Thesis Guidelines. Master of Arts in General Psychology Program. University of North Florida PSYCHOLOGY

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1 Thesis Guidelines Master of Arts in General Psychology Program University of North Florida PSYCHOLOGY

2 2 Thesis Guidelines The purpose of this document is to provide you with important information, requirements, expectations, and milestones as you progress through the MAGP capstone thesis process. Carefully reading and following the recommendations and guidelines in this document will facilitate the timely and effective completion of your thesis. The thesis is more than a substantial written document, and represents the culmination of an intensive faculty-guided project in which you engage in the entirety of a research process. Through this endeavor, you will demonstrate competency skills in using the methodologies of psychology and conduct a research project that constitutes a justifiable contribution to the discipline of psychology. The contribution may involve either an original study or the development of a theoretical model for which you provide empirical justification through your research. If your thesis is part of a larger collaborative project, you must identify an aspect of that project that represents your individual effort and original contribution. In general, your thesis should demonstrate worthiness of an advanced degree in psychology. How long should my thesis be? Quality of your thesis supersedes the quantification of page numbers. However as a statistical guide to page length, review of previous MAGP students theses indicate an average length of 25 to 30 pages, excluding appendices and other peripheral content. How many hypotheses should my thesis include? The number of hypotheses is governed by the literature review and research design and you will work with your Thesis Advisor to develop appropriate hypotheses. The number of hypotheses in MAGP theses tend to be two to four hypotheses, although this number may be higher according to the research design and purpose. How many references should my thesis include? Your thesis should demonstrate mastery of the literature and therefore will involve an extensive literature review. Quality as well as quantity of references should be considered and you will work closely with your Thesis Advisor in determining references required for appropriate thesis development and substantiation of hypotheses and interpretation of findings. On average, MAGP student theses include 40 references. When should I defend my thesis to complete the program in two years? You should plan on defending your thesis by mid-february in your second year of the program to meet thesis and graduation deadlines for a second year spring term graduation. Since this timeline is relatively early in the semester, your Thesis Advisor may additionally require the development of a publishable form of your thesis manuscript to meet Thesis B requirements.

3 3 Thesis Chronology In your first year of the MAGP program, you will work closely with a faculty member as you master the scientific literature on a topic of interest. This work will build to a written thesis proposal that is shared with your thesis committee. You will begin conducting your thesis project once your thesis is approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB) and your thesis committee. Year 1 Milestones Select a Thesis Advisor Develop/Refine a Thesis Idea Select a Thesis Committee Write a Thesis Proposal Hold a Thesis Proposal Meeting Begin Conducting Thesis Project Select a Thesis Advisor. Review faculty research areas and identify potential research topic interest matches. Set up meetings with faculty to discuss research opportunities and thesis ideas. Some items you may want to discuss with a potential thesis advisor are: laboratory organization and management style (e.g., hands-on or hands-off), adviser expectations for students (e.g., weekly time that should be dedicated to research responsibilities, progress assessment), time availability for thesis mentoring, recognition of student accomplishments (e.g., co-authorship), potential financial support, and other items that you feel are important for making an informed decision. Your initial Thesis Advisor choice should not automatically be considered permanent. If either you or the faculty member decides that a change is needed, you will identify a different faculty member as your Thesis Advisor. It is extremely rare, however, for a student to change his/her thesis committee once the thesis project has begun. A decision to change advisors at any point during your program of studies must be reported to the Program Director and you must inform your initial Thesis Advisor. It is advisable to write a letter of appreciation for your initial Thesis Advisor to acknowledge the time and dedication offered in mentorship as part of your research and professional development. A change in faculty supervisors will not, in any way, adversely affect your standing in the Program. Develop and Refine a Thesis Idea. Prior to beginning your thesis project, you will conduct an extensive review of the literature on the topic agreed upon by you and your Thesis Advisor. Your literature review will inform the development of hypotheses and research design. This is a good time to discuss the IRB process with your Thesis Advisor to develop a plan and timeline regarding this essential qualifier. Thesis

4 4 planning and literature review should continue during the second semester in conjunction with Supervised Research. Select a Thesis Committee. With the approval of your Thesis Advisor, ask another member of the Graduate Faculty or a qualified professional with expertise in the area of the thesis research to serve as second reader and submit a Thesis or Dissertation Committee Membership form to the Graduate School. Your thesis committee must include, at a minimum, a thesis advisor and a second reader. Additional faculty members from within the Department may be added to the committee at your discretion. The inclusion of any non-graduate Faculty member (e.g., committee member from outside the department, or who is not a member of the UNF Graduate Faculty, or who does not hold a terminal degree in his or her field) must be approved by the Program Director. If your committee consists of a Non-Graduate Faculty member, you will need to submit a Request for Non-Graduate Faculty Thesis/Dissertation Committee Member form with your Thesis or Dissertation Committee Membership Form. If there are any changes in your committee, updated forms must be submitted to the Graduate School. Write a Thesis Proposal. The proposal document is written in APA format and consists of a title page, introduction, and methods section. The proposal should include adequate detail and depth with proper citation, spelling, grammar, and organization. Your Thesis Advisor will guide you in the writing of your proposal and it is strongly recommended that your Second Reader has the opportunity for input. The proposal introduction section should: Establish the importance/significance of the topic the study Identify existing relevant knowledge, foundational concepts (e.g., theories, models) and views Demonstrate your knowledge of the literature Draw sound inferences from previous research that lead clearly to the hypotheses and research questions The methods section of your proposal should: Describe the methods and procedures used in enough detail so that it is replicable Provide an appropriate research design to test hypotheses Your thesis proposal will be reviewed by your thesis committee to determine your readiness to proceed with your thesis project. Your thesis committee can provide valuable input regarding your research design, methods, and procedures. Hold a Thesis Proposal Meeting. You are required to meet with your thesis committee (which all committee members must attend) at least once before the thesis defense to discuss your proposal. The purpose of this meeting is to provide you an opportunity to discuss your proposed project with your committee to get valuable feedback and advice that could help you improve your proposed research. It is recommended that your proposal meeting occur during the second semester, in conjunction with Supervised Research. At this meeting your research plan is fully vetted by the thesis committee, who

5 5 may ask for modifications and revisions they feel are appropriate. If IRB approval is obtained before the proposal meeting, a revised protocol may be required before data collection begins. Eligibility for Thesis B registration is contingent upon holding a thesis proposal meeting. You must submit a completed Thesis Proposal Form, signed by all thesis committee members, to the Program Director prior to registering for Thesis B. See the Thesis Proposal Form at the end of this document. Begin Conducting Research. Upon approval of your proposal by the thesis committee and IRB committee, the thesis project can begin and you are expected to meet with your thesis adviser at least once a month. Year 1 Thesis Checklist Complete the CITI course sponsored through the IRB. Select a Thesis Advisor. Discuss the IRB process with your Thesis Advisor. Read the Graduate School procedures for completing a thesis or dissertation. These can be found at: With the guidance of your Thesis Advisor, conduct a literature review and develop and refine a thesis project. Submit your research proposal to the IRB for approval. Select a Second Reader for your thesis committee. Additional committee members may be added at your discretion. Submit a Thesis or Dissertation Committee Membership form to The Graduate School. If your committee consists of a Non-Graduate Faculty member, you also need to submit a Request for Non-Graduate Faculty Thesis/Dissertation Committee Member form. Write a thesis proposal with the guidance of your Thesis Advisor. It is strongly recommended that your Second Reader also has the opportunity to provide input. Hold a Thesis Proposal Meeting and complete the Thesis Proposal Form. Submit the Thesis Proposal Form to the Program Director. Upon thesis committee and IRB approval, begin conducting your thesis project.

6 6 In the second year of the program, you will finalize your thesis research and develop a written thesis document. Your thesis project will be orally defended and must be approved by your committee, the Psychology Department Chair, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before final submission to the Graduate School. Year 2 Milestones Analyze & Interpret Results Complete the Written Thesis Oral Thesis Defense Submit Thesis to Psychology Department Chair and then Dean of the College of Arts& Sciences Submit Thesis to the Graduate School for Final Approval Analyze & Interpret Results. Your research project should conclude within the first term of your second year to allow for analysis and interpretation of results. Complete the Written Thesis. Finalize your thesis manuscript with the guidance of your Thesis Advisor. The final draft of the thesis should be presented to your Thesis Advisor and the second reader two weeks before the date of the oral defense. Consult the library s requirements as described at the following website: Library policy takes precedence over APA format. Oral Thesis Defense. You must present the findings of your thesis to faculty, students, and interested outside parties in an oral defense. Typically, candidates orally present their thesis project in a slide presentation of approximately 30 minutes. You will respond to questions and inquiries from committee members and others in the audience. After all committee members have had the chance to comment and ask questions, you will be asked to leave the room to allow your thesis committee to discuss the defense and formulate recommendations. You will then rejoin the meeting and the committee will inform you of the committee s deliberations and decision. You will incorporate any changes requested during the defense into your thesis, after which the Thesis Advisor, other committee members, and you sign the signature page, which becomes a formal part of the thesis document. (Please note that the Program Director does not sign this document unless he/she is on the thesis committee or is the Department Chair.)

7 7 Two weeks before the defense, you must submit the event to the UNF Calendar of Events and to Osprey Update. Include the date and time, location, thesis title, thesis advisor name and contact information. All thesis requirements and deadlines are posted on the Thesis and Dissertation Procedures website. Submit Thesis to the Psychology Department Chair and then to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Psychology Department Chair will have two weeks to read and comment on your thesis. You revise your thesis according to changes requested by the Chair and then send on to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences with the signature page. You will make any final changes requested by the Dean. If at any point in the thesis process (including reviews that take place after the thesis defense) a member of the faculty or administration believes the writing quality does not meet thesis standards, you will be asked to employ the services of a copy editor, at your expense. The Graduate School can direct you to several it recommends. Note: Dr. Toglia prefers to receive an electronic ed copy of your thesis. Dr. Fenner prefers a hard copy of your thesis delivered to the COAS Dean's office. The signature page is the only part of your thesis that is always passed along in hard copy. You will need to transfer the signature page to necessary individuals throughout the process. Submit Thesis to Graduate School for Final Approval. It is your responsibility to submit to the Graduate School a Non-Exclusive License Agreement form with the signature page and to upload the final version of your thesis to the UNF Digital Commons website. When you submit your document to UNF Digital Commons, the Dean of the Graduate School will be noticed that the document needs to be reviewed. More detailed information can be accessed at the webpage: You must submit a formal graduation application to the Registrar's Office by the deadline date listed in the Academic Calendar at All work required for the degree must be completed and certification of completion posted in the UNF student record system prior to graduation.

8 8 Year 2 Thesis Checklist Review the Graduate School procedures for completing a thesis or dissertation. These can be found at: Conclude research project for analysis and interpretation of results. Complete a written thesis with the guidance of your Thesis Advisor. Two weeks prior to your oral thesis defense, provide your Second Reader your written thesis and submit the event to the UNF Calendar of Events and to Osprey Update. Hold an oral thesis defense (by mid-february for a spring term graduation). Upon thesis committee approval and signatures, submit your thesis manuscript and signature page to the Psychology Department Chair. Upon Department Chair approval and signature, submit your thesis manuscript and signature page to the Dean of Arts and Sciences Two weeks prior to graduation, submit to the Graduate School a Non-Exclusive License Agreement form with a one original certificate of approval (signature page with all required signatures). Submit your completed thesis by utilizing the UNF Digital Commons Prepare a publishable thesis manuscript. This may be required by your Thesis Advisor for Thesis B completion.

9 9 Sample Thesis Timeline Year 1 Fall- First Semester Spring- Second Semester Summer- Third Semester Begin working with faculty member(s) in research. Identify a Graduate Faculty member as a Thesis Advisor. Conduct a thorough literature review that informs the development of hypotheses and study design. Write a thesis proposal. Hold a Proposal Meeting with your thesis committee by the end of the term. Complete a Thesis Proposal Form and submit to the Program Director. Supervised Research Data collection contingent upon the Proposal Meeting conclusion and IRB approval. Year 2 Fall- Fourth Semester Spring- Fifth Semester Continue data collection as needed. Conduct appropriate statistical analyses to test hypotheses. Thesis A Produce a finalized thesis document. Defend your thesis by mid-february. Prepare your thesis for publication. Thesis B Note: If you are unable to finish the thesis by the end of the spring semester of the second year, you can complete it over the summer. However, this will require you to re-apply for summer graduation. If your thesis is still not finished by the end of the summer term, then: (a) you must sign up (and pay) for 1 hour of Thesis B, up to three hours total until the thesis is completed, and (b) these additional hours must be taken across consecutive semesters.

10 10 Thesis Proposal Form Master of Arts in General Psychology PSYCHOLOGY This certifies that (name) held a proposal meeting on (date). Thesis Proposal Approved? YES NO Additional meeting required? YES NO Summary of items discussed and recommendations: Committee members present: Thesis Advisor: Signature: Second Reader: Signature: Committee Member (optional): Signature: Student: Signature: MAGP Students ideally should hold their Thesis Proposal meeting during Supervised Research taken during the first-year spring term of study. The purpose of this meeting is to provide students the opportunity to get valuable feedback and advice that could improve the proposed research. This form is submitted to the MAGP Director and is required for Thesis B registration.

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