M.Sc, Research Proposal and Thesis

M.Sc. research proposal

The research proposal shall be submitted to the Department secretariat in two hard copies (no binding) and in an electronic copy.

At the top of the first page of the proposal the following should be emphasized:

Name, ID number, name of supervisor and his/her signature approving the proposal, the proposal title (in English and Hebrew), the statement: “Submitted as a research proposal for an M.Sc. degree in the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology”, date of submission.

Research proposal format:

The research proposal will be written in English and should not exceed 10 pages (doubled spaced, minimal font size 11, not including the bibliography). The number of references should not exceed 20, and should focus on articles that directly relate to the research topic. It is important that the proposal be written clearly and comprehensively, while avoiding the use of terms unique to the field of research

The research proposal will consist of the following:

Introduction: The purpose of this section is to present the relevant scientific background underlying the research questions and methods presented in the proposal. This should be done in a critical and reliable manner, using an integrative approach. In general, the introduction should compose no more than half of the proposal. Citation within the text should be in the format of numbers (for example, [13]), or by the authors last name, when there are only one or two authors (Shoam and Zelikovich, 2018), or using et al., as customary in scientific journals (Shoam et al., 2020).

Hypothesis and Aims: In this section, the student should clearly define the research questions and objectives. Avoid focusing on technical methods and details, and focus on the biological goals of the research.

Preliminary results: a short description of the preliminary results, including graphs and figures supporting the results (each figure should be accompanied by a short legend explaining it).

Experimental Procedure/Design: This section shall describe the experiments performed in order to meet the defined research objectives. Include a brief description of the experimental setup, including the methods and materials used. The focus should be on the experimental setup (including controls and alternative directions in the event that the planned experiments fail to provide results), and should not list each chemical or instrument used in each experiment. If there are preliminary results supporting the objectives, these should be noted.

Materials and Methods: The methods shall be described briefly, and should suit the type of study.

Research Significance: describe how the study and its results contribute to research field in particular and to biology in general. Avoid generalizations and explain (briefly) the specific importance of the research objectives.

* Experiments requiring approval by the Ethics Committee (human and animal studies)- please emphasize the status of the request.

M.Sc. Thesis

General information on submission of the thesis can be found on the Graduate Studies Authority webpage.

Structure of the thesis (English):

  1. External cover
  2. Inside cover
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Abstract
  6. List of Tables
  7. List of figures/illustrations
  8. List of abbreviations
  9. Work structure: introduction, hypothesis and research objectives, methods, results, discussion and bibliography
  10. Appendix
  11. Hebrew abstract
  12. Hebrew inside cover
  13. Hebrew external cover

**Additional information can be found on the Graduate Studies Authority webpage

Principles of master thesis in the format of a compendium of academic papers:

  1. This format is an alternative to the standard thesis format published by the University of Haifa (as detailed by the Graduate Studies Authority). The supervisor shall decide which format to follow, in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate Studies Authority.
  2. The format of the selected scientific journal shall serve as a basis for writing the thesis, and it should comply with the journal’s “instructions for authors”. The journal should be known within the specific field of research and should publish full length articles. The student shall specify the name of the selected journal and attach the “instructions for authors”.
  3. Due to the difficulty in finding reviewers specializing in foreign languages and since English is the primary language for scientific communication, the selected journal should be in English and this thesis format shall be submitted in English only.
  4. The abstract shall be written in English and Hebrew, and should include four main sections: background of the study and the hypothesis; main methods; a summary of the results; discussion and significance. Both abstracts (English and Hebrew) should be up to two pages long.
  5. The introduction and literature overview should be similar in scope to that of a scientific journal (minimum 50 references). In certain situations, and according to the supervisors’ decision, an appendix can be submitted, which includes a comprehensive literature overview clarifying the background and/or methods relevant to the research.
  6. Hypothesis: should include the rationale for the research and the research questions.
  7. The research objectives should be explicitly presented.
  8. The methods section should be detailed enough so that the study may be repeated by other researchers.
  9. The results will be presented in a detailed and structured manner, integrating graphs and figures, so that the study may be repeated by other researchers. In general, tables, graphs and figures should be integrated within the text in their appropriate location (even if this is not required by the journal!). The results should be presented after statistical analysis, and the significance of the results should be clearly indicated.
  10. The discussion should include the conclusions and significance of the study. The findings should be discussed while referring to the main scientific literature published in the field. The discussion should also emphasize the significance of the research and its contribution to the field. When possible, future research plans should be presented.
  11. Citation of the scientific literature should be according to the journal’s format. If the article was published in a certain journal, then the bibliography should match its format.
  12. Given the length of the relevant scientific literature, the thesis will be 30-40 pages long in Hebrew (up until the bibliography) and 30-50 pages long in English, with double spacing (given the differences between Hebrew and English). *Thesis in the format of a compendium of academic papers shall be submitted in English only.
  13. The following sections should be included in the English (and Hebrew) version:
    1. Title of the thesis in Hebrew
    2. Abstract (see section #4)
    3. The appendix should include raw data as well as other data used in the study, such as tests, questionnaires, results of additional statistical analysis that do not appear in the thesis, and the “instructions for authors” (in the format of supplementary material).
    4. The thesis should also include a table of contents, list of tables, figures and abbreviations, as portrayed by the Graduate Studies Authority.
    5. The thesis should include an external cover in English and Hebrew, as portrayed by the Graduate Studies Authority.

Scientific journals as a basis for the thesis format:

When the thesis is ready to be written, the student and the supervisor shall discuss which journal best suits the research theme and methods. After this discussion, the student will inform the M.Sc. committee in writing of the journal to which the article is to be sent, including 2-3 alternatives. The committee will approve the journal based on the following conditions:

  1. The journal is known within the specific field of research
  2. The journal appears in an international database and is in English

Grading the thesis:

88 and above- the study is thorough and extensive. The student is a potential candidate for Ph.D. studies.

90 and above- an excellent study that significantly contributes to the field of research.

94 and above- the study has been published or is suitable for publication in a scientific journal of high quality.

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