Thesis nitty gritty aka the really boring but easy to get wrong part of the thesis process
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Thesis Nitty-Gritty aka: the really boring, but easy-to-get-wrong part of the thesis process. Psychology 985 Laura Chivers February 24, 2010. Application Committee Topic/Proposal Attachments Prospectus Prospectus Meeting. Application. Deadlines : Submit in HARD COPY to WJH 218

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Thesis Nitty-Gritty aka: the really boring, but easy-to-get-wrong part of the thesis process

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Thesis nitty gritty aka the really boring but easy to get wrong part of the thesis process

Thesis Nitty-Grittyaka: the really boring, but easy-to-get-wrong part of the thesis process

Psychology 985

Laura Chivers

February 24, 2010


Thesis nitty gritty aka the really boring but easy to get wrong part of the thesis process

  • Application

    • Committee

    • Topic/Proposal

    • Attachments

  • Prospectus

  • Prospectus Meeting


Application

Application

  • Deadlines : Submit in HARD COPY to WJH 218

    • Deadline: Friday 12 March 2010, 4pm (2+ weeks!)

      • Preferred deadline

      • Facilitates summer funding, starting research or being away from Harvard over summer but being ready to begin in Sept

      • Must obtain an adviser and reader

      • Can submit application early if leaving for spring break

    • Second Deadline: Thursday 8 April 2010, 4pm

      • Later deadline is permissible, but can make life hard

      • If you can’t find reader, we will assign one, but not preferable


Application committee

Application: Committee

  • Why choose committee now?

    • other departments, readers assigned after the work is done, sometimes blindly

    • Psychology is broad field, many ways to address a question

    • All thesis graders have input into the project before collecting data

  • Committee Roles

    • Thesis supervisor

      • supervises the research that you conduct for your thesis

      • participates in your thesis prospectus meeting

      • files midyear and end-of-year reports for your senior thesis tutorial (990/992/993)

      • reads and comments on your thesis

      • participates in your poster defense

      • works with reader to determine final grade

    • Thesis reader

      • participates in your thesis prospectus meeting

      • reads and comments on your thesis

      • participates in your poster defense

      • works with reader to determine final grade

      • you might consult with your reader during the year

        • if s/he has specific expertise you need,

        • if you have modified your thesis project and want to inform your committee).


Application committee1

Application: Committee

  • Composition

    • 1 supervisor

      • Regular Dept Faculty Member/Lecturer

      • Asterisked Board of Honors Tutors member

    • Sometimes, 1 co-supervisor

      • Graduate studentG3 or higher, co-supervising no more than 2 theses

      • Non-asterisked Board of Honors Tutors member

      • Doctoral-level researcher outside of dept by petition only

    • 1 reader

      • Regular Dept Faculty Member/Lecturer

      • Board of Honors Tutors member

      • Same person as supervisor, if co-supervisor is from a different lab than supervisor

  • Either supervisor or reader MUST be departmental faculty member


Application proposal

Application: Proposal

  • Proposal

    • ½ to 2 pages long, attached to application

    • presents your thesis topic question

    • includes general method as it stands currently, including intended participants

    • Does not lock you in, but allows us to determine if the topic is

      • appropriate for a thesis

      • feasible to complete in the senior year


Application attachments

Application: Attachments

  • For everyone, a copy of your student record from the Advising Portal.

  • If your college grade-point average is lower than the 3.5 required for thesis writers:

    • submit a petition form with a statement explaining why you feel your GPA does not reflect your ability to do a thesis

    • Laura will contact your supervisor for more information

  • If you are requesting a non-departmental supervisor who is not a member of the Board of Honors Tutors:

    • submit a petition form with a statement explaining how this person is an appropriate supervisor for your research.

    • note the person's title and affiliation

    • if the person is not Harvard-affiliated, include her/his curriculum vitae (resume)


Application tips

Application: Tips

  • Available at http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/psych/ug/thesis/step2/II.Honors.appl.form.htm

  • Title should be tentative thesis title

  • Signatures

    • Do not wait until the last minute to get signatures

    • Requires signature of supervisor and co-supervisor

    • Does not require reader signature, but be sure they have agreed

    • Requires Concentration Adviser signature

  • Approval:

    • CUI will review, Laura will contact you with questions

    • Approvals will be emailed out within a few weeks

    • Do not assume you have been approved if you don’t hear – check in with Laura

    • Changes to committee membership or substantial topic changes require new application

  • While waiting for approval, work on completing your prospectus!


Prospectus

Prospectus

  • Draft Due byWednesday 21 April 2010, 4p.m, to WJH 218

    • May submit earlier to facilitate Prospectus Meeting

  • Goal:

    • Communicate clearly the relevance and plausibility of your work

    • No min or max, but range is four to twenty pages, typically between twelve and fifteen pages long, although there is no maximum or minimum length

    • Students having trouble formatting may consider QALMRI approach (Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2001, Appendix B); or intro, methods, and if asked, proposed results

    • Methods should be fairly well developed

    • Serves a roadmap for prospectus meeting

    • Like a contract between you and committee members

  • Edits may be made after submission if and when the student and committee agree that changes are warranted

  • Revised prospectuses should be submitted in hard copy to WJH 218 whenever revisions occur, with signature of committee members on front


Prospectus meeting

Prospectus Meeting

  • Presentation of your prospectus to your committee

  • Held with your entire committee present simultaneously

  • Chance to present thesis idea and research plan, and get feedback from committee

  • Official approval (or disapproval) of thesis plan

  • Possible outcomes:

    • Thesis proposal approved without reservation.

    • Thesis proposal approved with stipulation (attach copy) **most common

    • Thesis proposal not approved in present form; candidate required to  revise and  re-submit it.  Second prospectus meeting scheduled

    • Thesis proposal disapproved; candidate may continue a modified study               for half-course credit of Psychology 990/992/993.

    • Thesis proposal disapproved; student required to withdraw from               Psychology 990/992/993.

  • The prospectus you present to the committee may be a revised version of the prospectus you submit on April 21, 2010


Prospectus meeting1

Prospectus Meeting

  • Timing

    • Can’t be held until application is approved, although can be tentatively scheduled

    • Ideally will be held before CUHSR (IRB) approval, but definitely before beginning main data collection (piloting ok if CUHSR ok)

    • Should plan to complete before end of spring semester if possible (usually not held over summer)

    • “drop dead” deadline is Friday, October 1, 2010

    • Two weeks before scheduled prospectus meeting, provide all committee members with a copy of your prospectus, and turn in a copy of this version of the prospectus to UGO, WJH 218

    • Faculty are SUPER busy, so schedule this as far in advance as possible. One month advanced notice is not always enough.

    • Remember everyone must be in the room together at the same time, unless you have permission from Laura for someone to conference call.


Prospectus meeting tips

Prospectus Meeting Tips

  • Print and bring to meeting Prospectus Meeting Evaluation Form

  • Form Available at: http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/psych/ug/deadlines/Prosp.eval.form.htm

  • Be sure all committee members sign form, turn into WJH 218 immediately

  • Remember, what you discuss is like a contract

  • We strongly recommend that after the prospectus meeting, you e-mail your thesis committee members with a summary of what was agreed at the meeting.


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