The Honours+ Student Manual
Stay on track with this overview of deadlines!
Welcome to Honours+
Dear Honours+ Student,
It is our pleasure to welcome you to Honours+, Maastricht University’s interdisciplinary excellence programme for all Bachelor programme Honours students.
Over the course of six months, participating in the Honours+ programme will offer you plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself, further develop useful academic and professional skills, and explore other academic fields and disciplines in order to broaden your knowledge and expand your academic mindset.
Honours+ was specifically designed to bring Honours students from all faculties together and add value to your bachelor education by doing so.
We have been working hard to organize and coordinate a highly educational but also a fun programme for you and hope you are excited about participating as we are about creating an optimized learning environment for you to flourish in. Honours+ will be centrally coordinated out of EDLAB, Maastricht University’s institute dedicated to education innovation at UM.
In this student handbook, you will find everything you will need to make your Honours+ experience a grand success. We advise you to read it carefully and make sure you are familiar with the information at all times.
We wish you a fruitful and inspiring Honours+ endeavour and look forward to seeing you and all that Honours+ helped you accomplish at the Honours+ Closing Event in May.
The Honours+ Central Management Team
Guidelines to Being a H+ Student
First things first; in order to help you get the most out of your Honours+ experience, we wish to provide you with basic guidelines and an explanation of assets we believe will enable you to become an honours student truly worthy of the additional plus.
Participating in Honours+ asks more of you academically as well as in the “effective teamwork” department. Honours+ will offer you a chance to supplement your education in a highly valuable manner. However, you will only reap the benefits of the programme if you put in a certain amount of effort, dedication, commitment, and time.
In our view, the ideal Honours+ student:
- is able to make a serious commitment and willing to go the extra mile;
- has impeccable time management skills or the drive to develop them;
- is a flexible, exceptionally reliable, and people-oriented team player;
- is eager to learn, grow, and work on personal/academic development;
- sees problems as an exciting challenge;
- is able to apply creativity and innovative solutions to said challenges;
- is able to translate complex academic content into intelligent but accessible representations;
- is able to academically connect with others across disciplines and work together towards a common objective.
The Honours+ programme offers you plenty of opportunities to work on developing or fine-tuning this set of assets. Wrapping up your bachelor’s education as a true Honours+ student will give you a competitive edge as an excellent student, with not just outstanding academic achievements but also a set of useful skills that are valuable in any form of graduate education or professional occupation following your bachelor’s degree.
Throughout Honours+, you will be meeting and working with Supervisors, UM employees, fellow bachelor honours students, the Honours+ Central Management Team, and other (external) professionals. All Honours+ students are expected to behave in a polite and professional manner towards all parties involved with Honours+. You will soon find that maintaining a courteous and professional demeanour in both concord and conflict will go a long way and always enable you to achieve the desired results in the end.
Guidelines for professional behaviour:
- Communicate politely and respectfully with everyone at all times.
- Take your commitments seriously and be a reliable team player.
- Give and receive feedback in a strictly constructive manner.
- Always aim to resolve any sort of conflict in a fair and effective manner.
- Be honest and ethical.
Honours+ is part of your honours education. This means that each faculty has cleared 5 ECTS within their existing honours programme, to make room for Honours+. It is therefore an integral part of your honours education.
Taking into account Honours+, your faculty honours education, your regular curriculum, as well as any other extracurricular or private activities that might fill up your weekly calendar, it is important to realize that participating in Honours+ will require your commitment and dedication.
Overall, Honours+ has been designed to require 140 hours (the equivalence of 5 ECTS) of your time, spread out over the course of approx. 6 months (November until Mid-May). It is important to note that poor time management will most likely not only affect you, but your team members and your Supervisor as well. Be sure to manage your time well and securely schedule your activities.
- ±10 hours for attending mandatory Central Events;
- ±6 hours for attending (mandatory) workshops;
- Remaining hours (±124) for the team challenge.
Honours+ offers a workshop on time management and stress management, to help you prioritise and manage your time and tasks wisely. However, if you ever feel that your commitments are too overwhelming, come and talk to Central Management. We can help you prioritise structure and refocus your H+ related tasks, which may give you peace of mind and renewed energy.
An exception this year, are the Honours+ students from FHML, who are joining Honours+ voluntarily (on a pilot basis). The FHML students will participate only in the team challenge and events (no workshops) and will be rewarded with 3 ECTS, to be traded in for an elective course at their faculty’s honours programme.
Mandatory & Exceptions
You were selected by your faculty and deemed a suitable candidate for the honours programme (at your faculty and Honours+).
However, participating in Honours+ is not without obligation. Whereas you are entirely free to plan team meetings when they best suit you (and we will facilitate you as much as we can), your teammates and (on set occasions) your Supervisor, there are several programme components that require mandatory attendance. Some of these programme components are more flexible than others.
For example, you are required to attend at least 2 workshops. The workshops are offered several times on different dates and time slots to ensure that every student is able to attend. Your attendance is also mandatory at the Honours+ Central Events. These events are organized on set dates. For specific information on mandatory programme elements, see the section on ‘Assessment’.
In case a student is unable to 1) attend the required number of workshops, or 2) attend a Central Event due to a serious personal situation or highly important prior engagement, he/she may make up for missing a workshop or event by submitting a substitute assignment.
Students should email the Honours+ Central Management Team in case exceptional circumstances apply. Upon evaluation of their request, they may receive this substitute assignment.
In any case, students are advised to contact the Honours+ Central Management Team and their Faculty Honours Coordinator whenever private, personal circumstances (threaten to) get in the way of their participation in Honours+.
We understand life can throw a roadblock at you and we are always willing to look for a solution together if a student informs us in a timely manner.
Assessment occurs on the basis of 1) your Supervisor’s evaluation of you and of your team (both procedural as in your performance as a team player (in part based on peer review) and the quality of the end product), 2) formal requirements.
In order to successfully complete Honours+, all students must fulfil a number of requirements.
The student or the student team:
- Student: has attended at least 2 workshops.
- Student: has attended all mandatory Central Events: the Kick-Off, Midterm Peer Discussions and Closing Event.
- Student: has contributed sufficiently to the team challenge and has proven himself/herself a valuable team member.
- Student team: submitted the final report and outcome of the team challenge before the deadline.
To fulfil the requirements 3 and 4, each student will receive a grade (scale 1-10, with > 6 = pass) from their respective Supervisor, comprised of:
- 60%: The team’s performance with regards to the final report;
- 40% : The student’s own personal and individual contribution.
Your Supervisor will fill out an assessment form for each individual student, which includes feedback on the team challenge and the individual performance of the students. This assessment form includes five different criteria which the Supervisor will give points for. The criteria that will be graded are:
- Relevance – based on the choices you made;
- Logic – based on the structure of your reasoning;
- Added Value – based on the novelty and insights of your suggestions;
- Applicability – based on the feasibility of your suggestions;
- Communication – based on how you make yourself understood.
Upon successfully fulfilling the above mentioned assessment criteria, you will have successfully completed the Honours+ programme, and receive a ‘pass’ for the programme. A ‘pass’ for Honours+ is an integral part of the successful completion of your faculty honours programme. Please note that you will not receive a numerical grade for Honours+, due to the way the course appears on the transcripts of the faculties. You will be informed however of the numerical grade you were given by your Supervisor and his/her feedback on your team’s and individual performance.
The Honours+ Student Team
The student team
“Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Before the Honours+ Kick-Off opening event on October 29th, you will have learned already which team you have been assigned to and who your teammates are. At the Kick-Off, you will get an opportunity to get together and get to know each other better.
You will be embarking on the Honours+ journey together, as a team of students from different disciplines and academic backgrounds. Not only does teamwork allow for brainstorming solutions much better than working by yourself ever will, working in a team also means that together you surely have enough time, resources, and mental capacity to get the job done right. We sincerely hope you are all able to experience working in your Honours+ team positively, and use this opportunity to learn from other faculties’ honours students.
Even though teamwork generally is a very rewarding experience, it can also be challenging at times. Especially in a situation with limited time, added pressure of researching a topic out of your regular curriculum, and dealing with team members from different disciplines/academic backgrounds.
This is all part of the learning experience, which Honours+ first and foremost is. The good news is that there is a solution for everything and since it is a learning experience, Honours+ Central Management will try to support you in any way possible.
How to be a team player and role of the student team
The student team is responsible for planning and execution of the challenge, under the guidance of the Supervisor. Most likely, team roles will be defined amongst you naturally, or perhaps the division of tasks is more of a guided process. Either way, it is good to be aware of the different team roles and what the varying responsibilities mean. Throughout the execution of the team challenge, the team leader will work closely together with the Supervisor to steer the team in the desired direction.
How to be a team player?
- Have an open mind and go into the teamwork experience with positivity and readiness to succeed;
- Commit to your team and all agreements made within your team;
- Schedule and manage your time wisely, so that none of your teammates are ever left hanging;
- Communicate, and communicate clearly. In case of conflict, take a proactive and effective approach toward solving the conflict and setting your team up to succeed in the future;
- Be reliable. Always be on time for team meetings and meet your deadlines.
- Do not be afraid to be vulnerable. You are all students and you are here to learn. Be open about struggles you are dealing with that might affect your work and thus you team. You will be surprised to see how open people are to offer help.
However, if you feel your team is not functioning optimally or you as a person cannot function optimally, make sure to speak up in a constructive way and do it as soon as possible! Always try to prevent any issues from escalating. Give each other feedback and respect each other’s (cultural) difference. When things (appear to) go south, don’t be afraid or hesitate to contact the Honours+ Central Management Team.
Challenges and obstacles you may face
Participating in Honours+ will most often than not, be a pleasant experience. Working together with equally motivated and high performing students while picking up useful skills and knowledge will definitely expand your academic horizon and elevate your knowledge.
However, we cannot deny the fact that you will potentially also find yourself facing certain obstacles, when working with such diverse teams with different academic and cultural backgrounds, that we feel you need to be wary of.
- Honours students are in general extremely motivated and versatile, which leads them to dedicate their time to a lot of diverse activities to build up their curriculum, next to maintaining a high GPA. This might also lead to stress and too much pressure for some. We provide a workshop on Stress Management within Honours+ that we specifically recommend to these students.
- Trying to schedule team meetings with students from 5 different faculties is a challenge in itself. While it is an excellent planning exercise for students, and we try to facilitate you as much as we can by blocking a timeslot in schedules, the reality is that many teams will find the planning aspect one of the greater challenges in the programme. Try to be as creative as you can in scheduling your team meetings.
- Team members may have different disciplinary backgrounds, different motivations and aspirations, and different cultural backgrounds. Effective collaboration relies in large part on interdisciplinary communication. Communication across disciplines is not always easy. For example, implicit misunderstandings may arise concerning what is deemed a valuable question, what are valid data, what kind of result should emerge from the project and so on (Menken & Keestra, 2016). When performing under pressure, these differences might be a cause for friction within the team. Try to avoid these frictions by careful communication.
- Over time, team members’ roles may change from being core (fully dedicated to the research goal) to peripheral (committed to this research goal, but also working in one or more other teams), and vice-versa. This may cause extra stress on students that stay fully committed.
Of course we all understand that in a team, everyone has different schedules and peaks in their workload. Since you are working in a team and every member needs to put in the required number of hours, it is vital that you communicate timely when you see an issue arising in your calendar with regards to availability and workload. Agreements can be made within the team to divide tasks accordingly and exchange and shift tasks in times of high pressure, if possible.
Also, the assessment of the Team Challenge by the Supervisor will take each student’s individual contribution to the team and their work into account, to avoid freeriding as much as possible. With Honours+ it cannot be stressed enough that this programme is an integral part of the students’ regular faculty honours programme. Failing Honours+ will lead to having to compensate for the missing credits at their faculty.
If at any point you need support or advice on how to deal with a certain issue, please inform the Honours+ Central Management Team at email@example.com. We will gladly provide advice or intervene if necessary.
The Supervisor plays a crucial part in the team dynamics and the overall Honours+ experience. The main concern of your Honours+ Supervisor is your team’s learning experience during the programme.
Because of the supporting role of the Supervisor and the safe learning environment he/she provides within Honours+, we require the Supervisor to be physically present in Maastricht during November-May to regularly attend team meetings and be available for questions you might have. We also recommend Supervisors to be available during some evenings, to help facilitating team meetings.
- Because of the interdisciplinary character of Honours+, the main role of the Supervisor is to monitor an equal input from and interaction between the various disciplines and guarantee sufficient challenge and academic depth.
- The Supervisor doesn’t necessarily have knowledge to a detailed level on all disciplines, but needs to stimulate the students themselves to create links between the various disciplines in the team.
- The Supervisor is not a sole source of required knowledge, but a broker of knowledge throughout the execution of the challenge.
- Furthermore, throughout Honours+, the Supervisor will support the team in planning, developing, and completing the challenge. The Supervisor does not take over the role of the team leader. The students will be instructed to appoint a team leader in their team. However, the Supervisor is asked to intervene when the team doesn’t display enough initiative and he/she stimulates the students to act pro-actively.
- The Supervisor takes the role of steering and guiding the group, provides for a safe learning environment, and is sensitive towards team dynamics.
- The Supervisor also initiates and chairs the team’s kick-off meeting and midterm feedback session.
- The Supervisor is in close contact with the Honours+ Central Management Team, in order to assure monitoring of the overall programme process and team development.
- The Supervisor is also responsible for assessing the interdisciplinary team challenge and as such, the team’s performance (see also section on “Assessment”). The final report will be assessed on relevance, creativity, logic, added value or novelty of insight and suggestions, applicability and communication. Students will be assessed by the Supervisor both on their team performance and their individual performance and input, to avoid freeloading within the teams as much as possible.
The Supervisors is a determining factor in your overall Honours+ experience, and H+ Central Management takes this very seriously. In order to be as transparent as possible, students ought to be aware of the fact that Honours+ requires not just an honours mentality from students, but from the Supervisors as well. They are required to invest a certain number of hours to supervising Honours+ students, partake in a training programme to support the students to their best ability and communicate regularly with Central Management on their team’s progress.
If any time during your Honours+ experience, you feel that there is an issue with your Supervisor, come and talk to H+ Central Management about this, which will always be confidential. We can help clear up misunderstandings and put you back on track.
Team Meetings & Team building
In order to successfully work on the Honours+ team challenge, we advise students to regularly meet up as a team (at least once a week). It is also advisable to meet with your Supervisor at least once every 2 or 3 weeks (preferably in person), and keep your Supervisor otherwise updated on your progress. The initiative to schedule these meetings lies with the students primarily.
Try to be creative with these meetings as much as you can. Schedule a meeting over dinner, for example, and have everyone bring a dish. It is not just beneficial for the execution of your challenge, but for team dynamics as well. When scheduling meetings with your Supervisor, try to be sensitive towards the times of the meetings. Many Supervisors have family obligations, so try to inform your Supervisor in a timely manner and avoid making appointments with him/her at very late hours or during the weekend.
We would like to facilitate you to meet up, as much as we can. All participating faculties were requested by the Executive Board and Management Team to block a timeslot especially for Honours+ in every participating student’s schedule. This time-slot is blocked with an Honours+ course code, every Wednesday, between 18:00-20:00 hrs. We encourage students to make use of this timeslot for team meetings, as much as possible.
There are rooms and a Common Room to reserve at Tapijn X, should you wish to meet. In case you wish to use the facilities, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check the availability.
Team Kick-Off Meeting & The Teambuilding Assignment
The actual working on the Team Challenge starts with a Team Kick-Off Meeting with the entire Honours+ team (Supervisor and students).
During this meeting you not only get to be more acquainted with your fellow students and Supervisor, but you will also need to discuss at least the following issues as a team, to make sure you are off to a good start:
- Introduction: Make sure each student introduces himself/herself and explains their academic background and what added value his/her discipline could potentially bring to the challenge.
- Expectation management: What do you expect from each other, what can the students expect from their Supervisor and the challenge? The team can also set rules for behaviour, how to proceed if someone last-minute cannot attend a scheduled meeting, how often the team wishes to meet to work on the challenge etc.
- Team roles: In addition to knowledge, experience and skills, individuals have different behavioural traits or characteristics they bring to the way they carry out their work and these can be aligned to particular roles in the team: some are very good at seeing a big picture, others very good at detailed work. Some are very oriented towards action – good at just getting things done; others are natural communicators and networkers. The need for these different roles will emerge at different times and it is worth considering the composition of your team to ensure you have a balance of strengths.
- Communication: Discuss and agree upon how you as a team will work together during the Honours+ programme. This can vary from practical issues (use of email, phone, dates of meetings, etc.) to the way you will interact with your Supervisor (how often does he/she expect an update and in which way) and how to provide each other with feedback (how to deal with conflicts, free-riding etc.)
A checklist was drawn up in order to facilitate this meeting, and to use to support the team and the Supervisor. You can find the checklist in the Appendix and on the website https://edlab.nl/excellence/honoursplus/ (current student section, under “documents”).
Secondly, the team will use this Team Kick-Off meeting to complete a teambuilding assignment. This activity focuses on effective communication and problem-solving skills and functions as an icebreaker for the team as well.
The students will need to pick up the assignment at EDLAB. Once you have done so, you may work on completing the assignment together as a team, with the Supervisor acting as moderator. This will take place during the Team Kick-Off Meeting, as described above.
In total, the assignment should take approximately 1 hour. You can book a room at EDLAB (email email@example.com to do so), use the EDLAB common room, use the Tapijn learning spaces, or use an alternate location of your own preference. Upon completion, the students need to hand the assignment back in to the Honours+ Central Management team at EDLAB.
Midterm Feedback Meeting
To improve as a team, and have a better team dynamics, it is important to regularly evaluate and share information about the different situations and processes faced by the team. Within Honours+, we aim to facilitate this process by means of a Midterm Feedback Meeting, to be scheduled between Mid-February and end of March.
During this meeting, all students and the Supervisor are present, and by means of providing feedback, the team will identify the gaps between the ideal standard of functioning as a team and the current situation, and then work towards bridging these gaps.
In order to facilitate this meeting, EDLAB has provided a tool, the so-called Feedback³, developed by Design Museum CUBE together with Maastricht University’s PREMIUM students.
Feedback³ is a set of 7 cubes that will help make your Midterm Feedback session easier, more natural and fun! Each of the cubes addresses a topic that should be addressed when talking about the team process, ensuring that all of the important issues will be discussed. The cubes each have 6 statements written on them, which will provide a baseline for the discussion. This tool provides you with a new way of doing your feedback-sessions, but it is up to your team to decide how to use them. You can find more information via this video: https://youtu.be/9oIhQg7jQhs
The actual 7 cubes, and a booklet that provides you with the rules and guidelines for this session, can be found on the Honours+ website (current student section under “Documents”). You can either agree that each of your team members prepares a cube (cut and glue it) and bring it to the meeting, or make them on the spot, which provides for a teambuilding moment as well.
In total, the Midterm Feedback Meeting should take approximately 1-1,5 hour. You may use a room at EDLAB (email firstname.lastname@example.org to do so), use the EDLAB common room, use the Tapijn learning spaces, or use an alternate location. Upon completion, the students need to hand the assignment back in to the Honours+ Central Management team at EDLAB.
Team Closing Session
At the end of the programme, after the Closing Event has taken place, we request that students schedule one final meeting with their Supervisor to openly discuss their challenge outcome, group functioning and overall evaluation of the past months.
The H+ Interdisciplinary Team Challenge
The Team Challenge
Once entering the labour market, the majority of our graduates will have to work in an interdisciplinary context, whether it will be in academia or otherwise. Even more important, expectations are that your generation will be faced with unprecedented complex (global) challenges, such as energy use, health care, safety and security, and climate change. Exactly this type of challenges especially requires an interdisciplinary research approach and the involvement of multiple parties in order to be solved or at least dealt with. These complex issues are typified by conflicting values, mounting political pressure, and major economic interests.
In Honours+, we aim at offering our students a first research experience to approach/tackle such (global) challenges in an interdisciplinary setting, under the professional guidance by staff members from Maastricht University, the so-called Supervisor.
The meaning of ‘research’ in this context is, students actively finding information new to themselves. Underlying this notion is the ‘degree of knowness’ of knowledge: whether research involves developing knowledge that is commonly known to humanity, commonly unknown or totally unknown. We see that even inquiry into the commonly known is all part of a process of research skill development. And to overlook the development of skills in earlier years of education is to miss the potential development of skills required of researchers or by industry and employment. (Willison, John; O’Regan, Kerry; and Kuhn, Sara K., “Researcher Skill Development Framework”, 2018).
The challenges you will be working on are based upon and linked to the Dutch National Research Agenda, and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Furthermore, the setup of the Honours+ Challenge is aimed at building bridges between education and research, at fostering closer links between researchers, students and disciplines.
We now call upon you as honours students, the brilliant minds of the future, to make a start to this plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.
A true Honours+ Team Challenge:
- Is a challenging, academic and current case, issue or problem, with societal relevance;
- Is linked to UN’s SDG’s and the Dutch National Research Agenda;
- Pushes students outside their comfort zone;
- Calls for an innovative solution, exploration or approach;
- Allows and facilitates an interdisciplinary approach, with an equal input of the involved disciplines;
- Requires a time investment of 125 hours per student;
- Can be approached along the lines of the scientific method(s);
- Either calls for a solution (applied research), or aims to advance knowledge on the phenomenon (theoretical research).
Applied Research or Theoretical Research
The definitive research question that your team will be working on depends on the team’s interpretation of the challenge and your plan for tackling it. Honours+ challenges may imply doing either applied research or theoretical research.
With a theoretical research focus, your aim with the challenge is to contribute to the advancement in scientific knowledge for the complete understanding of a topic or certain phenomenon. It is completely theoretical, and focuses on basic principles and testing theories. These challenges are aligned towards collecting information that has universal applicability. Therefore, it aims to adding new knowledge to the already existing knowledge.
With an applied research focus, your challenge is directed towards providing a solution to specific problems or an attempt to solve these problems. The research is not done for its own sake, but with the specific aim of solving the problem. It is research that can be applied to real-life situations. It studies a particular set of circumstances, so as to relate the results to its corresponding circumstances.
The category your challenge most adequately belongs to was made clear at the time of requesting your challenge preferences in order to ensure all students were able to best choose the challenge of their preference.
Whether your challenge has an applied research focus, or a theoretical research focus, there are certain fixed steps every type of research goes through, upon which the structure of Honours+ is based as well. The most common steps your research will go through, are the following, and the deadlines in the H+ checklist are based on these steps as well.
1.Question formulation & Clarifying research focus.
The importance of this first stage in the research process is often underestimated by many students. However, it is of high importance to have a clear eye on what the goal of your research is. The choice between the formulation of research questions and the development of hypotheses depends on your research approach. In order to avoid problems at this stage, get your research questions or hypotheses confirmed by your Supervisor before moving forward with the work.
Do not underestimate the time you will dedicate to literature review, because more often than not, it will be the longest stage in your research process. It is advisable to do parts of the literature review even before the formulation of research aims and objective (you will want to check if exactly the same research problem has been addressed before and in what way). Narrowing down and formulating a more specific research problem is quite often not possible without reviewing relevant sources. However, the majority of your literature review will be done after you have formulated your research question, or at least after you identified the direction and some keywords necessary for further inquiry.
2. Select your research methods & Collect data
Once you know the aim of your research and your final research question, you have come to the stage where collection method(s) need to be selected, based on the advantages and disadvantages associated with several alternative data collection methods. What method works best, given your challenge topic and research question? You will need to come up with a plan on how to collect data with maximum efficiency, and effectiveness, and draft up a plan on how to best organize the information and make sense of the collected data.
Topics that you may need to tackle during this step:
- What is the required information to answer your research question and what potential data sources for each piece of information do you need.
- Specify how you will sample these data sources (process of selecting units, e.g. people, from a population of interest so that by studying the sample you may fairly generalize your results back to the population from which they were chosen.)
- Select data collection methods.
- Design data collection instruments/forms/questionnaires and procedures corresponding to each data collection method.
- Specify data collection, coding, and analysis procedures.
- Plan how you will address validity and reliability issues together with your Supervisor.
Once you have a detailed methodology, it is time for the most demanding part of research. Collecting and analyzing information will require extensive brain capacity of the team.
Usually, each type of scientific research, has to go through the ethical review committees within the university. However, the research done within Honours+, was cleared from this. We would like to recommend however to always carefully reflect on whether/how anonymity and confidentiality can be guaranteed for the study participants.
3. Analysis & Interpretation of data.
Analysis of data plays an important role in the achievement of research aim and objectives. It means that you are going to convert quantitative and qualitative data into information that has meaning and value in light of your research question and goals.
In qualitative research using interviews, focus groups, experiments etc., data analysis is going to involve identifying common patterns within the responses and critically analyzing them in order to achieve research aims and objectives. Data analysis for quantitative studies, on the other hand, involves critical analysis and interpretation of figures and numbers, and attempts to find rationale behind the emergence of main findings. Comparisons of primary research findings to the findings of the literature review are critically important for both types of studies.
4. Reaching conclusions.
Now that you have gathered and analyzed your data, and have tried to find patterns within the responses, or have looked for a rationale behind the emergence of main findings, it is time to draw your conclusions. You will have to justify why you believe that your research aims have been achieved or what limitations were involved and potential suggestions for future research.
5. Share your work.
The most common end products of research are a report and a presentation, that allow for you sharing your knowledge. Next to these two, Honours+ also requires you to visualize your findings into a poster, to exhibit during the Closing Event. Make sure you hand in drafts of every above-mentioned step to your Supervisor on time, to avoid not having enough time to implement his/her feedback at the very end of the programme.
Team Challenge outcome
By working on the challenge during the Honours+ programme, following the scientific method, you will get a grasp on the interdisciplinary collaboration, together with all the opportunities and challenges it provides. This learning process is vital, and the results of it are to be put in an academic report.
Furthermore, Honours+ requests each student team to translate their findings into an A0 poster, and a presentation during the Closing Event.
These formats aim at teaching you how to present results to non-expert audiences and peers. This process of transfer of knowledge begotten during the Honours+ programme, and using it to make an impact and impression, is something we wish our Honours+ students to gain further experience in.
Additionally, since multiple teams will be working on the same challenge topic (but on their own specific research questions), it means that teams will be able to compare each other’s progress throughout Honours+, are able to exchange knowledge and experience on the topics during the events. Additionally, they will be competing for the most value adding findings during the Closing Event, thus creating a system of peer support.
Honours+ defines general guidelines for the outcome of the team challenge. The further refinement of the style of the academic report needs to be defined in close interaction between Supervisor and students. Honours+ requires the following outcome (1-3):
1. Academic report, that:
- displays an interdisciplinary understanding of the researched subject, reflecting all involved disciplines and clearly shows what the added-value was of every discipline involved in tackling the challenge;
- includes a proposed potential solution to the problem (applied research challenges);
- includes new and value-adding knowledge to the already existing knowledge on this topic (theoretical research challenges);
- contains between 6000-8000 words;
- is written in accordance with the APA guideline;
- is sent to the Supervisor and email@example.com,
before the deadline (Friday, May 8th 23:59hrs).
Based on the outcome of the scientific exploration of the team challenge, each team presents their outcome during a 5-minute pitch during the Closing Event. Challenges with a focus on applied research will focus on presenting their recommendations or proposed solutions to the proposed problem. Challenges with a focus on theoretical research will focus on presenting the added value of the new insights they gathered on the topic, contributing to the already existing knowledge.
The best presentation within every challenge topic will win a team prize. We challenge you to impress your peers and UM’s academic staff and set wheels in motion! The students’ pitch during the Closing Event will be supported by a PowerPoint presentation:
All pitches should at least include the following topics:
- A short description of what has been accomplished, the team process;
- Challenges with a focus on applied research: recommendations or proposed solutions to the proposed problem.
- Challenges with a focus on theoretical research: new insights the team gathered on the topic, contributing to the already existing knowledge and the added value of this knowledge.
Submitting the slides:
- One member of the student team emails their PowerPoint file to firstname.lastname@example.org, before the deadline (Friday, May 8th, 23:59)
- When submitted, the pitch has a duration of 5 minutes, no more.
- The slides are based on the team’s challenge outcome.
- The team is free to be as creative as they want to (it is highly appreciated). As long as it helps getting the message across and is relevant to the story.
3. A0 poster:
Each team visualizes their outcome in an A0 poster, to be exhibited during the Closing Event, with the following criteria:
- One member of the student team emails the digital file of the poster to email@example.com, before the deadline (Friday, May 8th, 23:59);
- One member of the student team hands in the printed poster at EDLAB, Tapijn Building Z, room 0.003, before the deadline (Tuesday, May 12th 16:00);
- A0 format (118,9 cm x 84,1 cm);
- The poster adequately presents the challenge and outcome (it is clear what the objective, process, and outcome was);
- Consistent and aesthetically pleasing layout;
- Effective use of images, colors, and fonts;
- Limited use of large text-boxes;
- Source citations in proper APA-style.
Printing costs for the poster will be reimbursed by Honours+. In order to do so, keep the original receipts, and download and fill out the reimbursement form on the H+ website (current students, documents section). Then hand in the signed form and the original receipt (no scans) at EDLAB.
In order to help you develop practically applicable academic skills that will be useful to you now as well as in your academic and professional future, Honours+ offers you a number of workshops. All workshops will be conducted in English, take approximately 3 hours, and take place at EDLAB (visit www.edlab.nl for address and directions).
All Honours+ students are required to attend at least 2 workshops out of the 7 different workshop topics that we offer (see “Assessment” section for specific requirements). Attendance is registered using signup sheets at the workshops. Please make sure to always sign the attendance sheet, because your attendance cannot and will not be verified otherwise. Attending more workshops than the required amount is allowed, provided there are spots open.
- Creative Problem Solving;
- Teamwork & Constructive Communication;
- Stress Management;
- Time Management;
- Strength Finding;
- Debating Skills;
- Present & Pitch.
How to sign up
To sign up for workshops, go to www.edlab.nl (Honours+) and navigate to the ‘Current Students’ page. There you will find, amongst other useful information for your Honours+ journey, the link to the workshop registration page. This page includes the workshops’ description, preparation material if applicable, and a link to the signup sheet.
Please note that once you are signed up it is not possible to cancel your registration yourself. If you must cancel your registration please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. Registration or cancellation of a registration is allowed up to 24 hours in advance of the workshop date and time.
Central & Informal Community Events
Over the course of the programme, Honours+ organizes several activities for all Honours+ students, Supervisors and coordinators. These events contain educational and/or assessment elements and offer opportunities for students and UM honours staff to meet, connect and create an honours community.
Remember! Your attendance at the Central events (Kick-Off, Midterm Peer Discussions and Closing) is mandatory and a necessary requirement to fulfil if you want to successfully complete the Honours+ programme. Mark your calendars! If you cannot attend a central event, please refer to the section on ‘Exceptional Circumstances’. The informal community events are free to join if you wish to spend more time with fellow Honours students.
Please refer to the Honours+ website, your student email account, and Facebook for official invitations and definitive dates, places, and times.
Central Event: Kick-Off of the programme
We want to officially welcome you to Honours+ and kick-off the programme together with a bang! Students receive their Honours+ welcome gift and everyone will get an opportunity to first meet and get to know each other.
Additionally, there will be an inspiring activity to introduce you to interdisciplinary teamwork and its pitfalls, and an enjoyable group activity to facilitate the formation of a nice team dynamic within your team right off the bat. At this festive but furthermore meaningful event, we hope to inspire you to go into the Honours+ experience with an enthusiastic approach and a good foundation for pleasant and effective teamwork.
Central Event: Midterm Peer Discussion Evening
Halfway during the Honours+ programme, all students are required to attend one of the Midterm Peer Discussion Evenings (a schedule will be drawn up for when, which team needs to be present).
During these evenings, you will be grouped with fellow honours students from other teams that are working on the same challenge, and you will be explaining the status quo of your research. How is your team progressing, what research question are you focusing on, what are your pitfalls, what information has proven difficult to gather and do you have a specific need for input from other teams?
This way, students will be given the chance to exchange views and insights, compare progress, gather new knowledge via discussions with other teams and their respective Supervisors, request input for their own challenge and discuss team related issues with other Honours+ students (team functioning, scheduling challenges, communication etc.).
By doing so, we are aiming at building towards a system of peer support and build further towards the development of an honours community and the exchange of knowledge amongst UM honours students, and it helps your challenge keeping momentum as well.
Central Event: Closing Event
The Honours+ programme is concluded with a festive Closing Event, focused on bringing the Honours+ experience to a close reflectively, together.
During the Closing Event, each student team will pitch their findings with regards to the team challenge to the other Honours+ students, and a jury. The best presentation within every challenge topic will win a team prize. We challenge you to impress your peers and UM’s academic staff!
Additionally, all teams will display their findings via a poster exhibition, which allows students to see the outcome of other challenge topics, and provide room for discussion. The jury will take the poster into consideration as well.
Tell the H+ community and us what potential solution you found (applied research challenges) or what new and value-adding knowledge to the already existing knowledge on this topic your team uncovered (theoretical research challenges).
Informal Community Events
Besides the formal central events, we also host a variety of fun and informal community events, where you can meet and connect with fellow honours students in an informal setting. These events are aimed at building bridges across faculty borders and aspire to create a community of honours students.
To sign up for the community events, go to www.edlab.nl (Honours+) and navigate to the ‘Current Students’ page. There you will find the link to the H+ events page which leads you to a registration button.
Attending these events is optional, voluntary and free of charge. However, once you sign up for such an event, we count on your presence an expect you to actually attend these events. Not showing up, or cancelling later than 24 hours in advance, without a valid and documented reason, will affect the activity for your fellow students and leads to extra costs for the organisation. You will, in that case, be faced with a no-show fee of € 25.
Please note that once you are signed up, it is not possible to cancel your registration yourself. If you must cancel your registration please email email@example.com with your request. Registration or cancellation of a registration is allowed up to 24 hours in advance of the community event date.
Please refer to the Honours+ website, Facebook, and your student email accounts to stay informed about the informal community events.
The mighty Honours+ Checklist
Below, we provide you with an overall checklist for every task you need to complete in order to successfully complete Honours+. To be specific, if you stick to this checklist, nothing can go wrong and you should stay on track just fine.
Ready? Set? Go!
1)Honours+ Kick-Off (Deadline: Tuesday October 29th)
- Attend the Honours+ Kick-Off event during which you will meet your team and Supervisor;
2) Team kick-off (Deadline: Friday, November 29th)
- Schedule your first team meeting together with your Supervisor to set ground rules for teamwork;
- Pick up the teambuilding assignment at EDLAB (please inform us when you are planning to come in);
- Complete the assignment during the Team kick-off;
- Hand in the assignment back in at EDLAB.
And we're off!
3) Schedule regular team meetings throughout the programme.
- Schedule weekly sessions with your student team;
- Schedule sessions with your Supervisor.
4) Step 1: Question formulation & clarifying research focus (Deadline: Friday, January 17th)
- Complete your team’s literature review;
- Define the research question;
- Create a hypothesis;
- Send a draft to your Supervisor for feedback.
5) Step 2: Select research methods & collect data (Deadline: Friday March 6th)
- Make your hypothesis testable (operationalization):
- Design the actual study, define the methodology;
- Collect the necessary data;
- Send a draft to your Supervisor for feedback.
6) Attend 2 workshops of your choosing.
- Sign up timely for two workshops (limited spaces);
- Attend two workshops;
7) Schedule the Midterm Feedback session (Between: February 17th and March 20th)
- Prepare for the meeting by watching the instructional video: https://youtu.be/1edcpsI2wdI and reading the information booklet;
- Prepare the cubes (cut-outs);
- Attend the actual meeting as a team, with the Supervisor present, and make agreements for the second half of the team challenge and your team’s functioning.
8) Step 3: Analysis & data interpretation (Deadline: Friday April 17th)
- Organize the collected data;
- Analyze the results;
- Send a draft to your Supervisor for feedback.
Wrap it up!
9) Step 4: Conclusion (Deadline: Tuesday April 28th)
- Generalize your results. Relate what you have learnt on a small scale to the bigger picture;
- Provide potential suggestions for further research;
- Highlight the potential solution you are offering (applied research challenges), or the new knowledge you added to the already existing knowledge on this topic (theoretical research challenges);
- Send a draft to your Supervisor for feedback.
10) Step 5: Share your work (Deadline: Friday May 8th)
- Send the final report to your Supervisor ánd to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Send your PowerPoint slides for your pitch to email@example.com;
- Send the digital file of the poster to firstname.lastname@example.org;
11) Honours+ Closing Event
- Hand in the printed poster at EDLAB, Tapijn Building Z, room 0.003 (Tuesday May 12th 16:00);
- Attend the Closing Event on Thursday May 14th;
- Hand in your poster reimbursement forms and original printing receipts at EDLAB (Friday May 29th);
12) Team Closing Session (Deadline: Friday, May 29th)
- Schedule a team closing session together with your Supervisor to evaluate and discuss the results of the team challenge.