TU Delft
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2013/2014 Technology, Policy and Management Master Complex Systems Engineering and Management
CoSEM Thesis Project Definition
Module Manager
Name E-mail
Drs. J. Ubacht    J.Ubacht@tudelft.nl
Name E-mail
Dr. J.A. Annema    J.A.Annema@tudelft.nl
Dr. A.F. Correlje    A.F.Correlje@tudelft.nl
Dr. M.E. Warnier    M.E.Warnier@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Required for
SPM5910 SEPAM Master Thesis Project.
Expected prior knowledge
Preferably the student is in the second year of his/her master programme.
This course prepares students for their thesis project; the intended output is a concrete master thesis research proposal. In this course students participate in training exercises that focus at writing (a) a research proposal and (b) a literature review in the form of a scientific article.
Additional skills training in professional networking is offered (see SPM7070).
Course Contents
Students will orient themselves on a (thesis) subject; do literature research, will critically review scientific papers and write a scientific review paper.

On the basis of this, they will write a research proposal that includes well-formulated research questions and deliverable, a research approach, an overall research design with a selection of research methods and techniques and make a project planning.

Also the student will participate in a peer reveiw process in which two concept scientific articles and draft research proposals will be assessed.

And the student will reflect on the peer reviews that s/he received.

Skills training offered: professional networking (see SPM7070).

Final deliverables:
a project plan and a scientific article.

In order to get access to the Master Thesis Project both deliverables need to be graded as sufficient (>= 6.0). All final deliverables will be graded according to a fixed list of criteria, available on blackboard. All other assignments during the module have to be handed in and have to comply with the assessment criteria.
Study Goals
After concluding this course students will be able to:
* develop a research design for their master thesis proposal
* write a scientific paper
* conduct a literature review

In order to reach these main objectives, after the course students are:
* skilled in literature research
* can read and review scientific articles critically and constructively
* can write a scientific text
* can formulate research(able)questions
* can draft a do-able research plan including a conscious and justifiable choice of research methods and an accompanying time schedule
* have acquired additional skills in professional networking (see SPM7070)
Education Method
Selft study with intensive, interactive workshops; attendance and active participation are required.
Peer review is an important learning activity in this course.
Computer Use
The use of reference manager software as a database for your references is advised.
All final products are checked on correct use of literature and originality with a scanner for plagiarism.
Literature and Study Materials
Except for the book by Verschuren & Doorewaard most of the materials will be available on blakcboard and handed out during meetings.
Practical Guide
SPM5905 is a separate 6 ects preparatory course and has different learning objectives than the master thesis project (SOM5910).

The scientific article and project plan are clearly meant as preparations for your actual graduation project. But it is of course an option that you will continue working on your proposal to make it fit for your graduation commission for your actual graduation project. Therefore it is efficient to already know the domain or topic that you wish to graduate on, so you can use the SPM5905 work in your graduation project.

On the other hand, delaying your participation in this course until you are sure of your thesis subject does not make sense either. On the contrary: the course is intended to help you explore the scientific field you are entering into. It is an opportunity for learning and training to be well prepared for the real thing: your master thesis.

Required: Piet Verschuren and Hans Doorewaard, 2012, Designing a Research Project. Boom Lemma Uitgevers | 2nd Revised edition, July 2012.
When you enter this course, we expect that you:

1. know how to find scientific articles using e.g. Web of Science or Scopus (these are library information skills);
2. know how to store references, e.g. by making use of a database such as EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero;
3. know how to include a bibliography (in which a database can support);
4. know how to include references to other people's work correctly (citations or paraphrasing):
5. know how to acknowledge other people's input;
6. are proficient in writing in academic English

Students will hand in nine assignments in total. All assignments need to be fulfilled.

The grade will be based on the final versions of:
- a scientific paper of 2500-3500 words in a scientific format (50%)
- a project plan of 2000 - 3000 words (50%)

Both assignments should be graded at least 6.
Enrolment / Application
The course is scheduled four times a year, every study quarter. This is a demanding course. Because of it's structure (peer-review process) hard deadlines are maintained; full commitment is expected!

For exchange and double degree students only, an adapted on-line verison of the course will be running from September till December, followed by three weeks of intensive preparation and workshops in January to allow these students to start their thesis project at the start of the 4th semester.
Please contact dr. Bertien Broekhans of the POLG section for further information.

As SPM5905 is prerequisite for starting your SPM5910 Master thesis project, you must fulfill the spm5905 requirements before you can start with your Master thesis project SPM5910.

The final products of SPM5905 are a project plan and a scientific article, which are written as an excercise during this module. Preferably (but not obligatory) you can continue working on the project plan towards a project plan for your master thesis project, with input from your graduation committee during your SPM5910 Master Thesis project.
2nd year SEPAM students preparing for their master thesis project.

All other Master students who take an interest in this course need to consult the module manager in advance to discuss participation in this course.

Extra Skills Trained
During the course there will be training in professional networking skills (see SPM7070).