most important:
- Contents of the work: both the achieved results and the scientific quality of the approach you have used to reach those results. The description of your approach is important, and mainly determines the scientific level. For example, give an overview of the used (scientific and professional) literature and research methods, and the way you have applied them to obtain your results.
- Your report: how does your oral and written work appear in terms of clarity of message, structure, and presentation?
- Your skills and attitudes. Can you plan and work systematically? Can you work independently? How do you cooperate with others?