San Francisco State University
I. Components of a Thesis
A student writing a thesis must adhere to SFSU Graduate Studies thesis writing policies. A brief summary(1) follows:
Front Matter – Includes a title page, notice of copyright (optional), committee recommendation and signatures, abstract, acknowledgment (optional), table of contents and list of figures and tables. The abstract should be 1 page in length and up to 350 words.
Chapter 1 – Introduction. The writer describes why the study is significant, poses specific research questions, shares the definitions of technical terminology and makes clear the assumptions upon which the study will be based. Limitations and/or delimitations of the proposed study should also be introduced.
Chapter 2 – Literature Review. Relevant research on the topic should be presented from original sources.. This chapter should be summarized with statements regarding what is known and what is yet to be known. Confirmation of the importance of the study should be included in the summary.
Chapter 3 – Methodology. Here the study design should be described in detail, including the rationale for research approaches and instruments selected. Original research questions are often converted to primary and subsidiary hypotheses at this point. Sampling, participant descriptions, and how the data will be analyzed should all be considered.
Chapter 4 – Results. Research findings should be presented in detail. In quantitative studies, data is often presented in table form. Issues with the data or analytic approaches should be identified. The results should be summarized.
Chapter 5 – Discussion. In the final chapter, after a quick summary of the research approach, the results are discussed in detail in terms of the hypotheses and original research questions are answered. Limitations are described and implications for practitioners and theory are considered. Recommendations for future research are provided and final conclusions are drawn.
End Matter – Includes a comprehensive list of references, and any necessary appendices.
Guidelines for Submittal and Approval of a Thesis
The format, style and deadlines for a thesis must follow SFSU Graduate Studies policies and dates. The student must make an oral presentation (defense) of the thesis to the culminating experience committee (CEC) prior to it being considered for acceptance. Once the thesis has been approved by the CEC it is submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies. A bound copy of the thesis and pdf file are given to student's advisor and RPT Department, after Graduate Studies approves it. The Department strongly encourages presentation of the thesis findings at a professional conference.
II. Components of a Professional Paper
A student who has selected RPT 895 Applied Research Project must write a "professional paper" about the trend or movement that is represented by the subject of their project, present the project and in the final chapter discuss how the project integrates into and is related to the trend or movement. The Paper must adheres to Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism policies. The student should have reviewed the webpage discussing the Applied Research Project culminating experience option. A summary of the professional paper components and differences between it and a thesis are as follows:
The elements of a professional paper are essentially the same as in a thesis with more emphasis placed in certain areas. Front Matter – Includes a title page, notice of copyright (optional), committee recommendation and signatures, abstract, acknowledgment (optional), table of contents and list of figures and tables. The abstract should be 1 page in length and up to 350 words.
.Chapter 1, Introduction, what is the regional, national or international trend, movement or phenomena that is represented by the subject of your project, a description of your project, how is the project related to the trend or movement, how will the project assist your selected organization. There is an emphasis on the organization, project goals, and the professional paper, as opposed to theoretical research questions, but it must also describe the "big picture" trend or movement. In Chapter 2, Literature Review, there must still be an extensive review of both relevant scholarly and professional literature of the trend or movement, as well as references to your specific project topic. A good example of a scholarly journal that has more of an applied focus is the Journal of Parks and Recreation Administration. The literature review cannot be limited to just professional or unpublished sources. In Chapter 3, Methodology, there may or may not be extensive use of statistics and analyses which vary with the type of project. In the Methodology chapter there must always be an evaluation component to objectively identify how the effectiveness of the project will be determined. Chapter 4, Results, must be a detailed presentation of the results of your project. In Chapter 5, Discussion, there is more focus on describing the effectiveness of the project for the organization, but there must also be discussion of how the project findings related to the trend or movement described earlier, how it advances the state of knowledge on the topic, trend or movement, how it may apply in other settings and future research. End Matter – Includes a comprehensive list of references, and any necessary appendices.
The student's advisor will help guide them in the appropriate direction, formatting and topic questions..
Guidelines for Submittal and Approval of Professional Paper
The total length of the professional paper will likely be similar to that of a thesis. The professional paper must follow SFSU thesis format and style guidelines. Prior to the CEC considering acceptance of the professional paper, the student must make an oral presentation (defense) of the paper to the culminating experience committee, following the same procedures as in a thesis. A bound copy must be provided to the Department and one to the student advisor and agency representative, after it is approved by the CEC. Submittal deadlines are the same as for a thesis, but the final bound copy will be turned into your advisor or the RPT graduate coordinator, not SFSU Graduate Studies. The Department strongly encourages presentation of the findings from an Applied Research Project at a professional conference.
(1) Sections of the guidelines were taken from: Peru State College Graduate Programs. Guidelines for Completing a Thesis. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2008, from www.peru.edu/graduate/docs/thesis_guidelines.pdf.