YSS-31306 Thesis Path MDR


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. CJM Almekinders
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. CJM Almekinders
drs. LFP Pijnenburg
dr. ir. GM Verschoor
Examiner(s)dr. ir. GM Verschoor
dr. ir. CJM Almekinders

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Participants follow the courses below in parallel to Thesis Path:
YRM-20806 Research Design & Research Methods; CPT-21304 Introduction to Technology, Agro-ecology and Development M; CPT-23804 Introduction to Communication and Innovation Studies M; SDC-21804 Introduction to the Sociology of Development, Knowledge and Change M.

Continuation courses:



The 2-year Thesis Path is especially designed for MDR students. It supports and links all course elements and the thesis in the MDR programme. During the Thesis Path students acquire additional (study and research) skills with respect to the development of their own social science research project (thesis), including literature search and use, reading and writing, and the (philosophical) basis for social science and interdisciplinary research. During the 5th and 6th period of the 1st year of the course students go through the successive stages of proposal writing: identification of a research theme, and development of a research problem, scientific positioning (in relation to disciplinary debates around the theme of research and in relation to differences in the natural-social science field), understanding the role of theory and the development of an appropriate conceptual framework, the formulation of appropriate research questions, and the link to methodology. The application of these steps is reflected in the development of a 2-page concept note. At the end of the 1st year or beginning of the 2nd year the students present their research proposal. After their field work, they present their (preliminary) results. Fellow students reflect on the presentation skills and provide input on the research plan and results.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate proficiency in the following academic skills: writing, reading and information retrieval;
- demonstrate a critical understanding of the differences between the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences;
- identify and apply the steps of a process that results in a coherent (MSc) research proposal;
- write a 2-page concept note for a MSc research project which describes, in a coherent way, the research problem, theoretical-disciplinary positioning, the research questions, the link to methodology, and scientific positioning in relation to social and natural sciences;
- present research-in-progress through a presentation of i) the research proposal and ii) the preliminary findings;
- assess fellow students' presentations of research proposals and (preliminary) results;
- critically reflect upon one's own knowledge generation and learning process.


- interactive lecturing;
- group work;
- literature study;
- writing and public presentation of own (partial) research proposals and preliminary findings;
- essay writing;
- peer review.


- skills: compulsory assignments completed at a sufficient level ('pass or fail');
- presentations and peer reviews: must be completed at a sufficient level ('pass or fail');
- philosophy: group assignment and presentation (50%);
- 2-page concept note on research proposal (50%).
Each (marked) component has to be at least a 5.5. The final mark will only be acknowledged when compulsory assignments have been passed.


- Hand-outs during lectures;
- Greasley, P. 2011. Doing Essays & Assignments. Essential Tips for Students. Sage publications;
- Robson, C. 2011. Real World Research. A Resource for Users of Social Research Methods in Applied Settings (3rd edition). Padstown (GB): Wiley;
- Tierney, E. 1996. How to make effective presentations. Sage publications.

Compulsory for: MDRDevelopment and Rural InnovationMSc1WD+2WD+3WD+4WD+5WD+6WD