Writing a masters thesis in psychology

Very often, the Chair will then help you select your other members. Three members are required and usually more are permitted, but more members will require more coordination at each stage. Please check with all members as to their plans for the future, including sabbaticals, and in particular as to summer plans often orals wind up being later than you planned.

Once you have your committee members selected, contact the Graduate Advisor to report your committee members for department approval.

Writing-up Qualitative Research

The proposal is to specify clearly what you propose to do for your thesis project or research study so that you and the Committee can discuss the details and arrive at definite decisions and agreement. Committees differ in what they require in the proposal, but in general they usually include an introduction , a methods and a planned analysis and interpretations section. If there are some details or procedures you are uncertain about, include a discussion of the various ways you might proceed in your proposal, indicating the pros and cons of each possible way.

Tips for writing a convincing thesis

These options are discussed until resolution at preliminary orals. You are not permitted to begin the research or project itself until your proposal has been approved at or after preliminary orals and by the Office of University Research see IRB discussion below. After gaining approval, you must follow the plans agreed to in the proposal.

If minor changes are needed as you proceed, clear them with your Chair. If major changes are needed, a new proposal or revision and new preliminary orals are required. Also, if a copyrighted measurement device is to be used, approval must be obtained from the copyright holder do this as soon as possible, as approval can take three-six months or even longer.

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You are asked to give copies of your thesis drafts to all your committee members at points designated by your thesis Chair, and at least two weeks prior to the date of your Orals — please give them a hard copy. Do NOT email it to them, unless you ask them first if they would like it emailed and they say yes — they might even ask for both. On rare occasions, with thesis committee approval, students can seek guidance from tutors or outside consultants on statistical analysis, but students must perform the analyses themselves.


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Members of the thesis committees should make sure that thesis students demonstrate a good understanding of the statistical procedures and results of their projects. This should begin with the preliminary orals when the data analysis procedures for testing the research hypotheses are discussed and approved.

The student should demonstrate knowledge of: a what procedures are appropriate for the data to be gathered, b how to carry out the analyses with available software, and c how to interpret the outcome of the procedures. This meeting to discuss your proposed study in detail is scheduled as soon as you and your committee are satisfied that your proposal is reasonably well conceptualized. The oral begins with your presentation of a minute overview of the study. Then the committee will question, discuss, and hopefully resolve the details of your proposed study. Usually orals last only an hour, but two hours may be necessary in some cases, or an adjournment to a second hour at another time may be required.

Any department faculty member or graduate student may attend your orals and you should feel free to attend those of other students — although it would be nice to give them fair warning; graduate students are permitted to attend as observers only; however, non-committee faculty might ask questions. Note: Individuals other than faculty and department grad students are usually not permitted to attend — please check with your committee before inviting others.

Also submit a hard copy no emails!

What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation? - The Best Master's Degrees

Please check with your committee members as to whether they want a hard copy of your draft, or if emailing it is OK — many professors prefer a hard copy as they will be making notes on the draft. Paperwork provided to your thesis committee by the Graduate Advisor will include a form documenting their approval, as well as paperwork to be given to you.

When arranging for preliminary orals, it is your responsibility to reserve a room usually Psy or You can reserve either of these rooms with the Psychology Department front office staff , M-Th , ; F , If you are using the department subject pool, also contact the Department front office staff immediately after preliminary orals. There is no Subject Pool during summer or winter sessions. Graduate students seeking to graduate in May Spring or August Summer must file between the preceding March 2nd and October 15th.

Graduate students seeking to graduate in December Fall or January Winter must file between the preceding October 16th and March 1st. Your thesis Chair will give you instructions from the IRB web site to assist you; please visit the IRB web site to complete the required form. Please make note of the time frame involved listed in the IRB protocol paperwork. These supplies consist mainly of letterhead paper and envelopes, bond paper and clasp envelopes, as well as copying services. List your costs such as assessment materials, photocopying, stamps, etc. Bring the completed form to the Graduate Advisor to receive the supplies mentioned above.

Please, do not purchase any supplies expecting reimbursement. You will also receive a form requesting your input from the Psychology Assessment Materials PAM office, regarding any non-proprietary research instruments you may use for your thesis. It is hoped that with your help, a database of such instruments may be established in order to assist Psychology graduate students with their research. Too often students end up spending weeks of time identifying relevant measures, and getting approval for use from hard-to-reach researchers.

Your assistance would be a great help in this area. The purpose of final orals is to obtain the approval of your committee on the content of your thesis. The meeting is scheduled after all members are satisfied that your thesis draft including a word Abstract — the word limit comes from the university is complete.

You are encouraged to have orals on a final draft not the perfect professionally or self typed end-product , since changes of some kind will probably be requested. It is your responsibility to reserve a room for final orals again, through the Psychology Dept. This is followed by discussion among the committee members and the student. Committee members may make specific suggestions for changes in your thesis, even at this time. Be sure you agree with and understand these suggestions, because you will have to make them before final approval is granted.

The Signature Approvals are now submitted via DocuSign. Please follow the instructions provided by the Thesis Office, meeting the deadlines above.

Guidelines and Explanations

This is required of every student, even if you have never checked out any of these supplies. It is recognized that this is somewhat of an inconvenience, but it is a requirement for graduation. NOTE: If you take care of getting the Key Issue signature, I can follow through on the rest of the signatures — two of them are mine — just give or mail me the pink sheet after you get the Key Issue signature.

After you have final orals and have made any required changes to your thesis, you are ready to have it prepared for submission to the University Thesis Office. You may either prepare the thesis yourself or have a professional typist prepare it for you give to typist on disk. Remember, you are hiring this person — feel free to ask questions and shop around. You are the client. If you choose to prepare the thesis yourself, it would be a good idea to contact the University Thesis Office or visit their web site prior to beginning to make sure you are sufficiently informed of the requirements.

It is available on-line via the campus library , as a PDF document. A formatted PDF version is available through the University Thesis Guidelines ; a Word document template is available by clicking here. The official master copy for submission is prepared. Email the final, university-formatted version of your thesis manuscript, converted to PDF, to Dr. This submission procedure has reduced the cost of thesis publication in half, or sometimes more.

The Thesis and Dissertation Office will evaluate your manuscript and notify you of needed formatting corrections if any, and there usually are some within 4 weeks of uploading your thesis up to 6 weeks during peak times. You will be given 2 weeks to make corrections and resubmit electronically. You will be notified if additional corrections are needed.


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If none are needed at this point, your final PDF will be released to the database company for publication online. An email will be sent to you with copies to your thesis chair, the graduate advisor, and Enrollment Services to confirm you have fulfilled all thesis requirements. The submission process is complete at that point.

The Thesis Office has a page with more details regarding the electronic submission procedure here. If you have any questions about content, ask your committee chair and members.