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Scholarly Project and Thesis Guidelines for the MSON Graduate Nursing Programs

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009

Table of Contents

Introduction.......................................................................................3 Course Descriptions..............................................................................3 Project Options: Thesis.........................................................................3-4 Project Options: Scholarly Project...........................................................4-7 Procedures for the Scholarly Project or Thesis............................................8-10 Human Subject's Approval and Project Implementation...............................10 Oral Defense Procedure (Thesis Only)......................................................10 Format of Quantitative Thesis or Written Scholarly Project...........................10-11 Format for a Qualitative Thesis or Research Project.....................................11 MSON Graduate Project Information Form...............................................12

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


Introduction All master's degree students enrolled in the McAuley School of Nursing (MSON) at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) complete a scholarly project as partial fulfillment of requirements for the master of science in nursing (MSN) degree. The student may choose from several options for completion of this project but the common element is the examination of evidence in relation to a particular issue relevant to the degree. The purpose is to enable students to meet program objectives through development of an appreciation of the interrelations between theory, research and practice in nursing. Throughout the master's degree program, students develop scholarly thinking and behavior culminating in a project guided by a faculty advisor. Course Descriptions NUR 592 Scholarly Project (2 credits Requires permission of advisor) The scholarly project provides the student with an opportunity to complete a mentored project in clinical practice, education, management, field research, faculty research projects or grant development. Examples of projects include teaching project, quality improvement project, protocol development, or manuscript development submitted for publication. This may be done as a group project. The project includes a written component or public presentation which is negotiated with the advisor. NUR 599 Master' Thesis (3 credits. Requires permission of advisor) s With this option, the student identifies an original research problem which is feasible and worthwhile to study and utilize all the steps of the research process. The decision to choose the thesis option should be done in conjunction with the student's academic advisor or program chair, with whom the student can discuss the appropriateness of the option. The master's thesis can not be done as a group project. Project Options: Thesis Thesis This option involves the use of existing data or development of an original research project under a faculty member's guidance to prepare a data based report. All the steps of the research process are used: problem statement, review of the literature, hypotheses (in quantitative studies) and/or research questions, data collection and analysis. A thesis may be quantitative or qualitative in methodology. A quantitative thesis begins with a problem statement, followed by hypotheses or research questions, literature review, study design, data collection and analysis to support or negate the hypotheses or answer the research question(s). Finally, the implications of the results are discussed and the researcher makes recommendations for future research.

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


A qualitative thesis begins with a problem statement and research questions about the phenomenon to be explored. Sequencing of the literature review, study design, data collection, and analysis vary according to the qualitative method. Qualitative studies focus on identifying themes and patterns in the data rather than on statistical analysis. Qualitative studies also involve discussion of results and recommendations for future research. In either a quantitative or qualitative study, the literature review will reflect an extensive in-depth analysis and synthesis of pertinent research organized into a cohesive document. Students may select a theoretical or conceptual framework on which to base their study and interpret the results within that framework. The thesis option involves selection of a committee consisting of a chairperson and at least two additional committee members mutually selected by the student and the chairperson. Project Options: Scholarly Project 1. A Scholarly Manuscript The specific focus of the manuscript is scholarly writing on a research, clinical, or professional topic related to advanced nursing practice. The topic must be an issue relevant to the student's program and one that will contribute to the knowledge of advanced nursing practice. The guidelines in completing this requirement are as follows: a. Generate an idea for a paper topic and select a journal(s) that might be interested in the topic. b. Obtain author guidelines from the selected journal(s). c. Meet with the faculty advisor and set a timeline for completion of the manuscript requirements through to guideline "k". d. Collect and analyze the literature related to the topic. e. Develop an outline of the paper. f. Write the first draft with a focus on presenting and organizing the content. g. Tables are essential in the manuscript preparation if including detailed information and numeric values. h. Write the second draft with references, completing revisions (using faculty feedback from draft #1) and formatting the paper for the journal intended. The length and format are determined by the author's guidelines of the journal selected. i. Complete final revisions (using faculty feedback from draft #2). Submit final paper. j. Send to the journal for review. k. Submit proof of submission to the journal to the faculty advisor.

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


2. Field Research Project The master's field research project may involve a research problem identified by the student or it may involve student participation in some existing faculty and/or agency research projects. Students should be involved in all the steps of the research process: problem statement, review of the literature, hypotheses, study design, data collection and analysis. A field research project involves application of the research process to a health or health organization problem and solutions or to a nursing education issue and possible solutions. 3. Mentored research Experience This scholarly project provides the student with the opportunity to participate in a mentored research experience. The student will actively participate in a research project throughout all current applicable phases of the project such as the problem statement development, review of the literature, hypotheses formation, proposal writing, study design, data collection, data analysis, and result reporting. A portfolio, paper, or poster is a presentation of those outcomes. a. There is a Chairperson who is on faculty at UDM for this experience. b. The student identifies a project to work on, which must be approved by the Chairperson. The project may involve a research problem identified by the student or it may involve student participation in some existing project. Examples of projects include: a research project at a clinical agency, faculty research project, teaching or educational program for a clinical agency, a study replication, development of a toolbox. c. Once the project has been approved, the student submits a set of objectives which are developed to meet their own learning needs. d. The objectives must be approved by the Chairperson and should be shared with any other party to the project. e. The project should include a brief introduction and review of the literature (approximately 5 pages), which succinctly describes the topic and any substantive evidence. f. A reference list should be included. g. The student should identify the activities and strategies that will be used to meet each of the objectives. For example, if an objective is to "Develop experience related to IRB approval," there should be some activity identified to support that activity. h. The portfolio, paper, or poster then provides the evidence of how the student met the objectives.

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


4. Policy development or Analysis. a. Organizational/Institutional Studies: Conduct organizational or institutional studies and prepare a scholarly written report, such as needs assessment, program evaluation, analysis or organizational data. b. Policy Initiatives: Develop a research-based position paper aimed at changing a specific policy or policies. This must be aimed at the appropriate group of policy makers to effectively promote change. This can be a part of an overall plannedchange project. 5. Program Development/Evaluation Project Guidelines a. Identify a setting and a program need in that setting. Obtain proper permission for implementation of your program. b. State the nature of the problem, and provide background on the problem from the literature. c. Describe the purpose and goal(s) of the program and what outcome(s) is the program is being designed to achieve d. Discuss the program design. Describe the theoretical framework that guides your program design. e. Summarize the implementation plan for the program. f. Describe the evaluation plan (How will you know the program is working?) g. Implement the program. h. Report on the program implementation, including what went well, problems, and lessons learned. i. Evaluate the program ­ were the identified program outcomes achieved? j. Your program development/evaluation project report can take the form of a written report, portfolio, or poster presentation, but should include the elements above. 6. Quality Improvement Project Guidelines a. Identify a quality improvement (QI) project at your place of employment or at another suitable site (such as the McAuley Nurse Managed Center). *Note: the project cannot be part of your normal job responsibilities. b. Discuss the project with your Scholarly Project Advisor and submit a timeline to your advisor within the first week of your meeting. c. Describe the problem that needs improvement. Include any supporting literature [including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) website] that describes this problem in healthcare. d. Identify QI team members and their roles in the improvement. e. Utilize the Method for Improvement found on the IHI website: f. Establish specific aims for the project, including time frame and target for change.

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


g. Identify the measures you will use to determine if the change is an improvement. Be sure to collect data before the change so that you will be able to tell if improvement has occurred. h. Select the changes that you plan to test for the improvement. You should utilize tools such as a process map and a cause-effect (fishbone) diagram to support your change selection. i. Test the changes (generally small scale) using the Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle and report your results. Results should be in the form of a run chart, including measures before and after the change. Try further changes if your initial change does not result in improvement. j. Implement the changes on a broader scale. Develop a process map that shows the new process and describe how you will make the changes permanent. k. Your QI scholarly project can be reported in the form of a written report, a portfolio, or a poster presentation, but should include all of the elements above. 7. Other Options Any other project of interest to the student that is related to significant clinical, theoretical, management, education, or policy topics may be approved by the faculty advisor. All projects are to demonstrate a scholarly emphasis and format. Projects are to include a clear statement of a problem and a critical literature review as a part of the product.

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


Procedures for the Scholarly Project or Thesis SELECTION OF TOPIC, OPTION, AND COMMITTEE CHAIR 1. Choosing a topic Upon acceptance into the program, students should be thinking about the graduate options available in their program. Possible topics should be explored and considered. As students begin to formulate a topic of interest and become more familiar with various faculty, it will be necessary to consider committee chairs for their graduate project. The academic advisor should be helpful in providing guidance during this early developmental period by directing students to potential chairpersons and committee members. In the early phase of selecting a topic, students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with advisors or faculty. Students can also contact potential committee chairpersons by sending a brief query letter or e-mail to determine if the student' idea is within the chair' area of interest s s and expertise (see #3 below). Speaking with senior students who are immersed in their graduate projects and are able to give helpful information is also recommended. 2. Prerequisites Before deciding on a topic and a methodology, certain prerequisite courses should be taken namely, statistics and research methods. Note that programs may have different course requirements or accept previously taken courses. Prerequisites may vary depending upon the type of project a student chooses. For example, if a student chooses a research project, the Research Methods (HLH 550) course would be required in order to prepare the student in the research and scholarly project process and help focus the student on a topic area. On the other hand, if a student chooses a quality improvement project as part of the HSM or CNL program, NUR 512 or NUR 582 may be required. Advisors will clarify questions in this regard. For students enrolled in HLH 550, chapters completed for grades in HLH 550 are not to be considered the final drafts of the graduate project paper, even if the topic is the same. 3. Choosing a Committee Chair Students will discuss their interests and share an outline of their topic and option with potential committee chairs, who must be full time faculty in the College of Health Professions. Students will also ask the faculty of their choice to serve in that capacity. The chair must possess a masters or higher degree and have experience in the type of study to be undertaken. For example, a faculty member who has not carried out original research or served on a number of student committees might be inappropriate to act as committee chair. Once the committee chair is selected the program chair shall be notified of the option of choice using MSON Graduate Project Information Form. Students should refer to the Faculty Research/Scholarly Project Interests guide available (online or from program chairs) to identify faculty who might serve as chair.

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


4. Choosing committee members (Thesis option only) After a committee chairperson is selected and the proposed outline approved, the student selects committee members with the advice and approval of the chair. The membership should include persons with expertise in the content area and in the methodology selected. For the thesis the minimum is three committee members (including chair). Committee members may be external to the College of Health Professions. 5. Group Project Students may choose to work in groups for all projects except the thesis. There may be no more than three students per group. It is expected that each student will actively participate in every step of the process and assume responsibility for adhering to the ethical principles of collaboration and scholarly conduct. It is suggested that mechanisms for peer review are incorporated in the grading process. A student who wishes to withdraw from, or join an established team may only do so after permission is secured from the committee chair. An updated Graduate Project information form must be submitted to the program Chair. 6. Implementation of the scholarly project The student is required to communicate regularly (at least 1-2 times a semester) with the committee chair throughout the project process for encouragement, documentation of progress, and guidance. 7. Continuing progress toward completion of the scholarly project/master's thesis. It is recognized that a student may not complete their scholarly project or thesis the semester they register for it. In the event a project is not completed, the student must make an appointment with their chair and submit a brief summary of their progress and goals for continuing implementation. If there is satisfactory progression, the grade of "S" is submitted. If there is not satisfactory progress a grade of "U" will be submitted. A grade of "U" denotes unsatisfactory progress and places the student at risk for disciplinary procedures as described in the MSON Graduate Student Handbook. Once the project is completed the grade will convert to a "P/F". It is expected that students will complete all requirements for the scholarly project by the end of the semester in which they complete all program requirements. If the project is not completed within a six-week time of the completion of the last semester in which they are enrolled in classes the following will apply: 1. The student must enroll for a scholarly project or thesis credit for audit the following semester. They will incur the cost of tuition for that credit. The student is expected to complete the project during that semester. 2. If the student does not complete the project during the semester in which they have registered for the audit credit, they must register for an additional audit credit of scholarly project or master's thesis. If the project is not completed by the end of that semester, the grade will convert to "F".

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


The "F" grade will constitute a failure and the student is subject to dismissal. The guidelines for dismissal can be reviewed in the Graduate Nursing Handbook HUMAN SUBJECT'S APPROVAL AND PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION The student may not proceed with any subject recruitment or data collection until Human Subject' Approval has been obtained from the UDM IRB. (Note: Additional IRB review may s be required by agencies at which data will be collected. IRB issues should be discussed with the committee chair.) The student' committee will determine whether the project should be submitted to full IRB s review, expedited review, or petition for exemption. The student will prepare an application for approval from the UDM Institutional Review Board (IRB) to assure that the rights of the research subjects are protected (often referred to as the Human Subject' Review Process). Forms s for IRB submission are available online through OSPRA (Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Administration). Students must fulfill as the requirements stipulated by the UDM IRB and/or agency IRB prior to the implementation of your project. A copy of IRB approval must be submitted to your Chair. Your project chair can help you access this information. Oral Defense Procedure (Thesis Only) Demonstration of the student's knowledge of the material in question and the importance of his/her study in a public forum is an important part in demonstrating professional capability which the degree to be awarded acclaims. The following procedure should be followed in preparing for the oral defense: 1. Each member of the committee must receive a defendable copy of the complete manuscript at least two weeks prior to the oral defense. 2. A mutually agreed upon time for the defense will be chosen. 3. A formal notification of the defense will be forwarded to the Program Chair, Dean, and Department Chairs where the student undertook his/her work. The student is responsible for informing the above individuals. 4. The committee chair will plan and lead the oral defense session, including preparing the student for the defense by reviewing potential areas of focus that will be covered in the questions during the defense process. Format of Quantitative Thesis or Written Research Project A. Preliminary Pages 1. Blank sheet to protect copy 2. Title page 3. Acknowledgments/sources of funding, if any 4. Abstract 5. Table of contents 6. List of tables and figures and illustrations B. Chapters

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009


1. Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION a) Statement of research problem b) Purpose of the study c) Significance of the study to the discipline d) Theoretical framework e) Hypotheses/or research questions f) Operational and conceptual definitions 2. Chapter 2 - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE a) Theoretical Literature (if appropriate) b) Clinical c) Empirical Literature - EvBP 3. Chapter 3 - METHODS a) Research design b) Research sample/informants 1) Define population/select informants 2) Sampling technique 3) Setting c) Instrumentation 1) Instruments, scales/interview lead questions 2) Validity and reliability of instruments/validity and credibility of interview data d) Data collection/procedure e) IRB f) Statistical analysis and sample size justification/qualitative analysis technique 3. Chapter 4 - RESULTS (Report according to outcomes on each research question and/or hypothesis; all figures and tables must have legends) 5. Chapter 5 - DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS a) Interpretation of results and comparison to existing research and conceptual framework b) Strengths and limitations of the investigation c) Implications for discipline d) Recommendations of future research e) Conclusion 6. REFERENCES 7. APPENDICES a) Instruments/interview guide b) Consent form and explanation of study c) Human Rights Committee approval letter and IRB approval . Format for a Qualitative Thesis or Research Project Overall, the format of a thesis using a qualitative research design is similar to the format for a quantitative design. Students completing a qualitative research study will need to identify faculty with expertise in this methodology to serve as chairperson or committee member(s).

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009



Name: ________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Today's Date: ___________ Program: _____________________Projected Date of Graduation: __________ Project Title:________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Project Committee Chair: (Signature required) ______________________________________________________________________ Name printed Signature Project Committee members: ((thesis only) ______________________________________________________________________ Name printed Signature ______________________________________________________________________ Name printed Signature Date Date


Due to Program Chair prior to registration prior to registration for the course. Failure to submit this paper work will result in an administrative withdrawal from the course. cc: Student File Program Chair Committee Chair

Graduate Nursing Committee 1/26/2009



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