Article 1. Objectives

§1 A research Paper is the capstone of the linking programme, in which the student independently further develops and integrates the knowledge and skills built up in the various course units. The importance attached to the Research Paper is reflected in the high number of credits (more credits than a regular course). A research paper is assessed by a supervisor and one commissioner, in accordance with the assessment criteria mentioned in Article 4.

§2 A research paper comprises a detailed research proposal on a political or social-scientific subject. It presupposes the formulation of a scientific problem, the elaboration of concrete (sub) research questions, a thorough literature study and the elaboration of a suitable and feasible research design.

§3 In contrast to the papers for some other course units, a research paper is an individual work. However, this does not exclude that several students may work on different aspects of the same broad subject, or that they may discuss their progress in group meetings. This is done in close consultation with the supervisor.

Article 2. Method

2.1. Guidance

§1 With regard to the course “Research Paper”, we make a distinction between the actual product (the research paper) and the guidance (including mandatory assignments).

§2 Each student is guided by a supervisor (a member of the professorial staff or a post-doctoral researcher / post-doctoral assistant). The supervisor is a member of the department of Conflict and Development Studies or a lecturer of the department. Assistants and scientific staff with the necessary experience and expertise and/or staff from other departments may also be involved in the supervision under the final responsibility of the supervisor. A co-supervisor from outside the study programme is possible. Co-supervisors do not grade the paper or assignments, but pass on their comments to the supervisor who may (if they deem the comments insightful) take them into account when grading the paper and assignments.

§3 The supervisor follows the guidance procedure as discussed in article 6.

§4 A supervisor may establish additional deadlines than the general deadlines mentioned above for specific steps when preparing the research paper. These are presented to students at the start of research paper process.

§5 In addition, the deadlines mentioned in article 6 also apply.

2.2. Choice of a research theme and supervisor

§6 Possible subjects are presented in the first few weeks of the academic year, during an information session. The topic proposals are also published by the supervisors on the Ufora infosite. Students can obtain information from the supervisors about the proposed topics; students may also formulate a proposal themselves and submit it for approval to a supervisor.

§7 In order to be able to guarantee the quality of a research paper, the research theme is, of course, situated in the field / research domain of the supervisor. In addition, the aim is to ensure a balanced distribution of students among the various potential supervisors.

§8 Each student communicates the chosen proposal via the online application “Plato”, as well as the name of the supervisor. The proposed supervisor gives explicit approval for this. This means that the student has to receive the approval of the supervisor first before submitting the proposal.

§9 Submission date 1th session: check the FSA website: This also applies to research themes with supervisors of outside the faculty.

§10 Anyone who does not meet this deadline, will be excluded from participation in the first exam session for the Research Paper. You only need to register once per academic year. If you register at the beginning of the academic year, you thus do not need to do this again for the resit period.

See also:

2.3. Approval of research theme and supervisor

§11 The supervisor's approval (necessary to submit the research topic) counts as approval of the proposal.

2.4. Submitting the Research Paper

§12 A research paper can only submitted electronically (upload on Plato).

§13 If a research paper is not issued before the specified date, the student concerned is not admissible for the deliberation, except in the case of force majeure. The supervisor, in consultation with the chairman of the examination board, decides if the reason for force majeure is valid. The student has to communicate this to the supervisor no later than the submission date.

2.5. Oral defense

§14 A research paper comprises a written report. Students do not have to prepare a presentation or orally defend their paper. 

2.6. The evaluation procedure

§15 A Research Paper is assessed by the supervisor and one commissioner, in accordance with the assessment criteria mentioned in Article 4 (and appendix). The study Programme Committee appoints a commissioner. The final score will be the average of the supervisor’s score and the commissioner's score. If the scores of both assessors differ by 4 points or more, a third reader is appointed (the third reader meets the same criteria as the supervisor and the commissioner). The final score is then the average of the three grades.

§16 The assignments with regard to guidance are evaluated by the supervisor

2.7. Feedback

§17 Each student is entitled to feedback on his/her paper. After the proclamation of the first and/or second examination period, the supervisor will provide feedback during the official feedback periods.

Article 3. The format of the paper

3.1 General form requirements

§1 A research paper takes the form of a fully completed study, including research question, problem definition and literature review, (sub) research questions and a research design and/or analysis plan.


a) Front pieces
- Title page (a standard title page is used. A template is made available on Ufora
- Abstract (min. 200 words, max. 300 words, Dutch)
- Word Count

(b) Recommended corpus
- General problem definition: formulation of the problem, context, interpretation of scientific relevance and brief explanation of the social relevance of the research and the research question
- Literature study
- Specific research questions/ hypotheses, possibly supplemented with a theoretical model
- Research design: detailed justification of the choice of research type, operationalisation of the research question and proposal of analytical methods
- Time schedule

c) Back pieces
- References
- Possible attachments

3.2 Source reference

§3 The APA system has to be used for source reference (see APA manual on Ufora). If mainly legal sources are used, in particular legislation and case law, the source references and methods of citation and abbreviation applicable in law have to be applied. The use of EndNote is recommended.

3.4 Size

§4 The length of the paper has to be between 4,000 and 7,000 words (not including abstracts, tables, references, footnotes and possible attachments). The number of words (word count) is stated on the title page.

! These minima and maxima may not be exceeded under any circumstances. If this is the case, the research paper will be declared inadmissible.

3.5 Other format requirements

  • Times New Roman 12 (and 10 footnotes) or Arial 10 (and 9 for footnotes) are the preferred fonts - line spacing 1.
  • Interrupt long(er) passages of text with subheadings.

Article 4. Assessment criteria

§1 The assessment criteria are laid out in the Research Paper Assessment Form (see appendix).

Article 5. Scientific transparency, language and plagiarism

5.1. Scientific transparency

§2 In scientific work all assertions always have to be properly and clearly substantiated. The writer has to enable the reader to follow the argumentation well and to estimate the scientific value and scope of each statement.

This means that the writer has to make clear how he / she came constructed the ideas (own experience, own data collection (how was the data collected ? where ?; when ? etc.). With each use of the ideas or empirical findings of others, the writer has to refer to the source (s) used in an adequate manner. He / she also has to make a clear distinction between one's own summary / interpretation and the literal citation of a source.

5.2. Language of course Research paper

§3 A research paper is written in Dutch. Upon simple request and with the supervisor's approval, the research paper can also be written in English or French. When a research paper is written in English or French, a summary in Dutch is required.

5.3. Plagiarism

§4 With regard to irregularities with regard to a research paper / Master's dissertation, or with regard to other forms of (written) reporting, the Faculty has drawn up Faculty Plagiarism Regulations (see Part 10 of the FOER).

Article 6. Guidance

6.1. Logic

§1 The subject 'Research paper' consists on the one hand of a guidance part consisting of information moments and work meetings, and the end product (the actual research paper). Both the input in the meetings and the actual research paper will be evaluated.

§2 During the guidance, formal assignments are given depending on the development of the actual research paper. The purpose of this is, in addition to guaranteeing the progress and quality of the research paper, to learn how to organise, elaborate and defend your own (research) project ("project management") and how to constructively cooperate with fellow students.

§3 In addition to the formal supervision activities, individual supervision is also possible by the supervisor or his or her employees at the request of students.

6.2. Practical implementation of guidance

§4 Various formal steps are provided for guidance

Introductory session
- Classroom session in the first few weeks of the academic year for all students following the course.
- Presentation of the course “Research Paper”, the different guidance phases, possible research topics and supervisors, the procedure for choosing a supervisor and the assessment criteria used.

Information moment per supervisor
- During the weeks following the introductory session, during the consultation hours of supervisors, or during a collective session with interested students.
- The aim of this session is to have exploratory discussions about the choice of a research topic.

Registering supervisor and research question on Plato
see FSA website via and

Progress meeting 1: topic and problem definition

- This session will take place before 1 December, in one session per supervisor, or in a collective session with multiple supervisors

- Students explain their topic and preliminary problem definition based on a short 2-3 page note, during which they also very briefly discuss which module(s) in the Methods in Political Science course they want to take as a function of their problem definition. This note also indicates relevant scientific literature on that topic that provides inspiration for working towards a problem definition (2 to 3 inspirational texts). Although it is still a work-in-progress, this paper is a "official" version (with references, a clear paragraph structure, etc.).

-The purpose of this meeting is to get students to think at an early stage how they can evolve from a broad idea to their own problem definition, using existing literature, and to adjust their writing style and reference technique. The supervisor can advise whether the texts proposed by the student fit well with the chosen theme and whether the student is on the right track to finding an interesting problem definition, building on the literature. During the feedback, the supervisor will also give advice on which module(s) from the Methods in Political Science course the student can best follow.

- Submission of the documents at the latest 1 week before the meeting via Plato.

Progress meeting 2: research question and design

This meeting takes place between 15 February and 15 March, during one session per supervisor, or in a collective session with several supervisors.

- Students orally clarify the theoretical part of the research paper on the basis of a document of 2 to 4 pages. In this document, the structure of the theory section is shown and explained. The different theoretical approaches are distinguished from each other and briefly described. This is an annotated table of contents. The document ends with the formulation of some working hypotheses or specific research questions.

- The aim of this meeting is to develop a clear, consistent and goal-oriented theoretical logic and a modified structure, which will be elaborated in a goal-oriented manner in function of clearly formulated research questions.

Submission of the note at the latest 1 week before the meeting, by email and on paper to the supervisor.

Submitting final paper, for dates see website FSA: and

6.3. Alternative trajectory per supervisor

§5 Progress meetings 1 and 2 can also be completed in writing, subject to the express approval of the supervisor.

6.4 Alternative trajectory for outgoing exchange students

§6 These students are not excluded from the assignments with regard to progress

§7 Progress sessions are completed in writing, according to the same deadlines. The supervisor can provide feedback on the submitted papers via e-mail or online.

§8 Erasmus students have to inform the supervisor about their exchange stay at the beginning of the academic year

6.5 Grading

§9 To pass this course, the students have to obtain at least half of the points for the paper. If this condition is not met, students will receive a grade lower than 10/20. If this condition is met, the grade is calculated as the sum of both progress assignments (20%) and the paper (80%).

§10 Compliance with deadlines, participation in sessions, and the quality of the two assignments are all assessed. Students can only receive half of the points provided for progression part if they meet deadlines, submit notes of good quality, and participate in sessions. To achieve more than half of the points, students have to provide substantively sharp contributions.

§11 Students who do not participate in the progress sessions will receive 0 out of 3 for this section of the course. They will not be excluded from submitting the research paper.

§12 For the assessment of the assignments, see the below guidelines:

- Session 1:

o Interesting, relevant and achievable theme?
o Good choice and discussion of inspiring texts?
o Initiation of political science problem definition?
o Reflection on which module from Methods in Political Science best fits the problem definition?
o Clear writing style?

- Session 2:

o Sufficient and relevant theory integration?
o Logical structure?
o Link to problem definition clear?
o Interesting and feasible research question?
o Adequate research design?
o Logical structure?

6.76 Second exam session

§13 There is NO second exam chance for the progress assignments (which consist of non-periodic evaluations). The points for the progress assignments are taken over to the second session.

§14 Those who do not participate in the progress assignments receive a 0 in 4, but are not excluded from submitting the actual research paper in the second session.

6.7. Disease

§15 In case of illness (legitimised with a letter of illness), a specific arrangement will be worked out in consultation with the supervisor - if this is practically possible and in line with the logic of the progress format.

§16 The sickness regulations as applicable to exams also apply.

Article 7. Additional requirement for those who failed the research paper and have to resubmit it at a later time

Students who did not pass the research paper and who resubmit at a later date, have to add a separate document, in which they (a) provide an overview of the changes made, and in which they (b) indicate how they have taken the reports and the comments on the earlier version into account.


Research Paper Assessment Form