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One-project Option


Each student will form a Comprehensive Exam Committee that is comprised of their advisor and two other faculty members from the program. In the One-project Option Comprehensive Exam, students complete all aspects of a small-scale empirical research study—the Pilot Research Project—including research design, literature support, original data collection and analysis and producing a written manuscript of publishable quality. (This is similar to the Control of Research document in the Two-project option, but the Pilot Research Project includes full data collection and analysis.) Students must pass both the written portion (the manuscript) and the oral portion (the committee defense) of the project in order to pass the comprehensive exam.
As part of the process of completing the One-project Option, the following process elements are included:
  • A short problem statement and a set of research questions regarding an area of research for their research proposal. This will be submitted at least two weeks prior to the first meeting with their committee. At that meeting, the committee provides feedback on the problem statement and research question and gives the green light to move forward with the project. The suggested timeline for this meeting is during the semester in which the student will complete 18 semester hours.
  • An annotated bibliography of the sources reviewed for eventual use in the final paper. This is a process step and feedback about the appropriateness of the breadth and depth of the sources reviewed can be provided by the student’s advisor. The suggested timeline for this is at the completion of 18 semester hours.
  • Construction of a research question(s); suggested timeline is between 18-27 semester hours.
  • Construction of a research design; suggested timeline is between 18-27 semester hours.
  • Collection of data appropriate for a small scale pilot research project; suggested timeline is between 27-36 semester hours, depending on the project.
  • Analysis of data; suggested timeline is by the completion of 36 semester hours, depending on the project.
The elements of the final Pilot Research Project document are outlined in the table below:

An Organizational Suggestion for :
One-project Option, Pilot Research Project

See APA Publication Manual, 6th Edition, for a description of Manuscript Elements that can provide additional information to that provided below.

1)      APA title page
This is a separate page with the running head, title, author’s name, author’s affiliation
2)      Abstract
A brief summary of the contents of the article, between 200-250 words.
3)      Introduction
Presents the specific problem being studied and describes the research strategy.  Includes:
 i)            problem statement
ii)            purpose of the study
4)      Theoretical Framework
This section describes the paradigm within which you are undertaking the study; the “lens” through which you view and understand the phenomena.
5)      Review of the Literature
This is not an exhaustive review of all literature related to your study, but rather connects your study to other research historically/traditionally in a way that gives proper credit to work that has gone before and in a way that sets the stage for this study. The review should include limitations of the literature, especially in terms of the current research base.
6)      Research Question(s)
The specific research foci of this study, that the data analysis will inform.
7)      Research Design
i)             Methods
This section describes how the study was conducted, and should provide enough information to allow another research to replicate your study. Depending on how you format your research design section, the Methods section could be an overview or a statement/description of the methodological frame.
ii)            Participants
This is a thorough description of the participants in your study, including demographic and other aspects important to the study, and important to understanding who the participants are in general. Sampling procedures, participant requirements, and other characteristics should be included, as appropriate for your study.
iii)           Instrumentation
This is a description of the research tools used to collect and analyze your data.
iv)           Data Collection
As appropriate for your study, this section is a description of methods you used to collect data, issues that presented themselves during data collection, and other aspects centering on collecting the data.
v)            Data Analysis
This section is a description of data analysis procedures, timelines, and other issues related to data analysis.
8)      Results
Summarize the data you collected and your analysis of those data in a way that bridges the data analysis part of the previous section and the discussion that follows this section. Data results should be presented in a manner that allows justification of your conclusions. Including categorization of results by your research questions and sub-questions is one check that you have included pertinent information here.
9)      Discussion
In this section you will evaluate and interpret the data you collected and analyzed, en route to forming a conclusion. Your research questions should be explicitly referred to. Include examination, interpretation, and qualification of your results, and inferences and conclusions you can make. Include the significance of the study.
10)   Limitations of the Study
In this section you will explicitly state any limitations of data collection, population sample, methods or other aspect of the study.
11)   References 
Provide a full APA formatted reference section for each reference cited in the body of the paper.
12)   Appendices
This section includes any materials that are too large or otherwise inappropriate for the body of the paper.
After completing the Pilot Research Project document, the student submits the document to their committee a minimum of two weeks before the oral defense of the document is scheduled. 
At the conclusion of the oral defense of the Pilot Research Project document, there are three decisions the committee can choose:
1. Accept
2. Accept with Minor Revisions—advisor signs off
3. Reject with Re-write—another committee hearing
4. Fail (after #3)

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