M.A. theses are expected to contain the following elements: Abstract: Includes t
M.A. theses are expected to contain the following elements:
Abstract: Includes the following components: purpose of the research, methodology, findings, and conclusion. The body of the abstract is limited to 150-200 words.
Introduction: Identifies student’s specific research question and sets the general context for the study.
This section should include
• a statement of the problem or general research question and context leading to a clear statement of the specific research question;
• background and contextual material justifying why this case or topic should be studied; and
• a purpose statement.
Literature Review: Reviews the literature on a specific research question. The literature review focuses on discussing how other researchers have addressed the same or similar research questions. It introduces the study and places it in larger context that includes a discussion of why it is important to study this case. It provides the current state of accumulated knowledge as it relates to the student’s specific research question.
• Summarize the general state of the literature (cumulative knowledge base) on the specific research question:
o Study one: summarize to include researcher’s findings, how those findings were obtained, and evaluation of biases in the findings.
o Study two: summarize to include researcher’s findings, how those findings were obtained, and evaluation of biases in the findings.
o Include a minimum of at least three of the most important studies. • Include a short conclusion and transition to the next section.
Theoretical Framework/Approach: The theoretical framework section develops the theories or models to be used in the study and shows how the student has developed testable research hypotheses.
This section should include
• an introduction discussing gaps in the literature, how this study will help fill some of those gaps, and justification for the theory or model to be used in study;
45• a summary of the theory or model to be used in the study, including a diagram of the model if appropriate; and
• a statement of hypotheses to be tested.
Research Design/Methodology: Describes how the student will test the hypothesis and carry out his/her analysis. This section describes the data to be used to test the hypothesis, how the student will operationalize and collect data on his/her variables, and the analytic methods that to be used, noting potential biases and limitations to the research approach. It should include
• identification and operationalization (measurement) of variables;
• a sampling plan (i.e., study population and sampling procedures, if appropriate);
• justification of case studies used;
• data collection/sources (secondary literature, archives, interviews, surveys, etc.);
• a summary of analysis procedures (pattern-matching, etc.); and
• the limitations of study and bias discussion.
Findings/Results/Discussion: This section describes the results of the study. Keep in mind that the “results” are the direct observations of the research, while the “discussion” is the interpretation of the results and research. This should include, as appropriate:
• results, including tables, graphs, statistics;
• significance and interpretation of the results;
• discussion of results as they relate to thesis statement/research question;
• discussion of results as it relates to the theoretical framework/approach; and
• directions for future research.
Reference List: References the works the student has cited (direct quotes or paraphrases) in the text. This list must be formatted according to the school’s prescribed style guide.