Can I do a master’s thesis with exploratory work without any results? It’s like assume some hypotheses about certain data and testing them. If yes, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Can such a work support me as a good Ph.D. student?

If I didn’t publish anything in my master’s level, and I graduated with such a thesis, would that support me or pointing a red flag against my research skills? Add to this, working as a research assistant during my master’s studies. Would anyone appreciate my failed attempts and hard work yet not productive? I’m really a hard worker and I’m doing non-traditional approaches (because traditional techniques don’t advance/”revolutionize” the field) in my research but I don’t have any output. My advisor agrees that we need to do non-traditional approaches to advance our field, but he is pointing out that we need results and to do some baby steps based on a published research. Unfortunately, It’s too late now to publish anything. I also feel that this RA job is something against me when I want to apply for a phd program (maybe in a much better school). Would a person who read my application make a statement like this; “2 years as an RA with a good advisor and no a single publication? furthermore a bad thesis? your application is in the trash dear..”. I also feel that my advisor feels I’m not really a good RA, and if the time came back, he wouldn’t have hired me. Which means that he won’t give me a good recommendation letter and most importantly, I let him down. He was very generous to me and provided me a full scholarship and this RA job because he thought I’m really good, but now he thinks the opposite. For me personally, I do believe that I’m not productive, however, I’m learning a lot and I’m a hard worker.

What is the effect of such a situation on me when I want to apply for a Ph.D. program in one of the very good schools (one of the top 200 schools in the world maybe?)

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