How to make a good Thesis Defense presentation

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The Thesis Guidebook January 2010PART 1: THE THESIS PROCESS As of winter 2009, the process for theses has been modified to make it easier for both faculty members and students. The steps are detailed in this guidebook. A shorter form of these guidelines and forms you will need can be found on the Office of Student Research Support section of the university’s website. If you wish to graduate in a specific quarter, you must plan your program carefully, Begin planning for program completion at least 13 months in advance of your anticipated graduation date. The table below provides a quick summary of the steps involved in completing your thesis. The following sections describe these steps in more detail. Step Description Prospectus and The prospectus is a brief document that provides preliminary information about your thesis. Committee The prospectus helps you organize, delineate, and make decisions regarding your thesis and Nomination appropriate research style. You submit it simultaneously with the committee nomination form(s). Upon approval from the program director, you will be assigned a University Research Reviewer (URR). Thesis You will work with your committee chair to develop your thesis, consulting the specific Development university-approved rubric that will be used to evaluate the thesis. You will also complete a self-evaluation of the Turnitin report and submit that to your thesis chair. (Note: Your thesis chair will complete a separate Turnitin report, which will be submitted to the URR for review along with your thesis.) Walden’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews each study conducted by Walden IRB Approval – For Research students to determine if the anticipated benefits of the study outweigh risks associated with participation in it. All students whose thesis work includes collection or analysis of data Studies must submit an IRB application. Once your thesis chair is satisfied with the first three chapters of your thesis, which establish the rational for conducting the study and describe the design and methodology it will utilize, you can submit your IRB application. Following IRB approval, you can collect, analyze, and report your findings, and complete the remaining chapters of your thesis. University When the chair is satisfied that your full thesis draft and abstract meet all the requirements specified in the appropriate rubric, the chair will submit the thesis, rubric, and Turnitin report Research Review to the URR for review. The URR will review the thesis using the appropriate rubric, including items relevant to content, methodology, form and style, abstract, and ethical procedures. You will work with your committee to make any requested revisions. Form and Style Upon URR approval of the thesis, the document will be submitted to an editor for a Form and Review Style Review, a final check for errors in APA style, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and related issues. Oral Defense Following the Form and Style approval, you will present your thesis via a teleconference Teleconference scheduled with the OSRS. The oral defense is a formal discussion of the scholarly content of the thesis followed by an evaluation of your thesis. You may need to revise your thesis based on feedback during the teleconference. Final After successful completion of the oral defense and committee approval of the thesis, the University chair forwards the final document along with the consensus rubric to the URR for a final Research review, to make sure all methodological, content, and writing issues have been addressed. In Review addition, the URR reviews the abstract to make sure it meets university guidelines. Chief Academic After final URR approval, the OSRS will send the abstract to the university’s chief academic Officer Review officer (CAO) or designee. Upon CAO approval, the thesis is officially completed. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 7 Registering for Thesis Credits The completion of the thesis occurs in an online classroom under the mentorship of a thesis chair. Weekly participation in the class is required. Registration for the Thesis course (e.g., COUN 6390, PSYC 6390, PUBH 6610) takes place during the regular course registration period. Students cannot register for this course themselves; they will be registered by their academic advisors after the appointment of their thesis chair is confirmed (see the Nominating the Thesis Supervisory Committee section below). Once registered for the first quarter, students are then registered automatically for the Thesis course in accordance with the sequence prescribed by their Program of Study until the thesis is formally approved by the chief academic officer. Students should check the Walden University Catalog regarding their program’s prerequisites for enrolling in the Thesis course. Nominating the Thesis Supervisory Committee You begin the thesis phase of your program when you nominate a thesis committee. Note: M.S. in Public Health students nominate two committee members, while M.S. in Psychology students nominate only one, the thesis chair. The committee nomination form is available on the Office of Student Research Support section of the university’s website. Complete and submit the nomination form to your chosen faculty member(s), along with a copy of your draft prospectus (see section on page 9). When a faculty member has agreed to be on your committee, the approved prospectus and nomination form are submitted to the Office of Student Research Support at (Note: The actual flow of steps in the nomination process may vary, depending on your program and type of thesis project. Consult a graduate student services coordinator in the Office of Student Research Support for guidance as needed.) Approval of the committee and course registration will be coordinated by the graduate student services coordinators and the Academic Advising Team. You are responsible for verifying that the graduate student services coordinator ( receives the completed committee nomination form and that you are registered for the correct course(s). When members of the faculty in a graduate program accept the duty of serving as a committee to advise a student through the thesis requirement to earn a master’s degree, they assume a dual responsibility of high importance. One part is service to the student; the other is service to the academic practice, the discipline, and the professional field to which the thesis is related. For the first part, expectations concerning the faculty service to be performed are determined by the needs of the student and university academic policy pertaining to how these are to be addressed. For the second, expectations are set both by university academic policy and by policies and practice that frame acceptable work in the discipline and professional field at large. Walden University’s published statement on the Walden thesis (p. 5) describes the outcome of these expectations as applied in the university. Role of Thesis Supervisory Committee Chairperson The individual faculty member who serves as chairperson of the thesis committee is the key person in the process of your production of an acceptable thesis. The chairperson has the primary responsibility of assuring that the work of the committee effectively fulfills the expectations of both service to you and service to the academic discipline or disciplines and professional fields of practice involved. While the The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 8 thesis must be your work, the committee is expected to offer full support from their experiences and backgrounds and from the related resources of the university at large. The chairperson is engaged with you throughout the entirety of the thesis process. This includes the following: 1. The committee chair provides you with feedback regarding writing the problem statement, conceptualizing the research issues, and identifying the breadth and magnitude of the literature review. Feedback may include accurately focusing on an issue, identifying all variables and potential relationships, making the research intent clear, establishing topic importance, and clarifying the proposed research. 2. The committee chair provides you with feedback on your proposed thesis design, indicating the appropriateness for addressing the problem statement and research question(s) or for testing stated hypotheses. 3. The committee chair provides you with feedback regarding the selection of a specific methodology, suggesting an alternative methodology when appropriate and critically assessing the methodology with respect to the research question(s). The committee chair also questions you about the actual implementation of the selected methodology, assuring that program norms are followed and that generally accepted ethical and moral principles regarding human subjects are respected. The selection of correct research instruments and the proper use of those instruments are crucial to a successful thesis. The need for pilot studies or testing of research instruments is discussed. 4. The committee chair provides constructive criticism about data collection and analysis, presentation of the data, statistical analyses, and conclusions drawn from the analysis. The committee chair provides you with feedback about the validity of the conclusions. The committee chair discusses with you how assumptions and limitations (identified in the early chapters of the thesis) impact the research conclusions. 5. The committee chair examines the thesis to find evidence of critical thinking, including a discussion of how the research outcomes may affect social behavior or change. The chair provides you with feedback about the overall significance of the research findings or outcomes and how the findings may contribute to new knowledge and benefit the profession. 6. The committee chair offers you overall guidance about the acceptability of the thesis, taking into account program norms, form, and style. Changing a Committee Member The approved committee will serve until your thesis has been completed and approved. Only under special circumstances will the restructuring of a committee be considered once work on your thesis has commenced. Appointments of thesis committee members are decisions informed by the best knowledge available at the time of the decision. While most relationships with faculty will endure for the tenure of a student's academic career, the university recognizes that situations arise that may necessitate change in the duration of such services. In instances when a faculty member has resigned from duties with the university, either temporarily or on a permanent basis, you will not need to file a petition to obtain a replacement member. You will need to work with the remaining members of their committee, as well as the Academic Advising Team, to identify potential replacements. You will follow the standard nomination process when replacing departed members of your committee. When other circumstances necessitate reconsideration of faculty appointments, the process detailed below will be followed to help minimize disruption of academic service: 1. If pursuing a change in committee formation, you will need to discuss this issue with the Academic Advising Team to identify potential replacements. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 9 2. Once a potential member is found, you will be responsible to obtain written assent from this new member to serve on your committee. 3. In requesting a change for one or multiple committee members, you will need to file a petition (see below) with the college. 4. The petition will be reviewed and a decision will be rendered by the college dean or the dean’s designee. With the Student Petition Request Form, which can be accessed online, you will need to do the following: • Include written approval (e-mail) from the proposed member. When requesting to change a committee member for another faculty member, you will need to obtain assent from the proposed member. A petition that fails to include the approval from the new proposed member will not be considered. • Describe the outcome that you are seeking. For example: “I would like to change my chairperson from Dr. Smith to Dr. Jones.” • Provide a detailed rationale that demonstrates the need for the requested change. Any change in committee formation will become effective at the start of the next term. You can obtain further information about this process from the graduate services coordinators or the Academic Advising Team. Completing the Prospectus Locate the prospectus form for your school on the Office of Student Research Support section of the Walden website. The prospectus will help you organize, delineate, and make decisions regarding your thesis and appropriate research style. It is submitted simultaneously with the committee nomination forms to the graduate student services coordinator ( and your tentative (i.e., non-approved) committee members. Developing the Thesis Consult the Appropriate Rubric Walden’s thesis rubrics are used to operationalize Walden’s Thesis Statement. The rubrics are designed to assist students, thesis committees, and the university’s academic leadership to determine whether a thesis meets Walden’s standards. Download the appropriate rubric when your committee and prospectus are approved. Walden University’s evaluations for theses follow a university-approved rubric, as described below: • The purpose of the rubric is to guide students and thesis supervisory committees as they work together to develop high-quality theses. The rubric should be shared with students early in their master’s programs and frequently used in advisement and graduate courses to reflect Walden University’s expectations for high-quality theses. • The use of the rubric is intended to provide ongoing and flexible evaluation and reevaluation of the thesis drafts as they are developed. For the final copy of each document, there must be unanimous The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 10 approval by the thesis supervisory committee before the student proceeds to the oral defense (although revisions may be required following the oral). • Rubrics have been developed for use with studies employing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research designs and for evaluating both types of theses (the research study and the critical literature review with proposed research design). Be sure to download the rubric version most appropriate for your thesis project. • As the thesis is developed and submitted for review to the thesis supervisory committee, each committee member should use the version of the thesis rubric selected by the committee to communicate his or her evaluations to the student, the chairperson, and any other members of the committee. This process of ongoing evaluation and communication will continue throughout the development of the thesis. • Quality indicators are specified in the rubric for each chapter of the thesis. The subsections for each chapter are made up of descriptions of substantive characteristics of the thesis, specifically related to the scholarly quality and integrity of the document. A numerical rating scale is associated with each subcategory of thesis quality indicators. • A space for comments is provided for each subgroup of quality indicators in each chapter. Comments provided by the evaluator (committee member) should refer to praiseworthy aspects of the document as well as offer specific guidance for revision when needed. Comments should provide formative evaluation for that particular chapter and be useful to the student and other members of the thesis supervisory committee. The spaces provided for comment are not to be used for communicating line- by-line editing of the manuscript. If the document is in need of editing, the committee member needs to comment to that effect, but provide any extensive comments in a separate communication. • Descriptors to be used on the 5-point rating scale connote sequential levels in the developing quality of the document and/or chapter. Specific expectations relating to revision, reevaluation, and approval are in the definition for each value on the rating scale. The rubric will aid you, along with your committee chairperson, in writing your thesis. Please make sure you are using the correct rubric for your program and research style when you begin the thesis process. Forms can be accessed via the Office of Student Research section of the Walden website. Write and Revise You should consult with your committee chairperson early and frequently when developing your thesis. With guidance from your committee chairperson, you conceptualize a topic, organize the literature, and determine a research methodology appropriate to the subject matter. Your chairperson will coordinate sharing the draft with any other committee members. Your committee reviews preliminary drafts to help you clarify the research framework for your project. Revise the draft according to the committee’s suggestions. When the committee approves the draft, using the thesis rubric, it is ready for the University Research Review. Note: You will also complete a self- evaluation of the Turnitin report and submit that to your thesis chair. Getting Approval for Research All students, faculty, and staff members who undertake research studies, including a thesis, that grow out of their affiliation with the university or that involve interviewing, surveying, testing, treating, and/or The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 11 experimentally manipulating human participants are required to have approval from Walden University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to beginning the research. Download the current version of the IRB application and instructions from the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance section of the Walden website. The IRB reviews requests and determines if the proposed research complies with accepted ethical standards. Walden University does not accept responsibility or liability for research conducted without the IRB’s approval, and the university will not accept or grant credit for student work where the student has failed to comply with the policies and procedures related to ethical standards in research. The Purpose of the IRB The IRB is primarily concerned with the following: • Studies involving protected classes (e.g., children, prisoners, cognitively/mentally impaired, elderly) • Studies where informed consent and identification of subjects may be problematic • Studies involving the deception of subjects • Studies involving potential coercion • Studies involving personality, attitude, and gender preference measurements The IRB’s purpose is to evaluate proposed data collection methods to ensure that the risk to subjects is eliminated, the study complies with commonly accepted ethical principles for human subject research, and all requirements for informal consent have been satisfied. The IRB’s authority is consultative to the CAO (or designee) with regard to the approval of proposed research studies. IRB Application Process All students whose thesis work includes collection or analysis of data must submit an IRB application. You must submit a current IRB application form to your chairperson when asking for review of the research plan proposed within the first three chapters of your thesis. Complete the IRB application form in its entirety, attach supporting documentation (e.g., copies of consent forms, surveys, other instruments), and submit all materials to your committee chairperson. The committee chairperson reviews, electronically signs, and then returns the application to you. You then submit the application to, copying your chair. Please be sure to utilize the checklist at the end of the application. Review of your materials will begin when your application is complete. Although the IRB staff will aid you with completing your application, completion at its initial submission will speed the process. After your IRB application has been approved, you can conduct your research. You may not initiate data collection until you receive written notification that your IRB application form has been approved. This prohibition includes recruitment of subjects; advertising, mailing, or distributing consent forms; interviewing; surveying; data gathering; and so on. The IRB has the authority to require revision of your request, to ensure compliance with the university’s policy on ethical standards in research. If the IRB rejects your application, the IRB chair and your committee will work with you to revise and resubmit your application. Note: Data collected without IRB review and approval cannot be included in the thesis. Prohibited activities conducted prior to IRB approval do not fall under the legal protection of the university. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 12 Gaining URR Approval Upon approval of your committee nomination and prospectus, you will be assigned a University Research Reviewer (URR). When satisfied that your thesis manuscript sufficiently meets university criteria, the committee chairperson will submit a copy of the thesis, completed rubric, and Turnitin report directly to the assigned URR, copying The purpose of the URR is to ensure that your finished thesis meets the graduate-level expectations of the university. To help you complete a high-quality thesis, the URR provides you with a source of independent feedback on all aspects of your work. The independence of the URR enables him or her to view your thesis in the manner that a potential employer or research colleague would view it. An external party unfamiliar with your thesis may notice portions of your work where points could be made in a clearer manner, which your committee members, who are very familiar with your work, could overlook. The URR will review the thesis using the rubric, including items relevant to content, methodology, form and style, abstract, and ethical procedures. Once the URR has completed the review, he or she will send the outcome of the review to, copying you and your chair. At this stage, the URR can refer you for mandatory consultation with the IRB office and/or the Writing Center to address ethical or writing concerns, respectively. URRs are obligated to make IRB/Writing Center referrals should they note significant ethical or writing concerns. When changes have been requested by the URR, the committee will work with you to make the requested revisions. When the chair feels that the necessary revisions have been made, he or she will forward the thesis along with the rubric and the Turnitin report to the URR while copying The URR will then review the revised materials. Once the URR deems the thesis ready for the Form and Style Review, he or she will send an e-mail to indicating this information, along with the URR-approved thesis and Turnitin report. Optional Pre-Oral Teleconference At the request of the URR or committee chair, an optional pre-oral conference can be scheduled to discuss recommendations of the URR and reach agreement about changes that are necessary before the oral defense. It is recommended that the pre-oral conference be held when there are serious concerns raised by the URR and/or when the committee requests the opportunity for discussion and clarification. The purpose of the pre-oral conference is to prevent multiple submissions and reviews and thus facilitate the process of completion. SCHEDULING THE PRE-ORAL TELECONFERENCE To schedule a pre-oral teleconference, identify several commonly available dates and times among those participating in the teleconference (you and the committee members). Forward that information to the committee chairperson, who will then use the Conference Call Reservation Form (which is securely kept on the Walden site) to submit the request to reserve the date and time that is convenient for you and all committee members. Note: Reservation forms must be submitted at least one week prior to the teleconference date requested. A confirmation of the request will be sent to all participants with instructions for calling in at the appointed date and time. Before the call, please ask your chairperson to clarify any expectations of the content of the conference call if necessary. A pre-oral conference will not be recorded. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 13 Form and Style Review A thesis goes to Form and Style Review before the thesis oral defense teleconference. The URR will notify the Office of Student Research Support that your thesis is ready for Form and Style Review. The URR will send a copy of your completed thesis along with the Turnitin report to The graduate student services coordinator will send it to the editor. The editor has 14 calendar days from the date the thesis is received to process the document. Manuscripts are reviewed in the order received. Please note that submissions missing the basic required components (such as an abstract, CV, and references section), or that still contain editing marks, may be returned by the editors un-reviewed, until the appropriate items are included. Note: Thesis documents must be submitted for the Form and Style Review as a single Microsoft Word document. Form and style guidelines are found in Part 2 of this guidebook. Outcome of the Form and Style Review Once the draft has been submitted for the Form and Style Review, you may work with your chair to schedule your oral defense. You may collect convenient dates and times for your thesis teleconference while your paper is being reviewed. However, the teleconference may not be held until after your paper has been received back from the Form and Style Review. Upon your receipt of the completed Form and Style evaluation, and in consultation with your committee chair, you will need to address the editor’s recommended revisions. If questions concerning scholarly integrity arise as a result of the review, the Form and Style editor will contact your committee chair, URR, and program director with the concerns. Please refer to the Walden University guidelines in the catalog concerning academic integrity. Thesis Oral Defense Teleconference You present your thesis via a required teleconference with your committee members. The teleconference, which is paid for by Walden University, will be led by your committee chairperson. The oral presentation may commence only after the committee members have reviewed the current draft of your thesis and have reached consensus as to its level of development by using the guidelines of the rubric. During the oral presentation, committee members may determine that revisions to the thesis are needed. In such an event, the committee chairperson will supervise you in making the stipulated changes. When all requested changes have been made, the committee chairperson authorizes you to forward the revised manuscript and approval forms to all committee members for a final review. Scheduling the Thesis Oral Teleconference Identify several commonly available dates and times among those participating in the oral (you and the committee members). Forward that information to the committee chairperson, who will then use the Conference Call Reservation Form (which is securely kept on the Walden site) to submit the request to reserve the date and time that is convenient for you and all committee members. Note: Reservation forms must be submitted at least one week prior to the first teleconference date requested. A confirmation of the The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 14 request will be sent to all participants with instructions for calling in at the appointed date and time. The call’s reservation will be confirmed again 48 hours before the call. Prior to the call, please ask your chairperson to clarify any expectations of the content of the conference call if necessary. Note for Psychology Students: Students and faculty members will join a call with four students and four committee chairpersons (8 people total) and present to the whole. Theses may be presented on: • Mondays: 10 a.m.– noon, 5–7 p.m. Central time • Tuesdays: 3–5 p.m. Central time • Wednesdays: 1–3 p.m. Central time • Thursdays: 2–4 p.m., 6–8 p.m. Central time • Fridays: 1–3 p.m. Central time Final Approval Following the successful completion of the oral defense and committee approval of the final thesis, the chair forwards the document to the URR for review. At this time, the URR conducts a final review to make sure all methodological, content, and writing issues have been addressed. In addition, the URR reviews the abstract to make sure it meets university guidelines. The URR conducts any additional reviews that are necessary until the final copy, including abstract, meets full approval. When approval from the URR has been received, the graduate student services coordinator will send the abstract of the thesis to the university chief academic officer (CAO), or the CAO’s designee. The review will take 14 calendar days. The results of the review will be communicated to the graduate student services coordinator, who will then forward the results to you, the URR, and the committee chairperson. If changes are necessary and a resubmission to the CAO is required for approval, an additional 14 calendar days is allotted to the CAO for each subsequent review. The university CAO, or designee, will approve the thesis and notify the graduate student services coordinator. Tuition stops at this point. The graduate student services coordinator will send you a congratulatory letter and copy your committee. Approval must be received by the close of business (5 p.m. Central time) on the last business day of your intended term of graduation. You will graduate in the following quarter if approval is received after this deadline. The registrar’s office will complete the final audit. You will know the audit is completed when you receive the final bill, which the bursar’s office will send you. If you finish within the first 7 days of a quarter, you are not charged tuition for that quarter. If you finish partially through the quarter, you will be charged prorated tuition. Students who want to participate in the summer commencement ceremony must have their thesis approved no later the last business day of the spring quarter. Students who want to participate in the winter commencement ceremony must have their thesis approved no later than the last business day of the fall quarter. Note; You are not automatically registered for commencement. If you want to attend a commencement ceremony, you can register online. Policy on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Walden University regards academic honesty to be essential to the entire academic enterprise and will not The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 15 tolerate any violation. No student shall claim credit for another’s work or accomplishments or use another’s ideas in a written paper or presentation without appropriate attribution through proper documentation. The consequences of plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty include non- acceptance of work submitted, a grade of NC or F filed for the course in which the violation occurs, written reprimands, and dismissal from the university. In The Craft of Research (University of Chicago Press, 1995), Booth, Colomb, and Williams offer a useful definition of plagiarism: You plagiarize even when you do credit the author but use his exact words without so indicating with quotation marks or block indentation. You also plagiarize when you use words so close to those in your source, that if your work were placed next to the source, it would be obvious that you could not have written what you did without the source at your elbow. (p. 167) The following excerpts show the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing according to the Booth et al.’s definition: Original Plagiarism per Booth et al. Acceptable Paraphrase from Severin and Tankard (1992) per Booth et al. There is evidence to suggest that Evidence suggests that Severin and Tankard (1992) newsmakers are becoming newsmakers are becoming keenly observed that a president has particularly savvy about placing aware about placing items on the considerable power to form items on the media agenda. media agenda. When, for public opinion by using the When, for example, President instance, President Reagan ran media to his advantage. As an Reagan was running for his for his second term, he took a example, they cite President second term, he took a tour to tour to promote his Reagan’s photo ops during the promote his administration’s administration’s environmental 1984 campaign, in which he was record on environmentalism. The record. The tour was full of photo shown visiting several remote tour was full of photo ops, including Reagan on a national resources. Although fishing boat in the Chesapeake environmentalists complained opportunities, including the president standing on a fishing Bay and the president wearing a about Reagan’s record on the boat in the Chesapeake Bay and park ranger’s hat in Kentucky. environment, “many people were the president wearing a park Even though a few likely to see photos of the ranger’s hat at Mammoth Cave, environmentalists said Reagan’s president in the ranger hat and Kentucky. Even though some record on the environment was make a positive link between thought that the Reagan terrible, people who saw photos Reagan and the environment” (p. administration had a terrible of the president in the ranger hat 224). record on the environment, many made a positive association people were likely to see photos between Reagan and the of the president in the ranger hat environment (Severin & and make a positive link between Tankard, 1992, p. 224). Reagan and the environment. Reference: Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. C., & Williams, J. M. (1995). The Craft of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. In the above example of plagiarism, the student credited the authors with an author/date/page number citation at the end of the paragraph, but the words and ideas are straight out of Severin and Tankard. Because of the conventions of documenting sources, the reader cannot distinguish who originated the ideas and words. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 16 For a detailed discussion of the ethics of scholarly writing, see Chapter 1 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. Walden uses a service provided by to check manuscripts for plagiarism. Submission to this service is handled and determined by the committee chairperson. Any instance of suspicion will be expressed to you and the committee members and will slow completion the thesis process. Required Data Storage You are required to maintain all raw data—interview tapes, spreadsheets, questionnaire results, and so forth—for no less than 5 years upon completion of your thesis. For safekeeping, store copies of data in two different locations. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 17 PART 2: STYLE – APA AND WALDEN UNIVERSITY Students writing theses must use the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Additional specific requirements for Walden theses, above and beyond APA style, are included in this guidebook. In rare instances where Walden University’s requirements conflict with the APA manual, the university style standards prevail. These items are indicated in this guidebook by green boxes. Students are encouraged to download the thesis template from the Walden Writing Center’s website. The following sections are intended to supplement guidelines and instructions that appear in the thesis template, rubric, and other information sources. Overall Structure The Walden thesis consists of the following sections, in this order: • Abstract title page. • Abstract. • Title page. • Dedication page (optional). • Acknowledgments page (optional). • Table of Contents, including List of Tables and List of Figures pages, if necessary – Begin the pagination of the preliminary pages with i centered in the footer of the first page of the Table of Contents. • Body of the paper – Begin the pagination with 1 in the upper right corner of the first page of Chapter 1. Paginate consecutively on every page to the last page of the CV. • Reference list. • Appendices (optional). • Curriculum vitae (CV). Abstract Concise and well-written abstracts highlight the richness of your research. A complete abstract primer can be found in Walden University’s online research center. Below is a quick summary. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 18 The abstract title page is the cover page of the Walden thesis. It is identical to the main title page, except the word Abstract appears at the top of the page, centered. It does not have a page number. Abstract Content • In the first couple of sentences of the abstract, describe the overall research problem being addressed and indicate why it is important (i.e., who would care if the problem is solved). Note: You can include a general introduction of the issue in the first sentence, but you need to quickly move to a clear statement of the research problem being addressed. • Identify the purpose and theoretical foundations, if appropriate. • Summarize the key research question(s). • Describe, briefly, the overall research design and methods. • Identify the key results, one or two conclusions, and recommendations that capture the heart of the research. • Conclude with a statement on the implications for positive social change. Form and Style Tips • The abstract must be a single paragraph, with no indentation, contained on one page. • Maintain the scholarly language used throughout the thesis. • Keep the abstract concise, accurate, and readable. Use correct English. • Ensure each sentence adds value to the reader’s understanding of the research. • Use the full name of any acronym and include the acronym in parentheses; you can thereafter refer to the acronym. • Do not include references or citations in the abstract. The Walden abstract cannot exceed one page. It is double-spaced in the same font size and style of the thesis body, is one block paragraph, and has the same margins as the thesis body. It does not have a page number. Common Abstract Problems The following issues could delay the approval of your abstract: • There are grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. • You have not included definitions of terms, especially those important enough to be in your title (e.g., WiFi, PTSD, UN). • Social change implications are inadequate or are missing. • The research problem, research question, or purpose of the study is unclear. • You have not answered the question “So what?” You need to indicate why the research was/is important. Who would care if the problem is solved? The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 19 • The abstract exceeds more than one page. Tables and Figures In the body of the thesis, information that does not appear in textual form must be formatted and labeled as either a table or figure. APA does not allow for the words graph, illustration, or chart. Refer to them as either a table or a figure. • Tables and figures must fit within the margin specifications. • Do not separate a title or caption from the table or figure it identifies. • Tables and figures are to be numbered without a suffix or indicator of the chapter in which they appear: Table 1, Table 2, Table 3; Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, and so on. In the appendices, tables are called Table A1, Table B1, Figure A1, Figure B1, and so forth. • In the text, capitalize the words table or figure when referring to them (e.g., see Table 12). Refer to the specific table number, not to the page number on which it appears or as the table below. Tables Place the word Table and the table number above the table, flush left. The title of the table appears below the table number and is double-spaced flush left in italics, in title case. If the title runs over one line, single-space the two lines of the title, leaving the space between the table number and the first line of the title. Double-space or triple-space before and after the table—be consistent. Table 1    Comparison of Learning Styles With Self‐Reported Multiple Intelligences  Information regarding abbreviations or symbols used in a table, copyright information, and probability must be located in a note below the table. See APA 5.16 for information about formatting table notes. Figures Place the word Figure and the figure number under the figure, flush left in italics. The title of the figure goes next to the number in sentence case, Roman type, double-spaced. In theses, do not type captions on a separate page. Figure 1. Bar graph showing hours of television watched per week by age group. From “Stations  increase; viewing time decreases,” by M. J. Fazio, 1994, Journal of Broadcast Communication, 4(1),  p. 145. Reprinted with permission.  The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 20 • In theses, tables and figures are inserted into the narrative as close to the text that introduces them as is practical. • Do not split a table unless it is too large to fit on one entire page. Placing a table on its own landscape-oriented page is permissible. Do not place any text on a page if a table or figure takes up three fourths or more of the page. • The font size used in tables and figures may be smaller than that used in the text; however, to ensure a professional appearance and legibility, it should be no smaller than 8 points and no larger than 12 points. • Grayscale (shading) and color used in figures is acceptable; however, they often will not reproduce well. Instead, consider using crosshatching, broken lines, and so forth.   Appendices The appendices follow the reference list. They are lettered A, B, C, and so forth. Figures and tables in the appendices are labeled A1, A2, B1, and so forth, according to the appendix in which they fall. Note: If there is only one appendix, it gets no letter. Figures and tables within a single appendix are labeled A1, A2, and so forth. A blank divider page is unnecessary between appendices unless the reader is served or if a heading cannot be placed on the first page of an appendix. (Typically this could happen when you insert a scanned document that takes up an entire page.) The materials in the appendix must not extend beyond the margins of the rest of the thesis: Reduce the appendix materials as needed. In general, permission to use tables and figures reproduced or modified from published works outside the public domain must be demonstrated, most often by a copy of the letter of permission in an appendix. Permission to reprint is usually indicated on the first page of a copyrighted document, following the wording requested by the copyright holder. Definitions of Terms and Glossaries Many theses include a brief listing of key terms that the author interprets and clarifies for the reader’s benefit. In general, do not define a common term such as teenager (“a person between 13–19 years, inclusive”). List only ambiguous, controversial, or operational terms used throughout the thesis. Technical terms are usually defined in the text, if necessary. Definitions must be explicit, specific, and scholarly. See below for more information on defining terms and further instruction on words used as words. If defining a term, you need to determine whether the definition belongs in a list or in the text. Walden suggests the following three options for defining key terms. Consult your committee chairperson about what is most appropriate for the reader’s comprehension. • List key words or phrases in a section called Definition of Terms, at the end of the first chapter. • List all key terms in a glossary, in an appendix. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 21 • Define more common terms, particularly acronyms and technical terms with only immediate application for the reader, upon first usage. (Per APA 4.21, remember to italicize key terms on first usage.) Definition Examples Note that it is important to give proper credit to the originator of the definition. 1. The following examples illustrate different approaches to this issue. The first two examples might well appear in a section called Definition of Terms. Dialects: Language varieties that initially and basically represent various geographic  origins (Fishman, 1972, p. 5).  2. This writer might have chosen an entirely different definition, depending on how it was employed in the project. Dialects: Differences between kinds of language that are differences of vocabulary,  grammar, and punctuation (Trudgill, 1974, p. 17).  3. Or the writer might have decided, for purposes of this paper that the reader is best served by defining the term in the text, as below. Fishman (1972) used the term dialects to mean “varieties of language that initially and  basically represent divergent geographic origins” (p. 5).  Words Defined and Words Used as Words To emphasize a word or highlight a word used as a word, set it in italic type on first reference. Be consistent throughout the document. This most often occurs in the context of defining a word, term, or phrase: The term networking refers to creating relationships and saving contact information for a  specific situation, usually a job search.   Roman, not italic, type should be used for such scholarly Latin words and abbreviations as ibid, et al., and etc. An exception is made for the term sic, which is always italicized and set in square brackets, as shown here. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 22 Footnotes APA does not allow for endnotes or source footnotes. Content footnotes, used sparingly, may assist the reader. In general, however, something important enough to appear in a content footnote is important enough to appear in the text. Curriculum Vitae (CV) The curriculum vitae (CV) is the final item listed in the table of contents. A copy of the author’s CV must be included at the end of the thesis. The CV may be formatted in either basic outline form, as a résumé, or in full-sentence form. The CV must conform to the same margin specifications as the thesis and be included in the pagination. Verb Tense The thesis appears in present and past tense as appropriate. As a general rule for social science writing, ongoing issues and current realities should be reported in present tense. What has occurred, what has been reported, and what the writer and sources have accomplished should be reported in past tense. For example, writing the statement “There were 50 states in the country” is ungrammatical and illogical since there are now 50 states in the USA. Similarly, do not write in the problem statement that “Managing health care costs was a big problem in the United States” or “The amount of crude oil imported in the United States increased since 1965” unless the problem no longer exists or you are reporting the findings of a study conducted over a specific period of time. Thus, if health care costs no longer are a problem or if oil imports are no longer increasing, past tense works; otherwise, as ongoing realities, these examples should be described in present tense. In the review of literature, use the past tense when reporting past research. “Jenkins (1994) observed three reasons why victims of abuse do poorly in school.” Note here that what Jenkins observed is a present tense clause. Presumably, these three are still the reasons victims of abuse perform poorly. However, the predicate of the sentence (“observed”) is written in the past tense. Of course, if Jenkins was reporting a historical fact, the entire sentence would appear in past tense: “Jenkins (1994) found four reasons that AIDS spread through the gay population in the 1980s.” Some writers refer to past research in present tense. “Jenkins (1994) reports that there are three main reasons that victims of abuse do poorly in school.” But if this same writer decides to refer to Merton (1950) or Watson (1920), he or she will have difficulty staying consistent: “Watson (1920) argues that . . . .” Watson is long dead and, therefore, it is awkward to report his 80-year-old research in the present tense. APA specifically requires that the literature be presented in the past tense: “Watson argued that . . . .” Point of View Appropriate use of first person is acceptable in all Walden students’ academic writing, as discussed on page 69 of the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 23 Inclusive Language Language used in scholarly writing should be inclusive. By now, most writers know the gender-restrictive nature of words like policeman, mailman, or fireman. Accordingly, students should employ words that are not sexist and more accurately describe American society. Some ethnicity and nationality titles require sensitivity due to historically racist usage: Oriental, American Indian, and Eskimo, for example. The APA manual, in Chapter 3, offers an informative discussion of this issue at length. Check any of several dictionaries devoted to this subject to learn more. The director of the Walden Writing Center suggests the University of New Hampshire’s Guidelines for the Use of Nonsexist Language. One of the most troublesome issues related to sexist language for writers revolves around the pronouns he and she. The combination he or she is common if cumbersome; some readers resent if he always precedes she. Some writers choose as a matter of course to only use the word he and then add a note of apology at the beginning of a manuscript. This is dated and seen as a poor solution by many readers. Some writers go back and forth between he and she—also cumbersome, but effective in certain instances. One frequent solution is changing the singular third-person pronoun to the plural they. Thus, replace “A junior high school teacher spends much of her day just maintaining order,” with “Junior high teachers spend much of their day just maintaining order.” In this example, another solution is, “A junior high school teacher’s day is spent, to a large extent, maintaining order.” Walden University’s preferred usage for groups of people whose ancestors can be traced to Africa is African American. The usage should be consistent: African Americans make up the largest minority in America, while European Americans compose the  majority.  Above all, students are asked to be sensitive to the terminology of racial, ethnic, and religious groups. Documenting Sources In-Text Citations APA requires the parenthetical referencing (author–date) system. Authors’ names and dates of publication are given in parentheses within the text or at the end of block quotations. These parenthetical citations are reflections of items in a reference list placed at the end of the paper and arranged alphabetically by the authors’ last names and chronologically within lists of works by a single author. Consult the APA sections on citations (Chapter 6) when writing scholarly papers, including exceptions and explications. Also, see the related sections in this guidebook on paraphrasing and quoting. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 24 IN-TEXT CITATION EXAMPLES 1. If a secondary source identifies additional research by other sources, do not refer to those primary sources unless you have actually read them, or indicate otherwise by citing the secondary source. For example, if Foucault’s work is cited in Rabinow, and you did not read Foucault’s work, list the Rabinow reference in the reference list. In text, use the following citation: (Foucault, as quoted in Rabinow, 1989).  Note: The primary source (Foucault, in the example above) does not appear in the reference list. 2. In parenthetical author–date citations, place a comma between the author and the year. (Zuckerman, 2009).  3. In parenthetical author–date citations with more than one author, use an ampersand. (King & Wold, 2005).  4. In nonparenthetical author citations with more than one author, use the word and. According to Cook and Timmerman (2006) . . . .  5. When citing more than one source within parentheses, separate them with a semicolon and cite the research in alphabetical order according to first author surname listed. The losing candidates (Bush & Quayle, 1992; Gore & Lieberman, 2000; Palin & McCain,  2008) suggested that . . . .  6. When citing specific parts of a source, indicate the page number at the appropriate point in the text. Here, note that the final punctuation comes at the end of the sentence after the reference.   The Democrats were “confident they would hold the White House throughout the  1980s” (Carter & Mondale, 1980, p. 432).  Alternative:   Carter and Mondale (1980) wrote that the Democrats were “confident they would hold  the White House throughout the 1980s” (p. 432).  MULTIPLE AUTHORS AND USE OF ET AL. • When referring to two authors, always cite both surnames. • When referring to three to five authors, include all the names the first time. Thereafter, refer to the first author only, followed by et al., and the date of publication. Within the same paragraph, refer to the first name only, followed by et al. (no comma or date). • When referring to six or more authors, cite only the name of the first author and use et al., and the year in all references. The Thesis Guidebook, January 2010 Page 25