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Thesis Manuscript Guidelines

Although there may be some variation in the final form of the thesis manuscript, the following outline provides a general view of what elements should be covered in a thesis. Please refer to this document in order to provide an assist in planning and producing your thesis.

General Thesis Manuscript Outline

I. Introduction and Statement of the Problem

A. Reason why the study is important
B. How the study will contribute to the field of school psychology
C. Set the stage for you literature review

II. Literature Review (justification of your research questions)

A. Related research
1. Use headings – these should reflect the main topics of your paper that include all related research and theory
2. Operationally define all your variables (will probably use these variables as your headings)
3. Organize your literature review by main ideas, not by previous studies. Previous studies are used to support your main ideas.

B. Summary/Conclusion
1. Provide a summary that pulls together all the main points of your literature review
2. State why/how your study will make a unique contribution to our knowledge base in the proposed area of study

C. Current Study
1. Briefly state what you will do in this study (i.e., methodology)
2. State you research question(s)
3. State your hypothesis/hypotheses, supported by literature review

III. Method (used to answer your research questions)

A. Participants
1. Sample size
2. Selection criteria
3. Participant recruitment procedures
4. Age, grade, gender, ethnicity, educational and income level (when applicable)

B. Setting
C. Materials/Measures/Instruments (use only the terms that apply to your research) - quantitative measure of your variable(s)
1. Description of the measure(s)
2. Rationale for including this/these measure(s)
3. Description of the scores reported from the measure(s).
4. Reliability and validity of the measure(s) and justification that they are sufficient

D. Procedures – design of the study
1. Groups used in the study
2. How groups were formed
3. Experimental and measurement procedures given to each group (be very specific so the procedures could be replicated)
4. Sequential order of procedures
5. How procedures relate to research question(s)
6. A rationale for the procedures used in terms of the research questions

E. Analysis – how you operationalized the research question as a statistical analysis.
1. The name and description of the statistical analysis used
2. Clear explication of the independent and dependent variables

IV. Results (findings – answer to your research questions)

A. Organized according to research question
B. Present descriptive data first
C. Use tables for larger amounts of data

V. Discussion (the meaning of the findings)

A. General summary of findings (1 paragraph)
B. Interpretations of findings -Organize by research questions -Emphasize main points or “take home” messages -Relate findings to your literature review (use citations)
C. Implications for School Psychologists
D. Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research
E. Conclusion

*Your papers must strictly adhere to APA style. Technical writing is important. Resources within the department and through the Howe Writing Center in the King Library are available to assist you with both of these requirements.