I have two question that I don't know what they mean. I am writing a master degree (Computer Science) thesis.

  1. Explain how this study will contribute to your academic field?

  2. Write down the main academic sources written in this study? (Are they asking about reference of my information? )

Please need help to understand these two questions.

  • 1
    The first question seems pretty clear: how will your work advance the state-of-the-art? What are you proposing to do, that hasn't been done before, and will be useful? The second one is a little less clear to me (even as a native speaker); I assume they mean the most important past work (that someone else did) that is relevant to your work. – cag51 Feb 2 at 19:31
  • 2
    Hello James, could you please clarify the context of your questions? Also, I think it might be hard for people to support you in answering these questions, as they are subject to your work. For clarification of these questions, I think @cag51's comment might be helpful enough to be considered an answer. – Jonas Schwarz Feb 2 at 20:50
  • Imho this is a valid question about academic terminology: phrases such as "contributing to the field" are obvious to an experienced researcher but might not be for somebody new to academic research. – Erwan Feb 3 at 12:56
  1. What question are you going to answer and how does that advance previous work and do something new. You can list how previous work did something good (A and B), but failed to get to C. You should also mention how the work may open other doors in future: new research that might follow if successful, techniques to be used on other problems, and economic/social impact. [If you are purely doing a review of previous work, I would at least mention how you intend to clarify the state of the field.]

  2. List any important prior work (e.g. the A and B above) that your study will build on; list any important references for key techniques used in the research. [The syntax of the question is a bit strange but if you anticipate your masters will produce new primary work (as opposed to a review), experimental or theoretical, you might also want to mention that you plan to do that and to publish along the way. But this would be more of a parenthetical. However, it is a positive thing to say.]

P.s. Just write something and then get it reviewed (not here, but with senior students or advisor). Sometimes it is easier to criticize a real example than answer questions in the abstract.

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