Thesis process

Some general guidelines to a successful research project. 

(Note that all advise is personal, and your own supervisor may disagree)

Intended for: BSc, MSc, PhD


1. Take responsibility

2. Meet your supervisor when you think you need input. 


3. Start writing early 

One of the biggest mistakes during a thesis/research project is that you think writing should come at the end.

Therefore, at the start of your thesis, always initialize the following documents (which you share with your supervisor):

4. Your first writing does not need to be perfect. 

Students often get a writer's block because they think all text needs to be perfect in the first try. However,  the opposite is true. 


5. Start with a toy problem. 

Always try to debug your approach as quickly as possible. 

6. Make sure you have all third-party dependencies ready before the start. 

This especially applies to thesis projects in collaboration with an external partner, such as a company. 


7. Reflect, reflect, reflect. 

Research is an iterative process. Therefore, one of the most important things during a project is your ability to reflect on your choices and generated results.

8. Pretend you're the reviewer. 

A reviewer is someone who critically judges your work (as a BSc/MSc student, this is your thesis committee, while for a PhD student, these are the conference/journal reviewers). 

9. Kill your darlings. 

A classic problem in research is that you get stuck in your own research idea. You have been working on an idea for a long time, and you are sure it should work. It already partially works, but now you are continuously tweaking your algorithm a little bit, which each time only results in unstable and marginal improvements.