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Home Thesis Policies and Procedures
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Thesis Overview
Preparatory Advice
Stages of the Thesis
Steps to Completion
Avoiding Anxiety
Editorial Style


Stages of the Thesis

  1. The Review of Related Literature

    The first phase in development of the thesis is to conduct a thorough and critical review of the literature in your area of interest. This review will become component of both the proposal and the thesis. Students should expect to continuously update and revise this review until final approval of the thesis.

  2. The Thesis Prospectus

    Your first written articulation of your specific research topic is presented in the thesis prospectus. The prospectus is expected to be approximately five pages and to be organized as follows:

    • Introduction: Brief overview of relevant literature and statement of the problem to be investigated.
    • Proposed Method: Global overview of the procedures you expect to use to investigate the problem.
    • Timeline: Activity timeline for each phase of thesis development.

  3. The Thesis Proposal

    Your research topic and method is further specified in the thesis proposal. The proposal should have four major sections, as follows (refer to the APA Manual for more detailed description of each section):

    • Introduction (more thorough revision of the prospectus introduction, including the review of relevant literature).
    • Proposed Method (description of proposed participants, recruitment procedures, measures, etc.)
    • Proposed Design & Analyses (including specific hypotheses to be tested and statistical analyses for each)
    • Potential Relevance (description of potential relevance for research and practice)

    The proposal should be accompanied by appendices as appropriate, such as the following:

    • participant consent form(s)
    • research ethics protocol(s) (SDSU plus participating agencies)
    • copies of measures (if not published instruments)

  4. The Thesis

    The thesis is the final research report which is developed by using the most current edition of the APA Manual for guidance regarding the content for each section. The thesis is expected to approximate an APA-style manuscript to be submitted for journal review and will include the following chapters:

    • Chapter 1: Literature Review and Statement of Problem (revised from proposal). Note that some faculty members prefer to have separate chapters for the Introduction and Literature Review. This is something which each student may negotiate with their Committee Chair.
    • Chapter 2: Method (revised from proposal)
    • Chapter 3: Results
    • Chapter 4: Discussion (revised from proposal "relevance" section)

    The thesis should be accompanied by an abstract and the following appendices as appropriate:

    • Relevant research ethics protocol(s) & approval letter(s) (SDSU plus school district, agency, etc.)
    • Copies of measures (if not published instruments)
    • Participant consent form(s)
    • Supplemental data analyses

    One copy of the approved and bound thesis must be submitted to the School. The thesis will be available as a sample for review by other faculty and students.

last updated: June 2009
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     Questions? Email Dr. Jessica Barlow