CA797 Thesis Design and Research

for F1P 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


CA 797 Thesis Design and Research


F1P 2012 MCB


Dr. J. E. Aitken


Professor, Communication Arts, Park University


BA Communication Theory
MA Curriculum and Leadership; MA Speech
EdD Higher Education and Communication

Office Location

None, distance location (Eastern Time)

Office Hours

By appointment, but I'm often available M, W, Th, AM

Daytime Phone

Phone number is in eCollege contact information, at the bottom of non-eCollege emails, and in

Other Phone

FAX: 877-334-1737


Web Page

Class Days


Class Time



You will want to have half the courses for your program complete.

Credit Hours



The Style Manual for the Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership

APA (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


READ and KNOW American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Requirements for this program:


Expectations of ethical behaviors pp. 11-20.

Compliance checklist p. 20.

Complying With Ethical, Legal, and Policy Requirements, p. 231-236.

Crediting Sources pp. 169-174.

Self-plagiarism, pp. 16, 29, 170.


For additional information about ethical expectations, see


Dr. A's writing expectations:

Heffner, (2003). Research methods. All Psych Online. 

There are few areas in education that are covered on the Internet as well as research, so you may find this choice most helpful. Many of the test questions come from Heffner, which is totally available online.

Additional online books about research
, which you may help you in this course (from )
Air University Sampling and Surveying Handbook

Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology: Building a Bridge Between Disciplines: Report of the Advanced Research Seminar on Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology [online book]

Evaluation Cookbook

Know Your Audience: a Practical Guide to Audience Research

Listener Survey Toolkit

The Little Handbook of Statistical Practice, by Gerard E. Dallal

Marketing Research and Information Systems
, by I.M. Crawford

Methods in Behavioral Research, by Paul C. Cozby [site includes support materials, but not complete text]

The Qualitative Methods Workbook, by David W. Stockburger

Questionnaire Design and Analysis Activities, by Allison Galloway

Questionnaire Design and Analysis: A Workbook by Alison Galloway [excellent source]

Research Methods, 3rd edition, by Anthony M. Graziano and Michael L. Raulin [site includes support materials, but not complete text]

Research Methods Knowledge Base by William M. Trochim [excellent source]

Sampling: A Workbook, by Alison Galloway

Simple Data Measurement: A Workbook, by Alison Galloway

Six Phases of the Research Process, by Marion Joppe

The Whole Art of Deduction: Research Skills for Allied Health Scientists by Rodger Marion

Additional Resources:


See Department Guidelines for Thesis Requirements.


DEPT. & PARK RULES. The student has the responsibility of finding out and following departmental and Park University rules. You will find those in the graduate catalog. Your advisor cannot over-ride departmental or university rules. The department and university requirements supersede faculty requirements.


GRADUATE RECORD EXAM (GRE).  Park University requires that you complete the GRE and submit your scores to the Graduate School.  You cannot graduate from the program without completing this step. See


COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS. The department or university requires separate comprehensive exams of students who complete a project.  These need to be PASSED at least 8 weeks prior to graduation.  Ask three faculty--probably your committee--to submit questions to Dr. Cohn.  When you are ready to take the exam, you contact Dr. Cohn to schedule the test.  You will have 24 hours to write.  You can use any books or materials, but you canNOT use help from any person.  Here is Dr. Aitken's information about comps


APPLICATION FOR GRADUATION.  Go to the Park website, find and complete the online form (Application for Graduation), and pay fees for graduation.

August Completion or December Commencement Deadline: April 1

 May Commencement Deadline: November 1


THESIS OR PROJECT? The thesis should be original research that makes a contribution to the learning in the field.  The thesis will be bound and made available to the general public through the library.


TOPIC. Select a topic you love, which you have been studying in the program so far. The topic must relate to human communication or leadership.


COMMITTEE. You will present your thesis and defend your work, perhaps with other enrolled students during a meeting set up by the department.  This meeting can be conducted by teleconferencing for distance students.


Your thesis needs to be completed and your committee needs to be on-board .

The Master’s Thesis will address an appropriately phrased research question of interest to the student. The student may seek to answer a question through one of the following.

1. A strategy for solving a specific communication problem
2. A communication environment
3. An investigation of theoretical or experimental issues
4. Test of a specified hypothesis
5. A case study of an organization
6. A quantitative, experimental study
7. A qualitative analysis of some texts
8. Field research and analysis of observations made
9. A historical study of some “communication events” or person(s)
10. A critical analysis of some “communication events” or texts
11. A theoretical essay, critiquing current theory and/ or directed towards developing new theory
12. A theoretically informed and data-driven case study of some “communication problem” and interventions attempting to solve it
13. A theoretically informed and data-driven proposal for a new curriculum or training program to meet a specific need

The subject of study may come from two general sources:

1. The communication environment, with which the student has first-hand experience.

2. A traditional research investigation of a particular aspect of corporate or organizational communication or leadership.In some cases, the subject may be a combination of the two sources.


McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
CA 797 Thesis Design and Research: With the approval of the Program Director, interested and capable students may elect the Thesis Option to satisfy degree requirements. The six credit hour Thesis Option provides students with the opportunity to explore a topic of interest through as in-depth research project. Students electing the Thesis Option shall adhere to the requirements set forth in the Graduate Schools Thesis Standards and Procedures manual. Variable credit: 1-3 hrs. may be repeated: must total 5 hrs. (Permission Required). The Thesis will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis and requires an oral defense.

Class Assessment:


Term 1: 100% of the thesis grade is based on the advisor's evaluation of the proposal/project submitted by week 5 and revised and approved by faculty.


Term 2: 100% of the project/thesis grade is based on the advisor and committee decision on the quality of the final proposal submitted to the department/graduate school week 5 of term 2.

Scan the signed form and send it via email to the Director of the MA program, the Director of the Graduate School, and the Registrar.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Take care of all application and graduation requirements.

The proposal must be submitted to the committee by the end of term one.

Prior to the final term, make sure you have completed everything you need--and have your committee's agreement with your thesis--IN ADVANCE of the final term of enrollment.

If you do not complete the thesis on time, you will have to pay for and enroll in one additional credit hour each term until the thesis is complete. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Page 21-22


Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2011-2012 Graduate Catalog Page 21

Attendance Policy:

Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools. Park University 2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Page 26

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:7/28/2012 4:06:47 PM