We've been having this discussion about what actually formulates 'contribution to knowledge' when doing a masters or a PhD in a particular field.
For an example from my field (Computer Science), say an MS student finds a particularly good algorithm that has not been used to solve a problem in disaster management. He then goes ahead and builds a solution that uses this algorithm to find position of a cell phone in a disaster situation.
However, while the student has solved a problem of high interest to many people, he has not contributed to the field of Computer Science, per se. Or has he? Some say that since he didn't contribute to Computer Science as a field, he should not get a Masters degree in CS.