POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF MASTER OF EDUCATION THESIS

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1 SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF MASTER OF EDUCATION THESIS

2 PRODUCED FOR THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES MOUNT ST. MARY S UNIVERSITY BY CAROLINE EICK, PH.D. Contributors: Caroline Eick, Barbara Marinak, Elizabeth Monahan Last Edited:

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 4 Candidacy for Degree 5 Thesis Scoring Rubric 6 Planning and Research Proposal 9 Timeline Checklist / Writing Proficiency Test 10 Selecting Your Thesis Topic 12 Literature Review 15 Criteria for Evaluating a Research Proposal 16 Writing the Proposal (MEDUC 524) 18 Sections of Proposal 19 Approval of Study by Institutional Review Board (IRB) 20 Writing and Defending Research Thesis 21 Writing the Thesis / Enrolling in MEDUC Major Sections of Thesis 23 Scoring Rubric 26 Thesis Committee 27 Oral Defense Procedures 28 Format, Style, and Forms 29 Typing requirements 30 Electronic submission guidelines 31 Forms - Approval of research proposal form 32 - Entrance Exam to MEDUC Thesis Committee approval form 38 - Thesis Committee approval form / conditional 39 References 41 3

4 INTRODUCTION To fulfill the requirements of the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree offered by the School of Education and Human Services of Mount St. Mary s University, a thesis must be completed and approved. The School of Education and Human Services offers two types of Master of Education degrees: Master of Education with concentration in Technology and Master of Education with concentration in Reading. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) thesis is the capstone work that integrates the knowledge and skills acquired during the master s degree program of study. The work submitted for a master s degree is expected to demonstrate the graduate student s highest level of scholarship and adherence to the format and style set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA). The goal of a thesis is not only to pursue a particular research interest, but equally to extend current research and/or create new, unexplored areas of inquiry. The thesis demonstrates original, critical and independent thinking, thorough documentation and substantiation of claims advanced, and appropriate organization and format. The thesis is a visible and permanent record of the quality of work produced by a graduate student at Mount St. Mary s University. Moreover, an oral defense is required for graduate students in the School of Education and Human Services at Mount St. Mary s University. Practitioners who engage in research have much to offer to the field of education. The thesis is an opportunity to implement quality research in an area relevant to one s present and future career. Completing a research study with the guidance of a faculty committee better prepares the graduate student to conduct, recognize and reference quality research as part of ongoing learning and professional development. Regardless of the type of research chosen by a graduate student, the purpose of this policies and procedures manual is to provide guidelines for the completion of the Master Thesis in Education degree. 4

5 CANDIDACY FOR DEGREE Your Program Director will check your student files to determine whether or not all the program requirements have been met, your grade point average is 3.0 or higher, all incompletes have been resolved, and all is in order for the granting of the degree. To receive your Master of Education degree you must have completed the courses listed in the graduate catalogue, and you must score proficient on all parts of the thesis (scoring rubric follows course descriptions). For all concentrations, all students are strongly encouraged to take the required courses MEDUC 524 (Fundamentals of Educational Research) and MEDUC 525 (Research Thesis Seminar) consecutively. If one or more semesters elapse before you enroll in MEDUC 525 (Thesis Seminar), then you will be required to pass an entrance exam to enroll in MEDUC 525. MEDUC 524 is offered during the Fall Semester, and MEDUC 525 is offered during the Spring Semester. To ensure that you have met all the program requirements you may want to consult the degree plans available in the graduate catalogue, on our website, and in our information center. 5

6 The following thesis scoring tool is offered here to help you begin with the end in mind. Research Thesis Scoring Tool IRA Standards (2003) addressed: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 5.4 ISTE Standards addressed: TF-I.B1; TF-III.A2; TF -VIII.D1 Component Abstract (.05) Introduction (.05) Literature Review (.10) Distinguished Abstract clearly and succinctly states the purpose, describes sample, summarizes methodology and major findings in an academic discourse. Abstract is words. Introduction clearly and succinctly states in academic discourse the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review clearly and succinctly synthesizes relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, details the parameters of the search, and defines key terms in academic discourse. The author consistently and accurately follows APA guidelines. Proficient Abstract clearly and succinctly states the purpose, describes sample, summarizes methodology and major findings. Abstract is words. Introduction clearly and succinctly states the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review clearly and succinctly synthesizes relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, details the parameters of the search, and defines key terms. The author consistently and accurately follows APA guidelines. Developing Abstract addresses all or some of the following: states purpose, describes sample, summarizes methodology and major findings. Abstract is words. Introduction states the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review synthesizes some relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, details the parameters of the search, and defines key terms. The author inconsistently and/or inaccurately follows APA guidelines. Unsatisfactory Abstract fails to state the purpose, describe sample, summarize methodology and major findings. Or Abstract is missing. Introduction fails to state the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review fails to synthesize relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, detail the parameters of the search, and define key terms. The author inconsistently and/or inaccurately follows APA guidelines. 6

7 Methodology (.30) Results (.30) Conclusions (.10) The Methodology section clearly and succinctly describes types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations in academic discourse. Relevant citations accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Results section clearly and succinctly states findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence in academic discourse. Relevant tables and/or figures accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section includes statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and makes relevant recommendations for practice in The Methodology section clearly and succinctly describes types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations. Relevant citations accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Results section clearly and succinctly states findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence. Relevant tables and/or figures accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section includes statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and makes relevant recommendations for practice. The Methodology section describes some of the following: types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations. Relevant citations accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Results section states findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence. Tables and/or figures do not follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section includes statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and makes relevant recommendations for practice. The Methodology section fails to describe types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations. Relevant citations do not follow APA Guidelines. The Results section fails to state findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence. Tables and/or figures do not follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section fails to include statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and make relevant recommendations 7

8 References (.05) Style (.05) academic discourse. The Reference List is complete and accurate. Overall, the thesis uses a professional writing style and completely follows the specifications of the assignment. The title page adheres to APA Guidelines. The Reference List is complete and accurate (with fewer than 3 surface errors). Overall, the thesis uses an appropriate writing style for a formal setting and completely follows the specifications of the assignment. The title page adheres to APA Guidelines. The Reference List is incomplete or inaccurate. Overall, the thesis inconsistently uses an appropriate writing style for a formal setting and somewhat follows the specifications of the assignment. The title page adheres to APA Guidelines. for practice. The Reference List is incomplete and inaccurate. Overall, the thesis uses an inappropriate writing style for a formal setting, and does not follow the specifications of the assignment. The title page fails to adhere to APA Guidelines. Abstract Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results Conclusions References Style TOTAL x.05 = x.05 = x.10 = x.30 = x.30 = x.10 = x.05 = x.05 = = Exemplary; = Proficient; = Developing;.49-0 = Unsatisfactory For your thesis to be approved, you must score at least 2 in each category of the rubric. 8

9 PLANNING AND RESEARCH PROPOSAL 9

10 TIMELINE AND CHECKLIST DUE DATE STEPS 1. Discuss possible topics with faculty members. Explore topics with faculty in the program. Identify mutual interests and availability of faculty to be on your committee. Do this early in your program. (See section on Committee Members for details about faculty availability) 2. Engage in a writing self-assessment - Coherence (paragraphs build on one another) -Concise and precise language -No surface errors (grammar & spelling) -APA Style 3. Develop your thesis proposal in MEDUC 524. (Fundamentals of Educational Research). While developing your proposal, establish a relationship with a faculty in the program whose expertise informs your research interest. You should complete and submit your plan for research to the Institutional Review Board [IRB] for approval. Work closely with your instructor to articulate a clear research topic and research question(s), produce a strong literature review, and choose an appropriate research methodology. Note: Your proposal must be approved by the MEDUC 524 instructor for you to have permission to enroll in the MEDUC 525 Research Thesis Seminar. 10

11 4. Write your thesis in MEDUC 525 (Research Thesis). Only students who have completed MEDUC 524 and whose theses proposals have been approved may enroll in MEDUC 525. It is recommended that you complete MEDUC 524 requirements the fall semester immediately preceding the spring semester when MEDUC 525 is offered. If one or more semesters have elapsed between your completion of MEDUC 524 and your imminent enrollment in MEDUC 525, then you must pass an entrance exam to enroll in MEDUC 525. The entrance exam tests research knowledge acquired during MEDUC Become intimately familiar with due dates and deadlines for submission of various sections of the thesis to your thesis committee (course instructor) for feedback according to guidelines set in the MEDUC 525 syllabus. 6. Reserve an editor and/or statistician. You may need to hire an editor who is familiar with APA style to help with your writing. Your supervisor in MEDUC 525 will provide continual feedback to the content and structure of your thesis, and alert you to general questions of style. If you plan on implementing a research study that requires statistical analysis, you may be advised to consult with or hire a statistician A month before your oral defense, a draft of your thesis is read by committee to determine whether sufficient progress has been made toward production of final thesis. You will be advised if your thesis is unlikely to be accepted. 11

12 8. Oral defense required. Upon completion of your thesis, you will be required to pass an oral defense. The committee will either approve the thesis or approve conditionally with recommendations for revisions. You must submit copies of your final thesis to your committee members at least two weeks before your oral defense to allow committee members time for thoughtful feedback and questioning during the oral defense. The oral defense is public (see section on Public Oral Defense) 9. If you are unable to complete satisfactorily the thesis within the spring semester, you must register as In Progress until completion. A five year maximum is permitted for a master s degree program. The five year time line begins with enrollment into the program. During the In Progress status, you will continue to register in MEDUC 525 for one credit until completion of your thesis within five years of your initial enrollment in MEDUC Consult with thesis committee about presentations and co-authoring articles. Any public sharing of your work must cite MSMU and the thesis supervisor. 11. Graduate and celebrate! 12

13 SELECTING YOUR THESIS TOPIC Early Steps 1. Start an ongoing list of topics and research ideas that interest you, and areas of need in your professional field. Keep an ongoing list that includes relevant references, notes, contacts, and resources. 2. Whenever possible use a topic of interest to you for class assignments in order to begin building your reference file and begin exploring relevant literature. Writing papers on a topic that you may want to develop in your thesis creates opportunities for good feedback from our professors. 3. Evaluate your writing early in the program. If your writing skills are not of graduate level standard, then seek help by enrolling in a writing class, refer to writing guidebooks, and use tutors. The style of writing for a thesis is different from the style used in creative writing or personal communications. Research writing is clear, concise, and precise. Seek help with writing research papers as soon as you enter the program if you believe you need help with graduate level writing. 4. Become comfortable with using the campus library and the systems for locating electronic and other reference materials. Seek assistance from the reference librarians. Choose Research Topic 1. Choose a research topic in which you have a strong interest. It will be easier to persevere in your research during difficult phases of your thesis production if you are passionate about your research topic. 2. If you are having a difficult time deciding on a topic, here are some tips: a. Check articles in peer-reviewed journals to identify topics of current interest in your field. b. Check previous theses as well as journal articles for recommendations for further research. Many research projects are built upon previous inquiries (e.g., extensions of the investigation, replication with a different population, improvement of a methodologically weak investigation). c. Meet the faculty who are teaching in the area of your interest and ask for resources. d. Of course, research needs can emerge from your own classroom and school experiences. 13

14 3. Factors to keep in mind when selecting a topic: a. Is the investigation of your topic realistic given the allotted time frame? b. Are there funding possibilities? c. Will the research of the topic advance your professional development and/or career goals? d. Do you have access to an appropriate population? e. Do you have access to valid and reliable instruments (if applicable)? f. Will the study of the topic allow you to fulfill the requirements of the thesis research: - conduct independent research? -make a contribution to knowledge that can be documented and disseminated? 4. Choosing a topic and narrowing it to a problem that can be practically and effectively investigated is a difficult challenge. Close work with your instructor in MEDUC 524 (Fundamentals of Educational Research) is a key to success. It is during MEDUC 524 that you create your research thesis proposal. It is at this time that you are required to clearly articulate your research topic and research question(s), produce a relevant literature review, and articulate an appropriate research methodology. 14

15 LITERATURE REVIEW A review of the literature is a synthesis of published theoretical positions and research studies relevant to the chosen research topic. Following are some commonplace issues for consideration. 1. Challenges of picking a topic too broad or too narrow Picking a topic as broad as reading will yield thousands of books and significantly more articles; moreover, there are too many theoretical perspectives to effectively consider within the perimeters of one thesis. The topic of reading is too broad and needs to be narrowed. On the other hand, a topic such as effects of sensory-motor integration on reading achievement may barely yield any research from which to construct a literature review. The Fundamental of Educational Research coursework (MEDUC 524) provides guidance for your literature review. However, whatever preliminary literature review you can conduct prior to enrollment in MEDUC 524 will significantly improve your progress. And there is the expectation that the literature review will be extended/revised during MEDUC The leap from researchable topic to research question usually requires an extended period of time researching the literature first. The literature review alerts the researcher to what has already been done, how it was done, what was discovered, and what is needed next. 3. An organized and thorough review is essential to the ultimate success of the study. You know when you have completed a literature review when sources become redundant and begin to repeat themselves. 4. Appropriate sources for literature review: a. General sources which provide information on the location of resources (e.g., Current Index on Journals in Education; The Reader s Guide to Periodical Literature; The Statistical Abstract of the United States) b. Secondary sources which are often meta-analyses and syntheses of existing research such as The Review of Educational Research published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Other such sources include: The Handbook on Research on Teaching; The Encyclopedia of Educational Research; the National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook. Secondary sources must come from peer reviewed journals. c. Primary sources which are actual research studies reported in refereed journals or in abstracts of student research (e.g., Dissertation Abstracts). Ask librarian to help you with searching and accessing peer-reviewed journals electronically. 15

16 d. Other sources might include unpublished reports, conference papers, government monographs, and personal communications with other researchers in the field when research on your topic is not readily available. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING RESEARCH STUDY In preparation for your proposal, ask yourself the following questions (also, periodically refer to scoring rubric for Master in Education thesis included on pages 9-11 as you prepare your proposal it will help you keep focused). 1. Review of the literature a. Are the sources reviewed recent? b. Are the sources reviewed relevant to the topic? c. Are there sources that should be included (perhaps older classic works) that were not included? d. Is there sufficient detail for the reader about relevant research design, populations, findings, etc. 2. Problem and purpose of study a. Is the statement of the problem clearly stated? b. Is the purpose of the study clearly stated? c. Is there a theoretical rationale in which the hypotheses or research questions are grounded? 3. Hypotheses or Research Questions Are the hypotheses or research questions clearly stated? For hypotheses: - Are the hypotheses testable? - Is the predicted relationship among variables clear? For research questions: - Is the investigation of the research question feasible given the population and time constraints? - Do sub-questions effectively extend and elaborate on the research question? 4. Methodology a. Is the methodology clearly identified: quantitative (type of quantitative study), qualitative (type of qualitative study), mixed methods study (types of quantitative and qualitative approaches)? b. Are components of methodology clearly and precisely addressed: population (how was the sample/population selected), data sources, data collection, data analysis, instruments? While you cannot discuss results at the stage of the proposal, it is good to keep in mind the following questions as you pursue your research: 16

17 Results and Discussion a. Are the findings related back to the literature review? b. Are the findings related back to the hypotheses or research question? c. Is the discussion of the results substantiated by evidence and consistent with results? d. In the case of Action Research, has a plan of action been included with a discussion of implications for future research? General a. Is the proposal clearly written and understandable? b. Is the language biased (researcher seems to be promoting a particular intervention or technology)? In the case of action research, has the researcher made transparent his/her role in the research process? c. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the report? 17

18 WRITING THE PROPOSAL In moving from an idea to a well-defined thesis there is much writing and re-writing. That is why a clearly written and well-grounded research proposal is often half the battle toward the production of a proficient thesis. The proposal that you write in the research course (MEDUC 524), if well-written, precise and coherent, will significantly enhance the production of your thesis MEDUC 525. Some suggestions for keeping up with the intense writing required toward the production of a Master in Education thesis: 1. Keep accurate and complete records of all materials read and referenced (you never know when you might need to revisit a source for further details or to double-check evidence) 2. Plan your daily or weekly work in advance. Begin with the end in mind (the due date for submission of the proposal) and work backwards to establish a timeline for writing. 3. Set aside significant amount of time for library work (whether electronic or on premises) 4. Keep in mind that your writing style needs to be: a. Clear and concise (yet often redundant) b. Non-judgmental (avoid editorializing and judging) c. Adequately and appropriately cited d. And your claims must be clearly substantiated by clearly identified evidence 5. Have handy the most current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual). 18

19 Sections of Proposal Required: Approval of Proposal by MEDUC 524 Research Course Instructor The written proposal is your plan for the research. The instructor of the research course (MEDUC 524) must approve your proposal before you embark on your research (conducted in MEDUC 525). The more complete and carefully planned the proposal, the more likely that the thesis will be successfully completed. The proposal generally consists of Chapters I, II, and III of your thesis. Format The following format is suggested, however, some adaptations may be in order for some descriptive, historical, or case study type of research. TITLE PAGE COPYRIGHT PAGE SIGNATURE PAGE ABSTRACT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Introduction Statement of the problem (including background and significance of study) Purpose of study Research question & sub-questions / Hypotheses Operational definitions Limitations Assumptions Implications CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Statement of purpose and research questions Overview of literature review Theoretical rationale (if appropriate according to methodology) Thematically or chronologically organized research review Conclusions CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Review purpose of study and research question(s) Setting Participants Design Measurements / instruments Procedure / Thick descriptions if qualitative research Data Collection Data Analysis (at the proposal stage explain how you plan to analyze your data) REFERENCES 19

20 APPROVAL OF STUDY BY INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD Before you may enroll in the Research Thesis MEDUC 525), you must obtain written approval of your study by the university s Institutional Review Board. Good practice and the law require that research involving human participants be conducted to comply with institutional ethical and procedural protocols articulated to protect the participants from social, psychological, and physical harm. Application forms are completed electronically. Dr. Robert Keefer, Chair, Institutional Review Board at for access to IRB application. Your MEDUC 524 (Fundamentals of Educational Research) instructor will help you complete the IRB application. Some school districts provide a parental approval template. Please inquire with your school system. 20

21 WRITING RESEARCH THESIS 21

22 WRITING THE THESIS ENROLLING IN RESEARCH THESIS SEMINAR (MEDUC 525) After your proposal has been approved, enroll in the Research Thesis seminar (MEDUC 525). During this course, you will meet with your instructor and your cohort of Master Thesis students to discuss and peer-review your ongoing data collection and data analysis, as well as receive feedback on the various sections of the thesis. You will be expected to integrate the feedback and revise your narrative per suggestions from your instructor as well as those of your committee whose expertise intersects with your research topic. Your committee will read, edit, and evaluate drafts of each section of your work in the areas of content, organization, style, and form. Expect to revise, retype, and resubmit your paper many times: this is the norm. See next page for sections of the final thesis. 22

23 Sections of the Final Thesis TITLE PAGE COPYRIGHT PAGE SIGNATURE PAGE ABSTRACT One paragraph summary of your thesis, a maximum of words, that includes purpose of study, research questions, theoretical rationale, methodology (type of data collected and kind of analysis), findings and conclusions. Write the abstract after your study has been completed. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (optional) TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Introduction to the study Statement of the problem (present background/history of problem and discuss significance/importance of study) Purpose of study Research question & sub-questions / Hypotheses Operational definitions Limitations (things over which you have no control, things that may bias or skew the results, conditions that affect the generalizability of your results) Assumptions (acknowledge and make explicit those strategies/beliefs/underpinnings that may be taken for granted) Implications- describe possible significance of your study CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Statement of purpose and research questions Overview of literature review Theoretical rationale (if appropriate according to methodology) Thematically or chronologically organized research review Conclusions 23

24 Your review of the literature on your topic provides a theoretical rationale and historical context for your study and application. Organize your review of the literature either thematically or chronologically (use sub-headings) depending on which organization best supports the type of research conducted over time on your topic. Only review the studies and theoretical papers that are directly relevant to your particular research question. Begin with an introduction in which you provide an overview of you research process (time frame, specific journal searches, descriptors used in search), the types of research your literature review has yielded, and end with a conclusion in which you establish the need for your study. CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Review purpose of study and research question(s) Setting Participants Design Measurements / instruments Procedure / Thick descriptions if qualitative research Data Collection Data Analysis (at the proposal stage explain how you plan to analyze your data) The methods chapter begins with a brief description of the objectives of your study and a reminder of the research question. Then you describe your research approach (e.g., type of quantitative or qualitative research) and the design of your research investigation. Although your proposal might have been written in the present or future tense, your thesis methodology section is written in the past tense. While all types of quantitative and qualitative research may be conducted, it is often the case that working teachers seek to address issues pressing to their particular classroom practice or school community. Given the challenges involved in pursuing a Master of Education degree while also holding a teaching position, many graduate students choose to focus their attention on researching and improving classroom instruction or school-wide performance. Thus, it is often the case that the most relevant type of research to pursue, for Master of Education candidates, is Action research. Action research, like all good research, requires systematic and rigorous data collection and analysis, and while it primarily falls under the broad category of qualitative research, action research often integrates qualitative and quantitative approaches into mixed-methods designs. However, while the primary goal of other types of research is to explore and explain phenomena, the primary goal of action research is to solve an immediate problem. Thus, generalizability is not a goal of action research. Action research requires active intervention in a particular situation given the data gathered before and during the research process. Following an in-depth analysis and interpretation of data, the action research ends with a proposed action plan. 24

25 CHAPTER IV RESULTS Organize the results chapter following a logical outline, beginning with a brief restatement of the research question and/or problem. Follow with a description of your raw data (noting any patterns that are visible). Use tables or figures whenever appropriate to present your data. Describe the data in your narrative and address the question: What kinds of patterns are visible in the raw data? When describing the results, follow the guidelines suggested for your particular methodological approach. CHAPTER V CONCLUSION(S) Summarize the purpose of study, research methods and procedures, and review of major findings. For each major finding, indicate the possible reasons why you did or did not find the pattern in your data that you had hypothesized or that the data revealed. Assess the meaning of your results through evaluation and interpretation. Compare each main finding with the trends that you found in the literature. If your findings are different, explain what may account for those differences. Explain limitations of your study. Draw conclusions from your results directly related to your hypotheses or research questions. Determine the significance of your study and how you addressed the problem raised in your introduction. Support your conclusions with reference to your literature review. Articulate what knowledge your study contributes to the field. Be sure to clearly substantiate any claim you make. Suggest future research to extend, improve upon, or replicate your findings. One of your final subheadings may read: Implications for Future Research. If you conducted an action research, include a plan of action, discuss instructional implications. REFERENCES APPENDICES (include important material used in the study) 25

26 SCORING RUBRIC FOR THESIS For your thesis to be approved, you must score proficient (a minimum of 2 ) for each of the sections on the scoring rubric. If you do not score proficient in each category, you will be asked to make appropriate revisions. If you cannot make the revisions within the time frame of the MEDUC 525 course, you will be asked to re-enroll for one credit in the course until you satisfactorily complete the thesis (five year limit from initial enrollment in MEDUC 525). Refer to scoring rubric on pages 6-9 and in this manual. 26

27 THESIS COMMITTEE Your committee will consist of your thesis instructor in MEDUC 525, your proposal instructor in MEDUC 524 and a professor whose expertise intersects with your area of interest. If further expertise is required, then the 3 rd committee member replaces the proposal instructor of MEDUC 524. You will defend your thesis in a public oral defense in front of your thesis committee. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS Proposal Instructor (MEDUC 524) - Reviews the proposal for feasibility, timelines, originality and relevance in the field. - Provides suggestions of resources and names of significant researchers in the field - Helps you plan your timeline - Helps you complete the IRB application - Reads and reacts to drafts of proposal which contains the first three chapters - Approves your thesis research proposal - Scores your research proposal - Provides ongoing support throughout the entire thesis research and writing - Reviews each draft of thesis and provides constructive feedback Thesis Instructor Responsibility (MEDUC 525) - Provides ongoing support throughout the entire thesis research and writing - Reviews each draft of the thesis and provides constructive feedback - Oversees last two chapters and approves final thesis - Manages administrative details such as circulating the document for signatures - Handles differences of opinion or conflicts between you and other members of the committee Third Committee Member (expert in field of your research interest) - Reviews literature review and identifies lacunae and suggests sources - Reads and reviews final draft and provides constructive feedback All three committee members must agree to approve the thesis upon public oral defense. If approved, they are required to sign and date the approval form. If the thesis is conditionally approved, the thesis instructor records the necessary revisions and the deadline for submission of revisions. If your thesis has been approved conditionally, you must submit the required revisions within the indicated time frame in order to receive your degree. 27

28 PUBLIC ORAL DEFENSE PROCEDURES The full process takes about an hour and is open to all who wish to attend (until time for committee to deliberate). The candidate takes the first ten minutes to present research findings to the thesis committee and the broader audience. The thesis instructor then offers 5 minutes to the broader audience to pose questions to the candidate. Then the faculty committee takes 20 to 30 minutes to question the candidate after which the candidate and guests are asked to step out while the committee deliberates. Following deliberations, the candidate, without the guests, is asked to step back in at that time the thesis instructor communicates the committee s decision to the candidate. This will take up the last 10 to 15 minutes. The date and time of the oral defense will be determined between student and committee members, but will take place in early May prior to the last day of the semester. The committee may either approve the thesis or conditionally approve the thesis. If the thesis is conditionally approved, the student is required to address the requested revisions within the time frame set by the committee. Only when all revisions have been addressed to the satisfaction of the committee will the student be eligible to have the M.Ed. degree conferred at commencement. 28

29 FORMAT, STYLE AND FORMS 29

30 TYPING REQUIREMENTS The most recent edition of the American Psychological Association Manual is to be used as the reference for style, organization and format. Tables may need to be reduced for inclusion. Tables are numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear and are identified by Table and the appropriate Arabic number (Table 2). Figures are numbered in the same manner. Appendices are numbered A, B, C, etc., in the order in which they are cited in the text. Each appendix begins on a new page. In the reference list include only those references which are cited in the text. References cited in the text must appear in the reference list. Each source must be referenced in both places and the citation and reference list entry must be identical. You may also include a Bibliography or list of additional sources that were not cited in the text. This would be a separate listing following the reference list or an appendix. The text should be double spaced throughout. There should only be a double space between paragraphs. The left margin should measure 1 ½ inches. All other margins should measure 1 inch. Use Times New Roman 12pt font. 30

31 ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION Once your thesis has been properly formatted, you will be required to convert it into a PDF file and your PDF file to your Research Thesis (MEDUC 525) instructor who will then file your thesis electronically in the Phillips Library at Mount St. Mary s University. 31

32 Initial Research Proposal Approval Sheet Name: Program: I plan to enroll in Research Thesis (MEDUC 525) My topic: The purpose is: Students cannot enroll in the final Research Thesis seminar (MEDUC 525) without approval of thesis proposal by MEDUC 524 instructor. After the initial enrollment, students must register as In Progress until completion. A five year maximum is permitted for a master s degree program. To be considered for graduation, a candidacy petition and degree processing fee must be submitted by early April of the year of graduation (for a May graduation date). Instructor of Fundamentals of Educational Research (MEDUC 524): Print Name Signature Date Director of M.Ed. Programs Print Name Signature Date Student: Print Name 32

33 Signature Date Entrance Exam into MEDUC 525 (Thesis Seminar) For students who will not have taken the Fundamentals of Educational Research course the semester prior to taking the Research Thesis seminar Short Answer Questions MEDUC 525 Entrance Exam I. General Questions (12 / 17 minimum required) 1. What constitutes a good research question? (2 pts) 2. What are some ethical concerns related to conducting research? (2 pts) 3. What kinds of research questions are best answered through quantitative analyses, and why? (2 pts) 4. What kinds of research questions are best answered through qualitative analyses, and why? (2 pts) 5. What is a literature review? What is the purpose of a literature review? (2 pts) 6. Briefly explain: methodology (2 pts) 7. Briefly explain: limitations (2 pts) 8. Name the constitutive parts of a quantitative research paper. (1pt) 9. Name the constitutive parts of a qualitative research paper. (1pt) 10. What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography? (1pt) II. Quantitative Analysis (12 / 17 minimum required) 1. Define: hypothesis (2 pts) 2. Is the purpose of a quantitative research to prove a hypothesis? If so why? If not why not? (2 pts) 3. Define: validity (2 pts) 4. Define: reliability (2 pts) 5. Describe three different kinds of samples. (2 pt) 6. What are descriptive statistics? ( 1 pt) 7. What is a single-subject study? (1 pt) 8. What is the difference between Type I and Type II error? ( 1 pt) 9. Define an independent variable (2 pts) 10. Define a dependent variable ( 2pts) III. Qualitative Analyses (9/ 13 minimum required) 1. Briefly explain: ethnographic research (1 pt) 2. Briefly explain: action research (1 pt) 3. Briefly explain: phenomenological research (1 pt) 4. Briefly explain: triangulation (2 pts) 5. Briefly explain: thick description (2 pts) 6. Briefly explain: observer (1 pt) 7. Briefly explain: participant observer (1 pt) 33

34 8. Briefly explain: participant (1 pt) 9. In general, what is the format for presentation of research data in qualitative research? (1 pt) 10. Define: credibility (2 pts) IV. APA Format (2 / 3minimum required) 1. Write the proper APA (latest edition) reference with the following information (1.5 pts): Author: James Anderson Book Title: Politics of Education Year: 2008 Publisher: Palgrave and McMillan 2. Write the proper APA (2009) reference with the following information (1.5 pts): Author: James Anderson Article title: Politics of Education Journal: Educational Researcher Volume: 38 Number: 5 Year: 2009 Pages:

35 Master Thesis of Education Assessment Rubric Research Thesis Scoring Tool IRA Standards (2003) addressed: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 5.4 ISTE Standards addressed: TF-I.B1; TF-III.A2; TF -VIII.D1 Component Abstract (.05) Introduction (.05) Literature Review (.10) Distinguished Abstract clearly and succinctly states the purpose, describes sample, summarizes methodology and major findings in an academic discourse. Abstract is words. Introduction clearly and succinctly states in academic discourse the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review clearly and succinctly synthesizes relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, details the parameters of the search, and defines key terms in academic discourse. The author consistently and Proficient Abstract clearly and succinctly states the purpose, describes sample, summarizes methodology and major findings. Abstract is words. Introduction clearly and succinctly states the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review clearly and succinctly synthesizes relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, details the parameters of the search, and defines key terms. The author consistently and accurately follows APA guidelines. Developing Abstract addresses all or some of the following: states purpose, describes sample, summarizes methodology and major findings. Abstract is words. Introduction states the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review synthesizes some relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, details the parameters of the search, and defines key terms. The author inconsistently and/or inaccurately follows APA guidelines. Unsatisfactory Abstract fails to state the purpose, describe sample, summarize methodology and major findings. Or Abstract is missing. Introduction fails to state the problem/issue, rationale, research question and the significance of the study. Literature review fails to synthesize relevant research on the topic with appropriate headings, detail the parameters of the search, and define key terms. The author inconsistently and/or inaccurately follows APA guidelines. 35

36 Methodology (.30) Results (.30) Conclusions (.10) accurately follows APA guidelines. The Methodology section clearly and succinctly describes types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations in academic discourse. Relevant citations accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Results section clearly and succinctly states findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence in academic discourse. Relevant tables and/or figures accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section includes statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and makes relevant The Methodology section clearly and succinctly describes types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations. Relevant citations accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Results section clearly and succinctly states findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence. Relevant tables and/or figures accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section includes statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and makes relevant The Methodology section describes some of the following: types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations. Relevant citations accurately follow APA Guidelines. The Results section states findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence. Tables and/or figures do not follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section includes statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and makes relevant The Methodology section fails to describe types of methodology used, characteristics of the participants and context, sampling procedures, methods of inquiry, data collection processes, data analysis processes and limitations. Relevant citations do not follow APA Guidelines. The Results section fails to state findings or results which are substantiated by collected evidence. Tables and/or figures do not follow APA Guidelines. The Conclusions section fails to include statements that are substantiated by collected evidence and 36

37 References (.05) Style (.05) recommendations for practice in academic discourse. The Reference List is complete and accurate. Overall, the thesis uses a professional writing style and completely follows the specifications of the assignment. The title page adheres to APA Guidelines. recommendations for practice. The Reference List is complete and accurate (with fewer than 3 surface errors). Overall, the thesis uses an appropriate writing style for a formal setting and completely follows the specifications of the assignment. The title page adheres to APA Guidelines. recommendations for practice. The Reference List is incomplete or inaccurate. Overall, the thesis inconsistently uses an appropriate writing style for a formal setting and somewhat follows the specifications of the assignment. The title page adheres to APA Guidelines. make relevant recommendations for practice. The Reference List is incomplete and inaccurate. Overall, the thesis uses an inappropriate writing style for a formal setting, and does not follow the specifications of the assignment. The title page fails to adhere to APA Guidelines. Abstract Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results Conclusions References Style TOTAL x.05 = x.05 = x.10 = x.30 = x.30 = x.10 = x.05 = x.05 = = Exemplary; = Proficient; = Developing;.49-0 = Unsatisfactory For your thesis to be approved, you must score at least 2 in each category of the rubric. 37

38 THESIS COMMITTEE APPROVAL FORM SHOOL OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES Student Information Name Phone Number Student ID Thesis Information Thesis Title The Undersigned Thesis Committee Approves the Thesis Identified Here Above Submitted to the School of Education and Human Services Thesis Committee Signatures Thesis Instructor (print) Thesis Instructor (signature) Date Second Reader (print) Second Reader (signature) Date Third Reader (print) Third Reader (signature) Date 38

39 THESIS COMMITTEE CONDITIONAL APPROVAL FORM SHOOL OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES Student Information Name Phone Number Student ID Thesis Information Thesis Title The Undersigned Thesis Committee Conditionally Approves the Thesis Identified Here Above Submitted to the School of Education and Human Services Thesis Committee Signatures Thesis Instructor (print) Thesis Instructor (signature) Date Second Member (print) Second Reader (signature) Date Third Member (print) Third Reader (signature) Date 39

40 CONDITIONS FOR FINAL APPROVAL OF THESIS: TO BE REVISED AND RESUBMITTED TO: BY (DATE): 40

41 REFERENCES St. Mary s College of California, Kalmanovitz School of Education (2008). Guidelines for the master s thesis, synthesis project, and counseling master s project. Moraga, CA: St. Mary s College of California. Mertler, C.A., & Charles, C.M. (2010). Introduction to educational research. 7 th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010). 6 th ed. American Psychological Association. 41

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