How to write a project plan
All master students have to hand in a project plan for the thesis and a contract of supervision one semester before they are to submit their thesis.
The purpose of the project plan is to make sure that you are ready to start working on the thesis when the semester starts.
You have to hand in your project plan together with a signed contract of supervision at the reception (12th floor in Eilert Sundts House).
The plan will be evaluated by the master committee, who will most likely approve it. Alternatively, if the committee finds that parts of it are not sufficiently specific or for other reasons should be revised, you will get feedback on what changes are needed, with a corresponding new submission deadline.
How to structure your project plan
The project plan must be sufficiently detailed so that we can be confident that it is feasible as a master's project. The project plan should consist of the following points:
- The purpose of this section is to show that you have a clear idea of what you are writing about, and are able to give a motivation for why this is an interesting topic.
- The purpose of this section is to show that you have an idea about how to approach your topic. You may point to a paper with a model that you can use if it is a theoretical thesis, or point at the econometric method and kind of data you have.
- The purpose of this section is to show how you will obtain your data.
- Data are usually less available than most students think. The data that are there may not have all the information you need. Unless you check that you do have relevant data before you start the main work on your thesis, you are most likely in for a surprise.
- If you want to collect data (e.g. in an experiment) as part of your master's project, you don't have to document that you have access to the data already, but that your plan for data collection is feasible (e.g. that you have funding for an experiment).
Status of knowledge
- There is no point writing a thesis on a problem that is already studied. (e.g. the topic: ‘What is the demand function corresponding to a Cobb-Douglas utility function?’ is unsuitable for a thesis.) If someone else has already written about the exact same topic, there is no point doing it again. Thus you need to check, what do we know about this topic, and were do I add something new?
Outline of your master thesis
The purpose of this section is to start thinking in terms for the final product, to make sure that the plan includes all the part required.
Here is an example:
- Introduction: A discussion of negative externalities of studies and why it is economically interesting
- The model of friendship: Here I will present the model of Ellison and Steinfield (2007), and adapt it to my problem, and discuss how to estimate it with the data available.
- Data collection and summary statistics: Describe how I have collected the data and some summary statistics of the collected data.
- Regression results: In this section I will present the results for the regression based in the model from section 2 estimated on the dataset.
- Discussion: Discuss the economic implication of the derived results
- Include some references you might use in your thesis.
Signature from your supervisor
- Your supervisor has to accept and sign the plan before you hand it in.
- Your supervisor’s signature confirms that you have written the plan in cooperation with her or him.