not on staff during the summer term. I will be happy to help
you any way I can, but realize that your committee
may not be available to read your work or meet
during the summer.
read this information carefully and talk to me about any questions.
Please call me (Joan Aitken) every couple weeks by phone.
PROPOSAL DEADLINE week 6: Your final thesis proposal is due,
which you need to send to your committee for approval by week 8.
You will receive a letter grade if you completed this proposal and
emailed it to your committee for their approval. No
negotiation. If you are not going to be able to meet this
deadline, please drop the course and consider a different option or
FINAL TERM BEFORE GRADUATION--DEADLINE week 1:
Your final thesis draft needs to be emailed to your
committee, and you need schedule your defense for week 3. Do
NOT enroll for your final credit hour unless you know your final
draft is already ready to submit the first week of the term!
will want to enroll 6-12 months prior to graduation and stay on a
time schedule, while working with your advisor along the way.
Once you enroll for you first term, it doesn't matter to your
or not you enroll again until your last term--you two will work together
either way. Some students enroll for 3 hours term 1, then six
months later enroll in 2 hours the final term, while working together
with an advisor in between the enrollment terms. Other
students enroll for one hour for 5 terms. Do whatever works
for your finances or financial aid, but
make sure you
save one hour for your graduation term.
Checklist for your final
enrolled term, click here.
YOU MUST BE OFF PROBATION AND HAVE
FULLY COMPLETED YOUR APPLICATION AND
ADMITTANCE TO THE PROGRAM TO ENROLL
IN THESIS HOURS.
DURING THIS PROCESS,
please COMMUNICATE CAREFULLY!
Read this information carefully and please follow
it. Submit your weekly updates each Sunday and drafts
in the e-course dropbox for CA 797.
Please do NOT submit assignments by email. Please don't
forward your advisor's or anyone else's email, and please don't
send daily emails to your
advisor or anyone else on campus. If you have a question
telephone your advisor. A simple conversation is more
effective than multiple emails.,
You may feel disconnected and frustrated at times, but you have
a better chance of success if the faculty, IRB, graduate school,
and director of the library has a positive attitude toward you.
As in any organization, some parts of this process require
knowledge and diplomacy of organizational politics. At some
colleges, students have to wait months for faculty to
read and thesis chapters. At Park, however, most faculty
give students responses in just weeks, which is amazing compared
to what happens at many other colleges.
If you don't hear from someone in a
reasonable time, do not say "did you get my email?" but send
your email with latest attachments again as a "friendly reminder."
Organize yourself! Be efficient on the front end when you
have control, so there is plenty of time near your graduation
date (when you have no control).
TO YOUR COMMITTEE
Send your committee versions
of your thesis proposal, then
chapters, and thesis drafts along the
way. Send the latest version of
your evolving thesis to your faculty
committee each term so they are
up-to-date and so they can make
suggestions if they want to do so.
If you enroll over 12 months, for
example, send your proposal term
one, your thesis draft term two,
updated term three, updated term
four, then the final thesis draft by
the end of term four or week one of
term 5. Make sure you attach the
thesis file with each communication with
Begin the file name with your last name
and include the version at the end, such
Only use a single, .doc or
Make sure the version changes each time,
including the suggestions and edits from
your advisor or faculty committee.
In color highlights, indicate
major additions and changes in your draft
so the faculty know what they are
Timeline will vary according
to your overall schedule and
the type of project.
Below are general
NOT sign up for this course unless you have completed a major paper
on the topic and received advisor approval in advance.
Set your own
looking at your
date and figuring time
Receive advisor approval
on the idea.
Revise your proposal
from CA 516 and CA 517.
Revise you review of
literature (cite and
reference about 50
After receiving advisor
suggestions, edit, then
send your proposal to
WEEK 6 TERM
will not be
able to do
If I don't
week 8, you
an "F" in
If you are
fees to use
Week 8 of
to be on
your proposal to
WEEK 4 DEADLINE:
Complete an IRB
application if you are
using human subjects and
obtain their approval.
Enhance your review of
literature while you
wait for the IRB.
If you are not
enrolled in other courses,
enroll in one hour so
you can use the Park
Hopefully you are able
to use some assignments
for other courses to add
content to your review
- If you are using
archival data (e.g.,
websites, a speech text,
films), begin your data
collection, which will
be used in your content
- Week 6: Send your committee
an update on your
- Collect data.
WEEK 6 DEADLINE:
Submit your latest draft
in the course dropbox.
WEEK 7 DEADLINE:
Send your committee a
summary of the data you
This can be
Term 4 or next to last term.
- Analyze data and
write the final thesis.
Convert your proposal to
a thesis by going
through and changing the
After receiving advisor
suggestions, edit and
send your proposal to
WEEK 6 DEADLINE:
Send your draft to your
WEEK 7 DEADLINE:
Send your committee a
summary of the data you
must be COMPLETE before you enroll for your last term. The 8-week sessions move
very quickly, especially when you don't have the discipline of
WEEK 1 DEADLINE: Resend your draft to your committee (give them a minimum
of two weeks to read your work before your defense).
Highlight changes in color
so they know what they are receiving.
Schedule your oral defense and prepare a PowerPoint, which you
send to committee members.
For the PowerPoint for the defense, use a small .ppt
file, with the text outline of what you
plan to say in the defense. Avoid pictures, although you may
meeting. Defend your
You advisor will notify
file to the
IMPORTANT GRADUATE THESIS INFORMATION
Make sure you
complete all admission and graduation requirements before beginning
Make sure you have taken care of
all admission and graduation requirements. Admission requirements
were due within 60 days of beginning the program.
Grading is based on submission of
quality work, meeting deadlines, and faculty
Weekly attendance is based on
your direct communication with your
professor. Send a progress email each week and phone regularly.
the Graduate Catalog and Graduate School Procedures. These
requirements are the ones that must be followed.
Supplemental help is available for the thesis:
Is Dr. Aitken the
right thesis advisor for you?
Dr. Joan E. Aitken:
I have expertise in Communication Studies, including
research in interpersonal, educational, organizational, public,
Internet, media, and intercultural communication. Leadership studies
can be a broad field that fits into communication studies.
My expectations for students selecting the thesis option:
Submit a completed proposal by week
6 of your first term or drop the
I do not give the grade of
"incomplete" for any reason.
If you cannot meet the deadline,
then you have a procrastination
problem that makes this capstone
with me a poor choice. Please
select a different advisor or
different capstone option.
I do not allow students to enroll in
continuous enrollment and fade away.
Do not enroll in your last hour
until your work is done.
Set a clear timetable and follow it.
Be responsible for yourself and meet
the deadlines without prodding.
Send an update of your work to your
committee member each term.
clearly relevant to human communication will be acceptable.
Do a thesis if you want to do
original work and publish your work
through our library.
You cannot switch to a different
advisor or the reflection option if
the going gets tough. Make
sure you want to do the thesis
option before you enroll.
Many of my students use the survey
research method or content analysis
method. I've seen some
students give up during the IRB
process, so IZ am an advocate of
using content analysis.
Select a narrow and do-able project.
I prefer phone conversations to
I am committed to prompt responses.
don't hear from me in a couple days,
contact me again.
If you don't have my
home phone number, just ask.
Feel free to call me to brainstorm,
discuss problems, or any time I can
I want to help you finish a high
quality thesis as efficiently as
Work efficiently and commit to
graduation on time!
You need to have the final draft of
your thesis complete BEFORE
enrolling in the final term before
graduation. I can't say this
enough, have back at least
one of the five credit hours for
enrollment in your final term so
that you don't have to pay extra.
I do not believe in paying for
continuous enrollment. Get
your thesis done.
Guidelines for Thesis Requirements.
DEPT. & PARK RULES. The student
has the responsibility of finding out and following departmental and
Park University rules. You will find those in the graduate catalog.
Your advisor cannot over-ride departmental or university rules. The
department and university requirements supersede faculty
GRADUATE RECORD EXAM (GRE).
Park University requires that you complete the GRE and submit your
scores to the Graduate School. You cannot graduate from the
program without completing this step. See
COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS. The
department or university requires separate comprehensive exams of
graduates. This exam is different from the Graduate Record
Exam (GRE) and required to show your learning in this MA program.
Comps need to be PASSED at least 8 weeks prior to graduation. Here is
Dr. Aitken's information about comps
THESIS OR PROJECT? The thesis
should be original research that makes a contribution to the
learning in the field. The thesis will be bound and made
available to the general public through the library. If you plan to
do research on human subjects, please do the thesis option.
TOPIC. Select a topic you love,
which you have been studying in the program so far. The topic must
relate to human communication or leadership.
COMMITTEE. You will present your
thesis and defend your work, perhaps with other enrolled students
during a meeting set up by the department. This meeting can be
conducted by teleconferencing for distance students. Most
students have a committee of 3 faculty members, usually at least two
are from our department. Faculty from other departments,
part-time faculty, faculty at other universities can make excellent
for Graduation Deadlines
GRADUATION. Go to the Park website, find and complete the
online form (Application for Graduation), and pay fees for
August Completion or
December Commencement Deadline: April 1
Deadline: November 1
Buy an APA Manual
and use it!
Buy and use the APA
The APA manual contains all the information you need about what goes
into the thesis and how to write. For my summary on writing,
Style Requirements. For my summary on formatting and
APA (2009). Publication
manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed. Washington,
DC: American Psychological Association.
Use this format beginning with your proposal. Leave
parts blank that you have not completed.
Blank page or copyright page
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations (if figures/graphs/etc. are used) List of Tables (if
manuscript has tables)
Acknowledgments (if used)
Preface (if used)
Dedication (if used)
See Appendix A, p. 331
1: Defining the problem.
Introduction – This is the background to the problem.
brief history of interest in the area.
Specify unresolved issues, theoretical questions, and/or social
Rationale for the study.
Survey of literature. (30-50 pages)
Review of the Literature -- This is a survey of the theory and
research related to the problem. It should provide the
Define key variables.
Critique and summarize prior research. This is a review of how
the variables have been
studied and includes
results, conclusions, and weakness.
Establish the basis for your study, which isolate issues that
merit further research.
Chapter 3: Problem
Statement. (5 pages)
Problem Statement -- Drawing from the literature review of 20-50
sources, explain the ideas you plan to investigate. Include the
Identify variables (dependent and independent variables).
Delineate the research problem to explain the relationships
expected among variables (research questions or hypotheses).
Describe why the research method (e.g.,
survey research) is used.
Instruments or measures
Operational definitions of dependent and
Instrument – rationale for the measure to
be used (e.g., questionnaire, focus group, interview).
Participants and procedures
Selection of subjects (i.e., who and how
to get them -- sampling procedure).
Explain how materials will be
Describe how data will be collected.
Describe how data will be analyzed.
Chapter 5: Results
(5 pages). Just the facts.
Discussion (10-30 pages). See the APA manual.
References (Only peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles in APA style)
If you don't plan on meeting deadlines, you will want to use a
different advisor or a different capstone option.
You need to have passed your comps
BEFORE your final term.
At most universities, they are
given MONTHS to do this, so even two weeks to read your thesis is an unrealistic
expectation. Make sure you warn the committee of your deadlines in
advance, and you will want to send materials as you go along so
there is less for them to read and respond to at the end. If you wait
too long, you may not
be able to graduate. During holiday times, between terms, and summer,
please do not expect faculty to read, correspond with you, or meet.
Please be sure to send an electronic copy
of each chapter to each committee member as soon as it is
Tell them you just want them
to see your progress, and you welcome any suggestions or
Send your final draft to your faculty committee at least two
weeks before the defense meeting. For more information
about defense, see
Defense of Thesis or Project
1. AFTER FACULTY THE DEFENSE AND COMMITTEE APPROVAL
These contents are added to your
thesis, if you desire, AFTER the
committee approves your work.
Of course you can say whatever you
want, but usually people thank each
committee member in the first
paragraph. Then they thank key
family and friends in the next
paragraph (e.g., for their support,
proofing of the manuscript). I've
seen thanks to other university
people who have helped, like a
librarian. Don't thank the the
company where your research was
done, but if you thank someone
from the company, do so in generic
terms to no one can they they were
part of the study. It's considered
bad form to thank pets. (grin)
Again you can say whatever you want,
but for an author's first book, the
dedication is traditionally to
parents. Some people select
their significant other. It's
considered bad form to dedicate to
animals, causes, or things.
Write a couple paragraph narrative
summary about your education, work,
and personal life. Use third
2. IRB NOTIFICATION OF CONCLUSION OF RESEARCH
You are required to notify the IRB that you finished
Dr. Cohn of the IRB
saying something like this.
This email is notification
that my research on human
_____________ , tracking
number __________________ is
completed. I have finished
collecting collecting data.
Thank you for your help with
3. FINAL ELECTRONIC COPY OF THE THESIS
Upload the final version of
your thesis as a single
electronic file in your
course dropbox. The
file name needs to begin
with your last name, then
first name, the thesis, and
other relevant information
Make sure your advisor has four
copies of the signature page on 100%
cotton for the oral defense meeting.
Your advisor will send you
or tell you if changes
are needed to your thesis after the committee
meeting for the oral defense.
Go back and REREAD THIS PAGE,
particularly being careful to comply
with the Park Procedures listed on
this page. You have to proof
your final version carefully because
no one will proof it for you.
You may want to hire a proof-reader
to double-check everything.
You need to make sure everything is
correct and in proper order.
Then send an electronic version to
the Director of the Graduate School
with the email copied to your
Telephone Dr. Schultis and
do exactly what she says regarding
binding. I may not have the
most up-to-date information. No
arguments. No emails. She is an important
and well-respected person at this
university. Be respectful!
Mail hardcopies of your thesis to:
Dr. A. Schultis
Director of Library Systems
Park University Library
8700 NW River Park Dr.
Parkville, MO 64152-3795
I She will probably tell
you something like the information
Print your copies of your thesis on
high quality bond--acid free
paper--and mail to Dr. Schultis with
Be sure to include a copyright page,
if you plan to obtain a copyright.
Where to go for printing?
I recommend you go to some place
like Office Max or UPS and talk
to them about making your copies.
You want acid free paper because you
don't want pages to yellow. But
someplace I went said all their
paper is now acid free. Make sure
you ask about the acid free part.
Tell them you're having a thesis
bound and ask for their advice about
a good quality paper. 100% cotton is
hard to work with, too thick, and
very expensive, and I don't think
you'll be happy with it. There's no
reason to spend hundreds of dollars
on this, you just want a nice copy
that will last. Then you
hand deliver or ship the copies to Dr. Schultis
How many copies?
One for the library.
One for the department.
One for you.
Aitken does not want/need another
hardcopy, so don't have one printed.
Check to see if the Director of the
Program (Dr. Noe) wants one.
The only professionally bound copy
you absolutely MUST have is the one
that you give to the library.
Finish on time!
Everything must be done by Friday at the latest of week 4 of
your final term before graduation.
Guidelines for Students
Page reference: Aitken, J. E. (2012). Thesis
design and research. Kansas City, MO: ourwayit.com. Retrieved