I feel that I can get into big trouble very soon. I have been working on my master’s thesis in computer science area for about 3 months(out of 6) and still haven’t achieved any meaningful result. Although I am working really hard(at least 8 hours per day + some time during weekends), I can’t see any hope how to complete this research in remaining 3 months and compile it as a thesis.

The problem is that my supervisor selected very ambitious project for me. Initially, I was a bit scared, but general idea was looking quite meaningful. He promised that “we will be the first who have done this, bla-bla-bla….”. In addition to this, he also offered quite generous funding. And I swallowed the bait)

Now, after several months of research, I can claim that the method we are developing looks a bit meaningless(that is why there are no any research on it). Maybe if we dig deeper, this will start making sense, but MS thesis is just for 6 months, I cannot afford doing this research for 1-1.5 years.

So now I am considering dropping out of the project and finding a new supervisor.
Would you recommend doing this? Or, otherwise, how to deal with MS research which yields no results? How this can affect my grade?

I have this particular situation, where I started one thesis during my master’s about X topic (which I love). I was asked to wait around 4 months while the base code was ready to work, but when the time arrived, the program was buggy and poorly coded. However, I studied all the theoretical background that they coded, and then debugged the software for around 3 months, but in the end, it never worked.

This professor was very helpful while I was debugging it, but when I decided not to continue with the project as it looked like the debugging was never going to end, he became angry and behaved as if the project failure was my fault… I was the one who should’ve been pissed off after more than half a year wasted in that project…

In any case, I graduated with another thesis and now I am looking for a PhD, in that X topic… I found a very interesting one very related to the thesis I was doing before, and I would like to include in the motivation letter, my background and the experience I got while I was debugging (in fact I learned more about the topic while debugging, than reading the theory).

What would be the best way to mention this project without backfiring at me, or being asked for a reference from that professor who will definitely not recommend me?


I’m currently writing a thesis. I’m simulating a problem using CFD model. The model has been validated by using it to investigate similar problem with known results. The model vs. experimental results are showing good consistency.

As for my problem, I’ve modeled it and I’ve got the results.
I’ve spent few weeks designing, building and testing the experimental equipment but I’ve concluded the experimental equipment must be rebuilt using different components and I don’t have time.

So, where in the paper do I report the failed experiment and how do I put it in words that it failed?

Here is the main structure of my paper.

1: Introduction

2: Literature Review

3: Method.

3:1 Model observation

3:2 Experimental observation

4: Results and discussion

4:1 Model validation

4:2 Problem Results (Here I was going to compare model vs. experiment)

4:3 Discussion

5: Conclusion and future work.

In our lab, we hypothesized that a technique T1 should be able to solve some problem with high performance. As per our hypothesis, we got an excellent result. We started writing a short paper to be submitted to a conference for the last date is due in four days. The paper is complete except for some proof-reading. We have not yet submitted the results.

Yesterday, just for fun, I was applying a different technique T2 to the same problem. Surprisingly it achieved an even better performance than T1.

We were wondering, is it okay to write a “failure” paper stating the hypothesis failed because of so and so [which is tough to analyze given the time constraint on deadline.]? Some of my colleague suggested to not disclose the performance of T2 until T1 is published, so that later I could do a comparative study between T1 and T2. Will it be okay?

Note: T1 and T2 are very different and it does not make any sense to write on both techniques in the same paper. Plus, rewriting the paper now is also difficult.

Update After going through answers, comments and suggestions, we are submitting T1 paper. Thank you very much all the learned academicians here on academia.SE.

There is problem P to be solved.

In our lab, we hypothesized a technique T1 that it should be able to solve the problem P with high performance. As per our hypothesis, we got an excellent result (say R1).

We started writing a short paper to be submitted to a conference for the last date is due in 4 days. The paper is almost written fully. Just some proof-reading required. We have not yet submitted the results.

Yesterday, I was experimenting with a different technique (say T2) just for fun for the same problem P. Surprisingly, T2 achieved a performance R2 which is far better than R1.

We were wondering, is it okay to write a failure paper stating the hypothesis failed because of so and so [which is tough to analyze given the time constraint on deadline.]?

Few of my colleague suggested to not disclose the performance of T2 until T1 is published so that later I could do a comparative study between T1 and T2. Will it be okay?

Note: T1 and T2 are very different and it does not make any sense to write both the technique in same paper. Plus, now rewriting the paper is also difficult.

In my undergraduate dissertation, I have used an inappropriate methodology, i.e. a part of the methodology (10% of the methodology) is not the way that the problem had to be tackled and that part of the methodology is in itself wrong. It implies that my results are not what they are supposed to be. But the results are quite interesting and I have many results. How will the dissertation be assessed? By how much % will I be penalized due to the methodology?

I am working on Informatics and I am trying to formulate a research question. The thing is I read a lot of examples where the research question has a lot in common with hypotheses, where 2 alternatives are compared. But in my topic, there is no alternative to compare. The way of achieving “task X” have no alternative for the involved actor, therefore I can not ask thinks like “is technique A better than technique B”.

The only solution I had in mind was trying to prove if the problem is really feasible. In this sense I asked myself: “is it possible for the actor to do task X?”. I run an small experiment with 8 users and they did it, in different times and achieving requirements at different levels. it was feasible. Now, I wonder if I just have to throw all this effort because I have no hypothesis, but then someone told me that “research questions may be good for new areas of inquiry” and I want to be sure that it is ok to use this question. I can not find a good reference supporting research questions like mine, nor “how”, “why” questions.

Can you help me? Thanks in advance

Gilbert Sheldon was born at Ashbourne in Derbyshire on July 19, 1598. Very little is known of his family background.

It drives me crazy to read about some historical figure that “not much is known of her early life,” or “no-one knows why she made the decision.” These seem to be a stock way to deflect anticipated criticism over a lack of detail.

Of course, the absence of information is impossible to cite or verify, unless it has itself been studied and reported on. The claims also leave unclear whether the author is reflecting the consensus of a group of scholars that the information does not exist, or in fact oblivious to information that does exist.

Is a disclaimer for missing historical background ever useful and appropriate?

I wasted spent like a month or so trying to get two software libraries to work.
They partly worked, but at some point produced only unplausible results.
That might have very well been my fault.

The third one worked right out of the box and it’s the one I should have chosen to begin with. The lack of problems with this library suggests that there was either something wrong with the other two, the setup, the system or whatever.

Either way, the conclusion is that I would not suggest to try the first two libraries and go with the third one, no matter how tempting it is to try the two.

I would like to include this in my thesis, because it appears to be valuable information. On the other hand, I’m not a software expert and I might simply have done things totally wrong, which is why those libraries didn’t work for me. But despite some effort, I could not find documentation on what could be the problem.

Basically, what I have to say is this:

Tried X and Y. Didn’t work. Don’t know why. Not recommended. Use Z instead. Works perfectly.

Is it a good idea to include such information? It’s not backed up by any reference and I cannot include all the related information about the details to reproduce the problem. Partly because I don’t know them and partly because that’s not what my work is about. I’m also afraid that including this information will make me look incompetent.

How should I include this information? I think the best thing to do is to state that under the overall time constraints getting either of the two libraries to work was not explored any further, which is what actually happened. But then this might look like I didn’t spent my time efficiently.

Maybe I’m just too much concerned that there will be only glass-half-empty people reading this, trying to see the problem in it.

Iam doing my master research now, we are given a span of 4 month to complete it. Usually we start working from the first sem but wen I approached my proff he gave me a new topic, since I was his taught student I taught I can take it up. But now iam struggling. Its related to bluetooth multihop. Iam working with hardware got kind of some results. Really feel low. My proff wants me to do simulation in ns3 but it’s very complex. Iam worried if worthless, donno if I would fail. Do any of guys felt the same.