I am currently working on my (Computer Science) master thesis, and have been doing so now for about 5-6 months. The default time for thesis work at my university is about 9 months. Aspects such as literature review and 'planning' were all approved and went very smoothly.

Slowly I am realizing that the method I have planned to develop is simply not going to work. To be a bit more clear: I have thought of a model to solve a problem that isn't currently solved, and have found that my model doesn't improve on any of the exisiting 'attempted' models nor does it contribute anything 'useful' to the industry other than 'this model doesn't work.'

My question being: is it acceptable for the conclusion of a master thesis aiming to implement a new model for a problem to be 'doesn't work?'

I am worried sick that my supervisor or anyone evaluating the work would dismiss it, since of all three research questions I have not been able to make a single one work and have concluded bit-by-bit that it's not possible to implement this model effectively.

Is it acceptable to conclude a master thesis with 'my method doesn't work?' Will it be a problem if I just present my work and conclude with 'no success?'

  • I think you may find this answer to a related question helpful: academia.stackexchange.com/a/30996/10529
    – mhwombat
    Oct 25, 2019 at 10:42
  • Proving that something doesn’t work strikes me as very useful. I’m a health services research funder and I happily pay £millions to prove drugs / surgery etc don’t have any worthwhile effect.
    – rhialto
    Oct 25, 2019 at 12:26
  • I appreciate that insight, rhialto. I'll discuss it with my supervisor and see if he sees it the same way.
    – davadude
    Oct 26, 2019 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


You have to discuss this with your supervisor / advisor.

Then you can agree the direction.

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