Master Thesis and Colloquium

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Fact Box
Module
representative
Gerhard Hartmann
Credits 24
Term Term 5
Workload 600 h


Intended Learning Outcomes

The Master Thesis shall exhibit the students competencies and abilities to

  • research
  • solve and
  • critically debate the solution of

an advanced problem of the domain Web Science within a given time. The solution has to be based on concepts, principles and methods of the contributing disciplins. The critical debate has to comprise the choice, application, implications and effect on results of the approaches.

The Colloquium consists of two parts: a presentation and a defense of the work.

Master thesis seminar

Regulation

The regulations concerning the Master Thesis and the Colloquium are specified in the examination regulation ([1]).

Detailing the examination regulation, the examination board has decided that professors actually offering courses in the programme are elegible as examiners(supervisors) of the thesis. In order to clarify section 26(1) of the examination regulation the examination board has stated that for admission it is required to have passed all module examinations except - of course - the Master Thesis.


The Master Thesis including the Colloquium is a 24 ECTS (credit points) module. This means that the expected student's work load for the completion of the Master Thesis is: 20 times 25 hours = 600 hours.

The objective of the Colloquium is to determine whether the examinee is capable of orally presenting and independently justifying

  • the findings of the Master’s thesis
  • its scientific and methodological fundamentals
  • inter- and multidisciplinary contexts of Web Science

and of assessing the thesis’ significance for practice.

The Allocation of ECTS points for Thesis and Colloquium are 20 : 4 Credit Points.

Criteria for Master Thesis topic

The following list make no claims of being complete, but are supporting criteria for challenging the master thesis topic.

  • Contributon to science / the field of research: this means that the topic has the potential to deliver a possibly small but at least noticeable progress in the scientific area(s) it is sited in.
  • Personal contribution: the topic should allow the student to deliver a noticeable personal contribution. This may sound the same as the point before, but the student should be able to point out and describe this personal contribution in the expose and in the master thesis as well. The personal contribution can be implemented in several ways. Possible examples are:
    • Exploring, structuring and/or classifying an until now not fully examined area of science
    • Applying existing scientific methods to new areas (which until now were not subject of this method)
    • New combination of methodology / body of knowledge with contemporary technology.
    • Applying existing methods to a concrete use case, scenario or application field, which until now was not addressed with this method.
  • Appropriate workload and self-restriction: Operationalizing the thesis problem statement in a project plan must lead to a workload which suits the number of credit points associated to the masters thesis. The art lies in contentual restriction of the topic, still ensuring progress in science and personal contribution.
  • Independence from external factors: The planned execution of the steps in the project plan should be independent from external factors outside the control of the master candidate.

Formal Hints

All formal requirements (as you were trained on in your first semesters) must be met. Additionally, the last page of your Master Thesis must contain a declaration in the following form:


Declaration I hereby declare that this master thesis was independently composed and authored by myself. All content and ideas drawn directly or indirectly from external sources are indicated as such. All sources and materials that have been used are referred to in this thesis. The thesis has not been submitted to any other examining body and has not been published.

and this declaration has to be signed by the student (signature, location and date, i.e.: Jane Doe, Cologne, 2nd january 2015)

We highly recommend the use of the LaTex template (thanks again to Christiane Grünloh!): LaTeX#Templates_for_the_Web_Science_Programme

Practical Hints

A typical workflow for the Master Thesis and Colloquium is:

  • The student makes up his or her mind about the question in which domain(s) of Web Science he or she would be interested for the Master Thesis. Perhaps there is also already a research question he or she would like to work on.
  • The student talks to potential supervisors in order to discuss potential areas or research questions for the thesis. The work until the official assignment of a topic depends on the discussion with the supervisor(examiner). The author of theses lines typically proposes a rather intensive discussion leading to a exposé containing a motivation for the importance and relatedness to Web Science of the topic, the formulation of a research question, the sketch of a approach to tackle the question, and a initial list of literature about related work. It is important that before the official assignment of the topic the student is convinced how and that she or he can come to a answer of the research question.
  • If the Master Thesis is being performed in the working context of a company, the second supervisor is intensively engaged in the discussion of the topic.
  • After the official assignment, the student has five month to complete the work. He or she may submit the thesis also a bit earlier, but - except for strong reasons (see exam regulation) - not later. In this phase the cooperation with the supervisor is typically less intensive, because it is expected that the student is expected to do the work in a self-dependant way.
  • After submission of the Thesis the first and second supervisor evaluate the work and invite the student to the Colloquium, if the evaluation results in the grade "sufficient" or better. The two supervisors(examiners) and student are the participants of the Colloquium, which is to be performed on site. In the Colloquium the student defends his or her Thesis. The Colloquium typically ends with congratualting the students to his or her newly earned Masters Degree.

Academic Writing

We would like to refer to the following sources:

Forms

You can find the necessary forms on the TH Website, e.g.