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The master’s thesis provides an opportunity for students to • Contextualize the thesis/research question by claiming its significance or centrality to the discipline. • Provide a persuasive rationale for pursuing the thesis by demonstrating a research need or gap. • Articulate how the paper will address the key question or issue and why the approach is novel. • Synthesize relevant, appropriate scholarly literature to establish a theoretical framework or central methodology. Create an argument that builds logically upon the thesis/hypothesis with research based, discipline-appropriate supporting facts, evidence, and/or data. • Explain the chosen methodology or theory and demonstrate mastery in implementing this method/theory to produce original research. • Analyze data (whether textual, statistical, qualitative, or other) and demonstrate maturity and sophistication in interpreting, analyzing, and synthesizing information to advance the argument. • Provide a conclusion that summarizes findings, discusses limitations, and addresses unanswered questions/future research directions. Beginning the Thesis Project The master’s capstone thesis option, must have a substantial research component, present an original argument, use proper academic writing conventions, including carefully documented primary and/or secondary sources, and should be at least fifty pages in length. This page count does NOT include the front and back matter (e.g., table of contents, lists of figures, illustrations and tables, acknowledgment and dedication pages, abstract, end notes pages, bibliography, appendices, etc.). Preparing the Thesis Thesis preparation entails a partnership between the student and professor. The student and professor shall coordinate the process for the student to submit and receive feedback on drafts of thesis sections. The student is also encouraged to ask other APUS faculty and professionals and leaders in their field of study to volunteer as thesis readers and provide feedback on drafts of thesis sections where these faculty members and professionals may have special expertise. For example, a student’s graduate research methods instructor may be asked for feedback on the thesis research design. Notes: • Self-plagiarism. The student must be careful not to self-plagiarize in their thesis. Selfplagiarism is “the presentation of one’s own previously published work as new scholarship.”2 Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a comprehensive exam or capstone paper will result in a grade of an F for the exam/course. • Thesis formatting shall be in strict accordance with the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies (EOP Manual) to ensure uniformity across the university. • The citation approach and manuscript formatting is established by the program or school’s officially designated style manual; however, the following are required to follow the formats shown in Appendixes 4-8. o Title page (required; Appendix 4) 3 o University publication license /Copyright Page (required; Appendix 5) o Dedication page (optional; Appendix 6) o Acknowledgements page (optional; Appendix 7) o Abstract of the thesis (required; Appendix 8) • The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures should be formatted according to the program’s or school’s designated style manual with the following exceptions (see Appendixes 9-11 for examples). o Dot leaders (periods between words and pages) are required. o Pages should be left justified. o Double space between entries. o Note: Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add ease to navigation • Style manuals are located in the APUS Library in the [email protected] website. • The thesis must also follow appropriate APUS Library declarations (see Chapter VII). • Appropriate stylistic formatting and documentation are the student’s responsibility. Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted and may delay course grading as well as degree conferral. Cover Page Introduction background of study problem statement research questions and hypothesis purpose of the study significance of the study Literature Review (Comprehensive) Theoretical Review Theoretical Framework Conceptual framework Empirical Review relate to your study Research/Plan Methodology Type/subtype of research Context and access participants Instrumentation Data collection Data Analysis References
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