Probably one of the most exiting things of the first year – the National Field Project – is about to start. This blog post is interesting for those who are currently in their 1st year. However, it may also be of interest to ‘outsiders’ to see how BSc Tourism students are involved in tourism-related research.

First of all, the National Field Project course starts with an interesting lecture about the actual research topic as well as a lecture on how to start your research project. Last years’ topic was about the relationship between souvenirs and (anticipated) emotions/mood. This years’ preparations are in full swing but it is likely that again, emotions are a key subject in the research. Ondrej Mitas is one of the lecturers who is actively involved in tourist emotion research and therefore a main contributor to the National Field Project.

NFP2014-CircleOnce background-knowledge is obtained about the research topic, students are assigned a supervisor who guides students through the research project. The first task is to write a literature review. Last academic year, we wrote about what the existing knowledge on the topic of souvenirs and emotions/mood, the relation between those concepts, and what knowldge gaps still exist. At first sight this might not seem to be the most exciting part of the National Field Project, but I believe it is one of the most important steps of the project. Therefore, I recommend every freshman student to take time to write a good literature review.

After writing the literature review the data collection starts. This means that students collect data from tourists at various destinations in the Netherlands. Last year, students went to five key tourist destinations; Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delft, The Hague/Scheveningen, and Kinderdijk. Here, we collected data by handing out questionnaires and by means of participant observation which we practiced beforehand during an interesting field trip to Maastricht. Data collection takes three days, and during those days, you have enough time to explore the cities and to spend quality time together. Staying in hostels at the destination certainly adds value to the whole National Field Project experience.


Upon return in Breda, students analyse the data using SPSS and write a report on it. I must say, this is very time consuming, but in the end it is more than worth it! Completing your first academic research paper feels surprisingly good.

To complete the National Field Project course students individually give a 20 minute presentation on their research paper. The first 10 minutes you present and explain your research findings, and the next 10 minutes are about answering questions raised by the lecturers of the National Field Project course. This seems quite long and probably sounds scary, but as long as you know what research steps you took, and understand your analysis and conclusions, you should be fine.

Finally, if you are a 1st year student, I would like to give you some tips & tricks:

  • Take enough time to write your literature review. It acts as a guideline to answer your research question.
  • Pay attention during the Statistics and Mathematics lectures, taught by Marcel Bastiaansen. Some might love it, some might hate it, but knowledge of SPSS is essential to analyze your data.
  • The National Field Project is done in small groups. Make sure however, that in your team you do things together. In the end, you have to give an individual presentation where you defend your research paper. If you do not know what your fellow team-member did, lecturers will notice.
  • Dare to be critical. If you are not satisfied with the research findings as a whole, than mention this during your presentation, as long as you are able to give solid arguments why you are not satisfied with the findings.

Good luck, and enjoy this year’s NFP!

TjeerdvanDijkWritten by: Tjeerd van Dijk