Master Research Project HMS


Course Objective

The objective of the master research project is to gain insight into the
various components of the research process, as well as the cohesion
between the various components. The intention being: how to phrase a
question, formulate a hypothesis, prepare and perform experiments,
classify data, interpret results (theory development) and write reports.
Students are then able (under supervision) to apply this insight when
preparing, performing and reporting on scientific research. This
objective is mainly concerned with the technical aspects of scientific
research. During the master research project you will also have varying,
often valuable, experiences. You will experience what it is to plan a
research project from start to finish and to independently implement it,
and that working with others is an interesting and often educational
experience and you can immerse yourself in a subject that interests you.
You may also experience what can go wrong and how you react to such

Course Content

A master research project has to meet a number of requirements, which
are formulated as follows:

1. The research is based on a subject that offers an adequate challenge
2. The research is performed in an ethically responsible way
3. The research is performed in a methodologically satisfactory manner
4. The research adds to, or is based on the theory valid for the
scientific subject.

The following assignments are compulsary:
1. Submit an individual research proposal within two months after
the start
2. Submit an individual final report
3. Present your work during one of the seminars
4. Attend at least 12 seminars
5. Upload the final version of your report to the library database

Note: At the end of your project you have to hand in all electronic
data, paper-based data, etc. (see contract for details) to your
supervisor. Your grade with not be valid as long as you do not fulfill
this requirement.

Although it is still allowed to do this research with a partner, it is
strongly encouraged to work on (slightly) different research questions,
as each student has to write an individual report and give an individual
presentation. However, working with a partner has major advantages
during the hands-on phase of the project (such as building a set-up,
recruiting participants, collecting data, etc.) and having a sparring
partner for discussion facilitates decision making.

The length of the master research project is 24 study points (EC). In
exceptional cases this can be extended to 30 EC. The decision to invest
30 EC in the master research project has to be arranged well in advance
of the start of the research project and not post-hoc. Such an extension
has to be approved by the Examination Board of Human Movement Sciences.
You should request this extension through VUnet, where you have to
provide a clear reason for the extension (for example an extra
assignment or the development of equipment). This request should be
accompanied by a written statement of approval and an explanation as to
the content of the extension by your supervisor from Human Movement

A master research project usually follows the following phases:

1) Choice of the Master Research Project
It is the student's own responsibility to find a suitable research
project and a supervisor. These are possible ways to proceed:
• Check whether the list in Master Research Project possibilities
on Canvas contains a project of your liking. If so, contact the
• Contact a potential supervisor (a member of the academic staff
of Human Movement Sciences), tell this person that you are interested in
doing your research project under his/her supervision, and ask for
• If you have a good idea for a research project yourself, ask a
member of the academic staff of HMS whether s/he will be your
For some research topics it is strongly advised that you first follow
specific courses from the Master program. It is therefore encouraged to
decide on a research project as early as possible.

It is also possible to undertake your Master Research Project outside
the department or even abroad. It is strongly recommended that anyone
doing a project abroad should participate in an existing research
project there. In this way you will profit from the knowledge already
available at the foreign location. When you undertake your Master
Research Project outside the department or abroad, you will always need
a supervisor from Human Movement Sciences.

2) Supervision
All master research projects, also those carried out outside the
faculty, must be carried out under supervision of an academic staff
member of the faculty. This supervisor has the final responsibility for
the project. You are entitled to approximately 35 hours supervision

Your research proposal, your final report and your presentation will
also be assessed by a
second assessor. The role of this second assessor is that of an
independent reviewer.

3) Preparing a proposal
Once the subject and the supervisor(s) have been determined, a research
proposal must be prepared. The proposal should describe the aims, the
approach and the theoretical framework within which the project is
defined. In addition, in the plan you will have to formulate your
research hypotheses and explain which experiments and statistical
analyses you will apply to test your hypotheses. Finally, you must
prepare a time plan and an overview of the equipment you will need (if

This Research proposal is the first assignment of this course and it has
to be uploaded on Canvas within two months after the start of the
project. Only after approval by your supervisor are you allowed to start
with the actual research project.

4) The Ethical committee
Every research project needs approval of the Vaste Commissie Wetenschap
en Ethiek (VCWE) of the faculty before the actual start of the project.
In some cases the process can be limited to an extension of an already
existing ethical approval, but it might be necessary to obtain approval
for your specific project. In those cases where non-invasive experiments
are performed, using healthy, adult volunteers, usually only the
approval of the VCWE is sufficient. More information about this
committee can be found on the FGB website.

The Ethical committee application is ALWAYS the end responsibility of
your supervisor. This means that he or she will have to sign and, if
necessary, defend the application. If your project includes measurements
on patients, or invasive measurements, approval from the Medical Ethical
Committee of the VUmc, or another hospital will be necessary. In that
case the procedure might be lengthy, up to several months.

5) General lay-out of a master research project
Of course, the master research project is implemented according to your
own work plan and the supervision agreement. But generally the
implementation of an project can be divided into the following stages:

• An (extensive) read-up period
• Writing the research proposal
• Application for approval of the Ethical Committee
• Practice with measurement settings or instruments, and pilot
• Making an exact plan for the research
• Collecting data
• Data processing
• Data analyses/statistics
• Interpretation of the results
• Write-up and presentation of results

It is recommended that you take into account the inevitable delay when
preparing your planning. Make sure you have regular meetings with your
supervisor; this can often be advantageous for your progress.

6) Final Report
Each student has to write an individual report, even if you conducted
the research together with a partner. The report should be presented as
a scientific paper. It is, however,
possible to deviate from this, depending on the project, project
location and supervisor (for example by dividing it into chapters or by
adding supplements). The report should follow the standard structure of
a scientific paper.

Standard sections of a research report are:
• Abstract, keywords
• Introduction, including the research questions and the hypotheses
• Methods
• Results
• Discussion
• Conclusion
• References

The report is written in English. A Dutch summary can be added to the
report when this is required by the institution, where the work is
carried out.

The preferred style for referencing is the APA style for psycho-socially
oriented reports (see
referencing/apa). For more medical-biological oriented subjects, the
preferred style is the Vancouver style. See the link to the site of
Monash University for more details on this style of referencing
( Decide
together with your supervisor which style to follow.

7) Presentation of the Research
You are required to present your results individually after the report
has been approved by your supervisor(s). At these presentations, you are
requested to present your results following the standard scientific
structure, and at a level that will make it understandable for a
scientifically trained, but not necessarily specialized, audience.

8) Attending seminars
Students have to attend at least 12 seminars organized at the faculty,
in which students present their
Research Project. Students can start attending the seminars during the
last Bachelor year or the
Premaster’s programme of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement

These meetings are not only compulsary, but also very useful. It can
work to your advantage to take note of what fellow students have to say
about your research and/or the presentation. Besides this, it is also a
good opportunity to meet students who are at the same stage in their
research as you and who run into the same problems.

Teaching Methods

During the implementation of your master research project you are
entitled to approximately 35 hours of supervision time. Your supervisor
is required to comment on and to return draft and final versions within
two weeks. It is important that you agree beforehand with your
supervisor about when you will hand in your drafts and when these will
be discussed. Obviously, these agreements are mutual: both parties are
expected to adhere to the planning. By preparing a good plan with your
supervisor and by writing down agreements in a contract,
planning problems can be
prevented. In the case that a dispute should arise with your supervisor,
this can be taken up with the Coordinator of the master research
project. If the
coordinator also happens to be your research supervisor, you can turn to
the Education Director (dr. Kirsten Bijker).

Method of Assessment

When assessing the master research project the supervisor and second
assessor have to agree on the mark that is given. The mark consists of
four components:

1. The research proposal (must pass)
2. Research process (30%)
2. The final report (60%)
3. Presentation (10%)
All components have to be assessed with a pass. More details about the
assessment can be found on the Canvas site.

The final report has to be uploaded by every student on the Canvas
page for a plagiarism check. Whether, and to which extent there might be
a case of plagiarism will be to the judgment of the Examination Board.
Since plagiarism is considered as a serious offense to the scientific
codes, any form of plagiarism might lead to serious sanctions.

Entry Requirements

There are no formal prior requirements for starting the master research
project, other than being registered as a Master student in Human
Movement Sciences.

Additional Information

For questions about a research project for a specific track, please
contact the following persons:
- track Rehabilitation: Dr. Han Houdijk
- track Biophysics in Sport: Dr. Jo de Ruiter
- track Sport Psychology: Dr. Raoul Oudejans
- track High Performance Coaching: Prof. Dr. Geert Savelsbergh

General Information

Course Code B_MARESPRJ
Credits 24 EC
Period Ac. Year (sept)
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Fac. of Behavioural and Movement Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. H.A.M. Daanen
Teaching Staff dr. J.H.P. Houdijk
dr. J.H.P. Houdijk
dr. R.R.D. Oudejans
dr. C.J. de Ruiter
prof. dr. G.J.P. Savelsbergh
dr. K.E. Bijker

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Target audiences

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