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Thesis and Writing Resources

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Graduate Education & Research provides support, guidance, and oversight to students and faculty through the entire thesis process.  Please contact us if you have questions or need any assistance.

Graduate Research Workshops

Research is an essential part of graduate education.  All graduate students should become knowledgeable about research in their particular fields of study and should engage in the process of conducting, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting their own personal research.  To gain a comprehensive overview of the research process and to gain practical experience and tools for effective research, graduate students are encouraged to attend the Graduate Research Workshops. 

Attendance is highly recommended for graduate students in all disciplines. Register for one or all workshops!  Students who attend the entire series will receive a Graduate Research Certificate.  

All workshops will be offered virtually (via Zoom) and face-to-face (JCKL 1424) in a synchronous format.  

Register Now  

 

Workshop 1: Uncovering the Research Question/Research Problem

  • Overview of academic and professional research
  • Applied development of research questions

August 31, 2021 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  OR
September 1, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:50 pm

 

Workshop 2: Information Resource Investigation

  • In-depth exploration of the elements of the literature review/resource investigation as related to the research problem/question.
  • Introduction to the exploratory phase of the literature review.
  • Introduction to the various types of broad and focused literature reviews.
  • Overview of the chain of information resources and accessing the resources.
  • Overview of the types and role of various information sources.

September 14, 2021 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  OR
September 15, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:50 pm

 

Workshop 3 & 4: Citing and Citation Management, Part 1 & 2

Part 1 - Plagiarism and Introduction to Citing

  • Introduction to the topic of plagiarism and ways to avoid plagiarism.
  • Introduction to the citation styles used within the disciplines.

September 28, 2021 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  OR
September 29, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:50 pm

 

Part 2 - Citing and Citation Management Tools

  • In-depth exploration of the citation styles.
  • Review of citation management tools available.  
  • Application of APA citation style and others to course content.  

October 12, 2021 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  OR
October 13, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:50 pm

Workshop 5 & 6: Research Methods, Part 1 & 2

Part 1 - Exploring Research Methods 
  • Overview of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research approaches.
  • Introduces students to the correlation between the research question/problem
    statement and the applicable research approaches.

October 26, 2021 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  OR
October 27, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:50 pm

 

Part 2 - Research Ethics and Data Integrity

  • Overview of the role of research ethics and common pitfalls.
  • Introduction to IRB, IACUC, and data integrity including the application process.
  • Practical experience cleaning a dataset.
  • Introduction and intermediate topics related to plagiarism based upon discipline.

November 9, 2021 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  OR
November 10, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:50 pm

Research and Writing Resources

Research Consultation

Librarians are available for consultation in finding and retrieving literature.  Contact Janette Klein at jklein@ucmo.edu for more information and to set up an appointment.  

The Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writing instruction for all graduate students at all stages of the writing process.  This is a free service available to all UCM students via walk-ins, appointment, or online.  A specific graduate writing tutor is available answer questions, perfect citations, provide a fresh perspective, and explore the conventions of academic writing at the graduate-level.  

Location: JCKL 1250, inside the Learning Commons

Thesis Resources

Research is an essential part of graduate education. While all graduate students should become knowledgeable about research in their field of study, thesis students engage in the process of conducting, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting their own personal research. The fulfillment of a thesis requirement is a distinct advantage to students who plan to do additional graduate study or to work in certain fields of employment.

A thesis is the result of research, scholarly, or creative activity that gives evidence of independent, critical, and creative investigation. The thesis demonstrates the ability to define and develop a problem; to understand and synthesize relevant literature; to use appropriate data collection methodology; to analyze and interpret data; and to draw reasonable conclusions based on the investigation that integrated the new knowledge into the discipline. This is different from capstone courses, projects, research papers, or other types of culminating experiences which are not reviewed by Graduate Education & Research and generally not preserved in the library repository. While still maintaining flexibility within program guidelines, the thesis does bear distinct university standards and requirements.

 

Graduate Student Responsibilities

The pursuit of a graduate degree infers a high degree of initiative on the part of the graduate student. Graduate students assume responsibility for engaging in intellectual activities at the graduate level, as well as responsibility for complying with all policies and procedures as set forth in the Graduate Catalog, in the Thesis Manual, and in college and school regulations.

Faculty Responsibilities

A successful thesis experience requires communication, collaboration, and support from multiple people. While a thesis is an individual research project, it is guided by the expertise of faculty who have knowledge of the discipline, theory, and methodology. Students should reach out to additional individuals as necessary depending upon the specifics of their project. The roles below are identified at UCM.

Thesis Chair - The chair of the thesis committee is a faculty member with full graduate faculty status and is the primary mentor throughout the thesis process from beginning to end. They guide the student through each step and are there to answer questions, provide feedback, and point them towards other people and information as needed. They ensure regular communication between all and that feedback is being provided to the student. They review the final thesis copy and submit their approval to GER via the Thesis Transmittal Form. They also submit the final letter grade for the thesis course. It is expected that the thesis chair will be accessible, responsive, and provide quick turnaround with feedback so as not to delay student progress.

Thesis Committee - Thesis committee members (typically two) are faculty with either full or associate graduate faculty status (or external to UCM as noted below) and provide additional content and/or methodological expertise to support and supplement the thesis chair and the student. They provide feedback on every draft that they receive, participate in the thesis defense, and ensure the final thesis is of high quality. It is expected that thesis committee members will be accessible, responsive, and provide quick turnaround with feedback so as not to delay student progress. They submit their approval to the thesis chair.

Upon request, one of the committee members may be from outside the University, such as a retired faculty member, a faculty member from another university, or a professional from the appropriate field. Appointment of an external committee member is subject to approval by the thesis chair and the Director of Graduate Education & Research. A completed application for an external thesis committee member must be completed before the research is begun in order to have an external member on the thesis committee.

School Chair - The school chair reviews the defense thesis and provides a quality check to ensure that the research project meets university expectations. It is expected that the school chair will be accessible, responsive, and provide quick turnaround with feedback so as not to delay student progress. They may submit their approval to the thesis chair or via the Thesis Transmittal Form.

Graduate Education and Research - The Graduate Education & Research (GER) office provides oversight of the entire thesis process from beginning to end and ensures quality and university wide consistency. They provide the structure and the guidance to all involved and are ultimately responsible for all thesis requirements being met. GER reviews the prospectus, the defense thesis, the final thesis, and then authorizes approval of the final thesis on the degree audit (simply as completed or not completed). Quality of theses is identified as Outcome 4, Measure 4.1 of the GER Higher Learning Commission co-curricular assessment plan. GER is available to answer questions, offers support as needed, and provides timely and immediate feedback.

Thesis Workshop

Thesis workshops are open to all students and faculty in order to learn about the process from start to finish. This includes a review of steps in completing a thesis, formatting guidelines, review of the thesis manual, writing resources, research funding, and time for Q&A. These presentations are scheduled at least twice every semester. While students and faculty are welcome to attend at any stage in their program, we encourage earlier rather than later. You are also welcome to attend multiple times for a refresher.

Graduate Education and Research will also accommodate students and faculty that would like to schedule individual, small group, or class presentations around your schedules upon request.

Resources and Recordings for Access Anytime
The Google Slides presentation may be accessed any time. 
 
Online Synchronous Workshop via Google Meet
Don't want to wait? A recording from last year is still available for viewing at any time:
 
Upcoming Fall 2021 workshops:
 
TBA  

Thesis Manual

The Thesis Manual provides the instructions and the precise formatting requirements for all theses. Please be sure to follow the manual as you prepare your submission.

Thesis Manual

A properly formatted Microsoft Word template is provided below for faculty and students to utilize.

UCM Thesis Template 

Students not as familiar with Microsoft Word may have questions about certain features in order to meet the formatting requirements. Below are instructions for some of the most frequently asked questions.

Page Numbers: Section breaks

Table of Contents: Tab stops, leader dots, and alignment

Prospectus Template

As a matter of best practice and in order to set the groundwork for a successful thesis, all students begin with the development of a prospectus or a similar type of document as identified by the program. Following acceptance by the thesis chair the student must submit the finished prospectus to GER via the Thesis Transmittal Form. The precise timeline for the completion of the prospectus is determined by the thesis chair and the program. However, at the latest this needs to be completed prior to conducting research.

The thesis prospectus is a plan on what the student wishes to research before conducting the research. It typically includes a draft abstract, overview, start of a literature review, and brief methods section. While a template is provided on the GER website, thesis chairs may modify prospectus requirements to fit program needs. The student should follow the guidelines as set forth by their thesis chair. The prospectus serves as the official agreement between the student and the thesis committee and although changes may take place throughout the research process, it does reflect a well thought out plan.

Most programs use the prospectus as a prerequisite for enrollment in the thesis course. Students in programs that have a different process should work with their thesis chair for enrollment assistance.

UCM Thesis Prospectus Template

Forms

Be sure you are logged in to your UCM student Google account:

Thesis Binding

UCM no longer prints, binds, nor stores physical copies of final theses. However, students who wish to do so for their own use, for family, or to gift to faculty, may contact any of the companies below:

Submission, Approval, and Acceptance Overview and Timeline

A thorough content and format review is completed on every thesis through a collaboration between your Thesis Committee and the staff in Graduate Education & Research. Final approval of the thesis is sent to the registrar by Graduate Education & Research to fulfill this graduation requirement on the degree audit.

Submissions will be reviewed in the order received. Depending upon the number it may take up to a week to review each submission and provide a reply.

Your thesis committee and Graduate Education & Research will attempt to work with you year round, regardless of semester beginning and end dates, until your thesis is completed and approved. However, if you have a specific semester that you are hoping to finish by then there are specific timelines to be aware of. Failure to follow the deadlines and timeline below may delay your graduation to a subsequent semester.

Active student status is required in order to maintain access to faculty, advisor support, graduate program guidance, library resources, electronic accounts, university research facilities, and other resources. This may be fulfilled by continuing enrollment in additional credit hours of thesis or in additional graduate-level course as guided by the graduate program coordinator. University faculty and staff shall not work with thesis students that are not currently enrolled. Additionally, if a student fails to enroll in coursework and more than one year has lapsed the student must submit an application for readmission to the program before they may return. If need be thesis students may contact Graduate and International Student Services to be reinstated and work with the thesis chair to enroll in GRAD 5001 (Graduate Continuous Enrollment).

Submission of Prospectus and IRB Approval

As a matter of best practice and in order to set the groundwork for a successful thesis, all students begin with the development of a prospectus or a similar type of document as identified by the program. Following acceptance by the thesis chair the student must submit the finished prospectus to GER via the Thesis Transmittal Form. The precise timeline for the completion of the prospectus is determined by the thesis chair and the program. However, at the latest this needs to be completed prior to conducting research.

The thesis prospectus is a plan on what the student wishes to research before conducting the research. It typically includes a draft abstract, overview, start of a literature review, and brief methods section. While a template is provided on the GER website, thesis chairs may modify prospectus requirements to fit program needs. The student should follow the guidelines as set forth by their thesis chair. The prospectus serves as the official agreement between the student and the thesis committee and although changes may take place throughout the research process, it does reflect a well thought out plan.

Most programs use the prospectus as a prerequisite for enrollment in the thesis course. Students in programs that have a different process should work with their thesis chair for enrollment assistance.

All students must work with the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity (OSPRI) and then submit the appropriate approval letter to GER via the Thesis Transmittal Form. This letter must be sent to GER as soon as it is received by the student and before conducting research.

If the thesis involves human subjects or animals the student must submit the proper forms for the human subjects review process or to the institutional animal care and use committee. OSPRI review and official approval must be obtained before conducting research.

If the thesis does not involve human subjects or animals the student must submit the Determination of Research (DOR) form. OSPRI review and official approval must be obtained before conducting research. Students may not self-determine.

The prospectus and the appropriate OSPRI response letter should be submitted from your student UCM Google account to Graduate Education & Research via the Transmittal Form

Due prior to conducting research

Submission of Defense Thesis

In order to ensure the successful completion of a thesis, all students must submit the defense thesis to GER via the Thesis Transmittal Form.

A defense is scheduled when the thesis chair believes the thesis is done and it's time for the student to present their findings. The defense thesis is the near final paper that is 99% complete and only requires minor edits. It is the version that is provided to the thesis committee members and the school chair before the defense. To ensure a complete approach to thesis review, quality assurance, and proper formatting, GER will provide feedback on this paper. For easier editing it is preferred that this be submitted in Microsoft Word format.

After GER reviews the thesis, a copy with suggested corrections will be sent back to the student and thesis chair for final editing.

The defense thesis should be submitted from your student Google account to Graduate Education & Research via the Transmittal Form

Recommended due date: 5 p.m. on the Monday before finals week.
Thesis chairs may set a different due date.

Thesis Defense

The thesis defense is a two-part process involving a public defense and a committee examination. The public defense is typically a one-hour presentation that is advertised and open to the public that includes a questions and answer component. The committee examination is typically an oral examination centered around your thesis topic and is always conducted by your approved thesis committee. Your thesis chair will work with you and let you know when you are ready to defend.

A thesis defense must be scheduled with your committee and completed before your degree will be conferred. The thesis committee then votes on whether or not to accept the thesis.

Graduate Education & Research is not involved in the defense though we are notified by the faculty when it is completed.

Recommended due date: 5 p.m. on the Friday before finals week.
Thesis chairs may set a different due date.

Submission and Acceptance of Final Thesis

In order to finalize the successful completion of a thesis, GER is the last step and requires all students submit two items via the Thesis Transmittal Form: submission of the final copy of the thesis, and the library publication agreement.

Following the defense, a final copy (in pdf format) approved by your thesis chair and incorporating all revisions, corrections, and feedback from the thesis committee and school chair must be submitted to GER for university review, approval, and degree clearance. This final version must be clear of errors and strictly follow the thesis manual formatting guidelines.

Along with the thesis is the library publication agreement for inclusion in the library digital repository. The sharing and dissemination of findings is an important part of the research process.

The corrected final thesis, with accompanying library publication agreement, should be submitted to GER via the Transmittal Form. GER will notify the student, thesis committee chair, school, and registrar of final approval.

If GER finds that additional corrections are needed it will be sent back to the student as many times as necessary. Please be aware that if multiple revisions and resubmissions are required to correct mistakes this may draw out the process and possibly degree completion. Students have up to 7 days after the end of the semester in order to submit corrections. If the thesis is not completed and approved by that point, GER will continue to work with the student on revisions and graduation may be moved to the next semester.

The corrected final thesis, with accompanying library publication agreement release form, should be submitted from your student Google account to Graduate Education & Research via the Transmittal Form. Graduate Education & Research will notify the student, thesis committee chair, school chair, and registrar of final approval.

Recommended due date: 12 noon on the last day of finals week.
Thesis chairs may set a different due date.

Contact

Graduate Education & Research
Ward Edwards 1900
Tel: (660) 543-4729

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