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PSYC 501
Janet L Menard

PSYCHOLOGY 501 GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS AND SUPERVISORS September 2013 Course Coordinators Section A Section B Dr Janet Menard Dr Wendy Craig Office: Craine 431 Office: Craine 221 Phone: 613-533-3099 Phone: 613-533-6014 Email: [email protected] Email: [email protected] Teaching Assistant Jessica Lougheed Office: Craine 209 Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:00 am – 10:00 am Email: [email protected] Undergraduate Assistant Ms. Allison Horwood Office : HH 225 Phone: 613-533-2493 Email: [email protected] 1 Course Outline Mandatory Seminars for 501 Monday classes: 1:00-2:30 Wednesday classes: 11:30-1:00 Date Topic Location Monday September 9 Introduction to 501 Both Sections in Hum 223 Proposal Requirements Monday September 16 Proposal; Ethics and Subject Hum 223 Section A Pool Wednesday September 18 Proposal; Ethics and Subject Hum 223 Section B Pool Monday September 23 Guest speaker on Animal Hum 223 Mandatory for students Research Ethics; Information conducting animal research, on Animal Research Ethics others welcome form Friday October 11: ALL THESIS PROPOSALS DUE Monday October 21 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Wednesday October 23 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Monday October 28 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Wednesday October 30 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Monday November 4 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Wednesday November 6 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Monday November 11 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Wednesday November 13 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Monday November 18 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Wednesday November 20 Proposal Presentations Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Monday November 25 TBA Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Wednesday November 27 TBA Section A Hum 131 Section B Hum 223 Monday, February 10 Stats Review Section A in Hum 223 Wednesday February 12 Stats Review Section B in Hum 223 Monday, March 3 Thesis Defense Information Section A in Hum 223 Formatting the thesis Wednesday March 5 Thesis Defense Information Section B in Hum 223 Formatting the thesis 2 Please read this material carefully. Save it for later reference - you should reread sections later as you proceed through the stages of your thesis. Throughout this document, we will refer to “your course coordinator”. If you are in Section A, your course coordinator is Dr. Menard. If you are in Section B, your course coordinator is Dr. Craig. We will be meeting regularly for the first two weeks of classes. It is your responsibility to keep your course coordinator informed about your supervisor and proposed topic. Email has proven to be the most effective way to distribute information to the class, but it may take some time before we have complete and accurate lists. Remember to check your Queen’s e-mail regularly, and be sure that your mailbox is not full. If you do not receive any text messages in the first few weeks of the term, you should check with Ms. Allison Horwood in the Undergraduate Office or your Course Coordinator to ensure that we have your correct e-address in our database. We prefer that you use your university-based account for all e-mail correspondence pertaining to this course. Please take notice of the PSYC 501 board outside the Undergraduate Office (Humphrey 225). The bulletin board is also where you will find material on things such as graduate fellowships and applications, etc. Please remember to check this board regularly. Preface These Guidelines have been prepared to help you negotiate your way through the course with a minimum of stress and confusion. You should study them before you begin work on your thesis, and consult the appropriate sections as you move through the year. Students usually find that there is a great deal for them to learn in the course because, for most of you this will be your first experience in carrying a research project through all of its stages. Learning how to do this presents great opportunities, but also challenges. It is important that you are aware that not only must you complete your thesis successfully, but you must also do so within some fairly stringent and unavoidable time constraints. The deadlines are unavoidable because all of the work, (including formulation of the research plan, gathering the data, analysis of the results and preparation of the written report, and the examination), must be completed in time to allow submission of marks to the Faculty Office in the first week of May. As a result, you not only have a great deal to learn but you also have to do it on a fairly tight schedule. Remember that the marks deadline for graduates is tighter than for other students, because marks not only have to be recorded but also must be used to calculate eligibility for graduation and class of degree. If you expect to graduate at the end of the academic year there is very little leeway -- should you become delayed, you seriously jeopardize your chance of graduating on schedule. Moreover, you will find that most stages of your research take considerably more time (about 3 times more!) than you might anticipate. Once you fall behind it is very difficult to catch up. Thus, over the years strict deadlines have been established in order to keep students on track. Adherence to the schedule is very much in your best interest, as it is established to facilitate completion of your thesis work on time. Finally, you should know that the resources available for this course are substantially lower now than in the past; so, there will be fewer people to help if you fall behind, and little slack in schedules for such things as proposal orals. In addition to your course coordinator, Jessica Lougheed (graduate student) is the teaching assistant for this course. Remember that we are here to assist you in making your thesis a rewarding and educational experience. If you have problems or questions, your first resource should be your supervisor, but if he/she can't answer or help in every way necessary, do not hesitate to consult us - the sooner the better! It is important and in your best interest that you let your supervisor know of your 3 progress regularly; problems can and do arise, and can be handled far more easily if there is advanced warning. Outline The purpose of this course is to give students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills in psychological research. Specifically, we require students to: • Recognize and develop a research problem, formulate this problem in a testable way, and incorporate it into a written proposal; • Design and carry out an empirical investigation of the research problem, under faculty supervision; • Report on the results of the investigation both by writing a brief thesis (less than 50 pages) and completing an examination on the written thesis submitted. Thus, the work involved in this course falls into a number of stages that must be completed in order. It is strongly recommended that you and your supervisor discuss and agree on a timetable for completion of each stage. The following sections give more information on each. Stage 1: Preparing and Submitting a Research Proposal The first critical task is to confirm that you have a thesis supervisor. As far as we know, all students linked up with a supervisor, either last term or during the summer. Even if you believe that you already have an arrangement, you should contact your supervisor and confirm your arrangement before the end of the first week of the term. Make sure that you have a clear and explicit understanding with the potential supervisor that he/she has agreed to supervise you and also agreed on the topic. Should you find that you do need a supervisor, you should contact your course coordinator immediately. At this point, almost all supervisors are already committed and the selection is therefore extremely limited. We do not have firm rules on what sort of problem constitutes a valid topic for a thesis, other than the restriction that the thesis must be empirical; that is, you must deal with data at some level. If you would prefer to do library research instead, then you probably would be better off taking a series of seminars rather than Psyc 501. In the past few years, some archival studies, in which students did not actually collect the data they used, have been allowed. However, by their very nature, archival studies are different than projects where students collect the data themselves. If you are contemplating a project that might be regarded as archival, you and your supervisor should consider that examiners will take the following criteria into account: 1. significance of the research; 2. intellectual input of the student; 3. quality of the write-up; 4. effort expended in data analysis. In some circumstances, a group of students may each conduct parts of a larger investigation, as occurs in the sorts of collaborative research in many labs. For example, students may use different experimental manipulations but share control groups. This is acceptable, but we do require that each thesis constitute work that is unique and substantially the student's own. The above evaluation criteria apply here as well. Samples from unusual populations (such as prisoners, infants, school children, etc.) are interesting to work with but have been associated in the past with two major problems: (a) ethical 4 clearance to work with such groups is more difficult to obtain and can cause unacceptable delays; (b) some students have had samples from such populations "arranged" only to be told they must wait (in some cases months) before starting, or even finding that the sample or access to it was no longer available at all. If you want to work with such populations, we strongly suggest that you consider your decision very carefully. If you decide to try it, an early start is particularly important and you should be prepared for some delays. You should also have a contingency plan for salvaging a thesis if (when) disaster strikes. If you are considering work with such a population, please consult with your course coordinator to review your plan and get their advice on the feasibility of the project, as soon as possible. After choosing the problem, you have several weeks in which to generate a clear and definite proposal for your research project. This is done in close consultation with your supervisor, and ordinarily takes several revisions before submission to your course coordinator. Proposals should be no more than 10 double-spaced pages, including tables and figures, but excluding references or attachments such as questionnaires to be used. They must contain adequate information for a judgment to be made on the rationale, methodology and proposed analysis of results. Your supervisor must read and fully approve the proposal (by signing the title page). You must cc’ your supervisor on the email when you submit your proposal as an indication of their approval. The specific format used to write the proposal is available on Moodle. Please note that students may NOT start data collection without Psyc 501 ethics clearance. However, if students and supervisors wish to start collecting data early in the term, they may submit their proposal any time after the first day of classes in the Fall to your course coordinator. Please note that every student will be randomly assigned a time to orally present their proposal to other students in the seminar to which he or she will be assigned. The seminars take place during the second half of the Fall term (see below). As part of your proposal and in consultation with your supervisor, you should provide an estimate, broken down by major tasks (e.g., planning the research project, proposal write- up, subject recruitment, data collection, data analysis, thesis write-up, etc.) of the number of hours your anticipate spending on your thesis. A final estimate of the average number of hours/week calculated over the entire year should be included at the end of this section. This figure helps your supervisor and the coordinators ensure that you will be doing an appropriate amount of work in this course. Because Psyc 501 is considered to be equivalent to 1.5 courses, and each course should take 7.5 hours/week, you should be spending approximately 90 hours per semester on your thesis as a general guideline. Of course, the number of hours will vary throughout the year (i.e. writing and analysis will take more time than preparing your presentation). Students are expected to complete ethics training. For students who are working with animals, you will complete three mandatory courses: WHIMIS, the Online Animal Research Ethics course and the Departmental Animal Care Seminar (with Lisa Wilbourforce). Please contact Lisa Wilbourforce ([email protected]; 613-533-6016) if you are doing animal research and she will provide further information on the mandatory courses. All other students will complete the Tri-Council’s online ethics module. This module takes a total of approximately two-four hours to complete. You need not complete the module in one sitting, as you are able to save frequently and return to the module when you are able. A confirmation page will appear when you have successfully completed the module. You are required to include this page in your proposal. 5 The module is available here: We suggest that you ask your supervisor for some examples of previously accepted proposals in your area. Examples of well-written proposals from recent years will also be posted on Moodle. Previous theses provide the best guides to the form and content of work that has been found acceptable by the Department in the past. Not all prior work is of equal quality, however, so you should consult with your supervisor for recommendations on a good choice of examples in your area. Once you and your supervisor are both satisfied with your proposal, you should email a copy to [email protected] NO LATER than 5:00 p.m. on October 11, 2010. You must also carbon copy (cc) this email to your supervisor. PLEASE SEE THE 501-PROPOSAL CHECKLIST (AVAILABLE ON MOODLE) AND THE THESIS PROPOSAL AND ETHICS HANDOUT (AVAILABLE ON MOODLE) FOR SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL AND WHAT TO INCLUDE WITH YOUR SUBMISSION. Given the size of the class, the TA will not read any drafts of your proposal. This is your supervisor’s responsibility. Once your proposal and ethics package are approved by Psyc 501 ethics committee, the Ethics package will be passed along to the Chair of the Psychology REB for final Ethics Approval. You will be notified be email when your proposal has been cleared and you are permitted to start your data collection. You CANNOT collect data until the course coordinator has explicitly granted permission, which is contingent on successful clearance of ethics and an accepted proposal. Should a change in the proposal become necessary after the initial approval, it is both the student's and the supervisor's responsibility to obtain written approval from the course Coordinators for changes. Note that trivial changes, such as the wording of instructions, do not need approval, but any substantive changes (e.g., that substantially change the research design or the amount of work involved) should be submitted for approval. Your thesis might be unacceptable if you bypass this procedure, so check in doubtful cases. This applies especially to changes that involve the treatment of subjects, and might therefore have ethical implications. In cases such as these, Letter of Information etc might need to be changed and ethics clearance needs to be confirmed. Stage 2: Seminars: Research Proposal Presentations The seminars for the supervisor-approved research proposal presentations will start on Monday, October 21 for Dr. Menard’s section and Wednesday October 16 for Dr. Craig. As part of the course, all students are required to attend the section to which they have been assigned (see PowerPoint from the Introductory Class). These seminars allow students to learn from each other how to deal with a variety of different research problems. You can only do one thesis yourself, but while you are developing your own ideas it can be very instructive to learn about the problems faced by your peers and to see how they approach solutions. The seminars also allow discussion of some issues in common, such as the ethics of research. How your peers handle the questions they receive during the seminars will be invaluable experience for your own defense in April. The class is split into two sections (Section A and Section B). Within those sections, there are two subsections: Section A will attend the Mond
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