Graduate programs may offer students the opportunity to gain experience in the design and execution of primary and/or secondary research. For such programs that incorporate research skills, research competency can be demonstrated by a variety of assessment deliverables as outlined in this document. All research involving human participants is subject to ethical review.
A short paper requires students to select, critique, synthesize, and apply findings from the research literature to make recommendations for how to deal with a professional practice problem. A short paper is worth 3 credits and requires approximately 100 hours of effort.
A research paper constitutes a substantial written examination of a topic relevant to the program of study. The scope should be appropriate for the requirements of the particular program. Topics need not be original contributions to knowledge, but may constitute exercises in replication of relevant studies, application of knowledge to the field, development of instructional practices or policy analysis or development, surveys, creative work, documentary work and other types of projects negotiated with the program director. Standards of validity and academic rigor apply as appropriate to the nature of the research paper, whether it be a theoretical analysis, empirical study or naturalistic inquiry. Some, but not all, research-related learning outcomes of the program will be demonstrated in the graduating paper. The paper should require approximately 200 hours of effort by the student resulting in the awarding of 6 credit hours. The research paper will normally be assessed by a faculty member holding a doctoral degree, as negotiated with the program director.
The major project is often given alternate titles such as 'organizational consulting project', 'strategic management project', organizational leadership project', etc. depending on the program. The major project is an independent, typically work-based, problem-solving project. In general, the scope, breadth and structure of major projects will be more flexible than is expected in a thesis. The scope of this integrative learning activity is substantial, such that a client company or organization would normally pay a substantial consulting fee for the level of work undertaken. A major project is typically practical and data driven. Background literature underlying the project may be more selective and practical in scope and less theoretical than would typically be expected for a research thesis. Publication is not a requirement, and the major project will not be submitted to the National Library of Canada. The major project requires a minimum of two supervisors (an academic advisor and a client or sponsor). The project will be reviewed at the program level by a program head or equivalent, designated external reviewer or committee. The project should constitute approximately 200 or 300 or 400 hours of effort by the student resulting in the awarding of 6 or 9 or 12 credit hours respectively.
A thesis is a systematic study of a significant problem, issue, or phenomenon. The thesis demonstrates the ability to analyze existing research, collate or collect data and apply it in the context of an existing problem, issue, or opportunity. The result is a synthesis of theoretical and empirical information and/or recommendations for further action. The thesis identifies a problem or issue, states the research question, identifies major assumptions, explains the significance for the undertaking, grounds the research in relevant literature, sets forth the methods of gathering information, analyzes the data and offers a conclusion or recommendation based on the data and theoretical framing. Appropriate quality standards such as validity, reliability, or authenticity must be consistent with the selected research tradition and evident in tool development and data collection. The finished thesis evidences critical and independent thinking, subject expertise, appropriate organization and format and thorough documentation.
Unless an exemption has been granted by the Vice Provost, Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, all theses must be submitted for publication in RRU's Digital Archive, Pro-Quest and Library Archives Canada to meet final graduation requirements. Theses in non-traditional formats must be accompanied by a PDF summary (minimum 2,500 words), which is the only component that is electronically submitted and archived. Oversight by a Thesis Committee, including a supervisor qualified at the doctoral level and demonstrating relevant competencies of content and methodology, is required. A public defence and review by an external academic examiner are also required. The thesis should constitute approximately 400 hours of effort by the student resulting in the awarding of 12 credits.
A dissertation is the culminating project of a doctoral program. Successful completion of the comprehensive exams is required before work on the dissertation may begin. The results of the research must make a distinct interdisciplinary contribution to applied scholarship in the social sciences. The dissertation should demonstrate a high degree of original work and understanding and knowledge of the topic area. Evidence of originality may be demonstrated by one of the following or a combination of the following: the development of a new critical analysis of a practical issue or challenge; the development of a new theory from practice; the novel application of existing theory to a practical challenge; or the discovery of a new professional approach to practice. The dissertation should be written to a standard for professional and academic communication. It should be evident that the dissertation can be the basis for a published book, a monograph or a series of articles and a significant application in the field. Unless an exemption has been granted by the Vice Provost, Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, all dissertations must be submitted for publication in RRU's Digital Archive, Pro-Quest and Library and Archives Canada to meet final graduation requirements. Dissertations in non-traditional formats must be accompanied by a written PDF summary (minimum 2,500 words), which is the only component that is electronically submitted and archived. Work on the dissertation may not begin until a doctoral student has successfully completed the written and oral candidacy examination and thereby reached doctoral candidacy status.
Oversight by a dissertation supervisory committee, including a supervisor qualified at the doctoral level and demonstrating relevant competencies of content and methodology and methods, is required. Public defences as well as a review by an external academic examiner are also required.
The external examiner should have an "arms-length" relationship with the student, the supervisor(s) and members of the dissertation supervisory committee. The dissertation should constitute approximately 1,400 hours of effort by the student resulting in the awarding of 42 credits.