The thesis should follow the rules for scientific writing generally. Journal articles follow this style, and the thesis should be patterned accordingly. Please note the following:
|Poor Wording||Better Wording|
|see, find out||determine|
|do research||conduct research|
|set up||develop, establish|
|made up of||composed of|
|break down into||classify, categorize|
The committee chair should not have to make these types of editing changes. It is the student's responsibility to edit. If the thesis is not well-written, the committee may require the student to seek assistance from the Writing Center. They may verify that the appointment with the Writing Center has been kept.
A paragraph summarizes the study. It should be about one-half to three-quarters of a page in length, and is often written last, even though it is placed at the beginning.
This chapter should describe the problem to be studied, and should be about 10 pages. The following sections should be used: (1) introduction; (2) problem statement and purpose(s) of the study; (3) hypotheses; (4) assumptions and limitations of the study; (5) conceptual framework; (6) significance of the study; and (7) brief summary.
Introduction: The introduction should discuss the general topic to be addressed. For example, if the study concerns battered women, the introduction would discuss domestic violence in general, perhaps providing some pertinent statistics to catch the reader’s attention, or provide a brief historical overview. This section should be 1 1/2 to 2 pages.
Problem statement: Once the topic has been introduced, the writer can ease into the specific problem that will be addressed in this particular study, and what the study will try to accomplish. If a particular agency is involved in the study, some background on that agency should be provided.
Hypotheses: Statements about the expected or predicted relationships between two or more variables. They must be specific and use variables that can be measured.
Assumptions and Limitations: Assumptions are premises which are assumed to be true, but which cannot or will not be tested. For example, in a survey we assume that people will be reasonably truthful as long as the study is designed appropriately and there is not evidence during the course of the study to determine otherwise. (An assumption of science is that there is a pattern, that nature is not chaotic, and that we can understand the phenomenon under study. Obviously we cannot prove this). Limitations of the study should also be addressed. A common limitation is the nature of the subject pool. For example, if you use a subject population in Cape Girardeau, the results might be different from those in a major metropolitan area.
Conceptual Framework: This should briefly describe the theoretical background behind the hypotheses. For example, if you were doing a study of patrol, the proper theoretical background would be deterrence theory.
Significance of the Study: This section should indicate why the study is important. What questions will be answered? How might the findings be applied?
Summary: A brief summary of Chapter 1 (please note: a summary should not contain new material).
Chapter 2 is a literature review, a summary of the relevant theory and research related to the research question. It should be a scholarly review of the literature, and should meet certain requirements.
When citing studies, APA style should be used. Last names of authors and year of publication are cited in the text.
Hunter (1994) has described the similarities between modern boot camp programs and the regimen used at New York's Elmira Reformatory in the late nineteenth century.
Studies that compare their expectations and perceptions are thus important from a policy perspective (Skoler, 1976).
If several studies are cited:
Such studies suggest that the results are inconsistent across the states (MacKenzie, 1994; MacKenzie, 1995; Zhang, 1998).
This chapter describes the methods that were used in the study. It includes the following sections: (1) subjects; (2) instruments; (3) procedure; and (4) data analysis.
Subjects: If human subjects are used in the study, this section should describe the sample. This description should include the number of subjects used, and how they were selected (i.e., random sample? All the individuals working at a particular police department? volunteers at a specific drug rehabilitation center? Etc.) There should be a description of the subjects, including age, sex, geographical location and all other vital demographic data accumulated for your particular group. The sample must be adequately defined.
Sometimes a table or tables are used in subject description. Each table should be numbered (1, 2, 3, etc.) and have a descriptive title. The text should appear first and refer to the table by number and then the table follows.
Instruments: A description of any paper and pencil measures used (if any). If the instrument is well known, such as the MMPI, it can be briefly described. If you have developed your own survey or test, the procedures used to develop it should be described, and you should include a copy of the questions in an appendix.
Procedure: This should describe how the study was implemented. For example, if a survey of battered women was done, you should indicate how the questionnaires were distributed to the subjects, i.e., did they answer the questions as a group in a room, or did they take it with them with instructions to return it at a later date? In short, this section describes the details of data collection.
Data analysis: This section should indicate the statistical tests used to test the hypotheses.
Descriptive statistics (percentages, means, standard deviations) should be presented first, and then inferential statistics (chi-squares, t-tests, ANOVAs, etc). The order of presentation of inferential statistics should follow that of the order of the hypotheses in the first chapter. Each hypothesis should be briefly restated, and the results then presented. Tables and graphs can be used to illustrate the results. As the results are presented, the text should refer to tables and graphs as appropriate. There should not be any discussion of results in this chapter.
Tables should be numbered, and each table should have a descriptive title. Since most tables will be in chapter 4, each table should be numbered as 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, etc. The results for a table should be presented in the text, and reference made to the table using its number. The table should follow after this text. Microsoft Word has an excellent table function, which provides a variety of table formats and lines up the numbers. In the example below, the right hand column is centered, which gives the table a nice look. An example follows.
As can be seen in Table 4, certain stressors had occurred for over one-third of the DWI-arrested individuals, including arrest, job loss, and unemployment (40%); financial difficulties (38%); divorce or separation (35.5%); illness or death in the family (35.5%); and conflict in the home (32.9%).
Table 4. Percentage of DWI Offenders endorsing a Psychosocial Stressor Within the last year.
|Stressful Life Event||Percent Endorsement|
|Serious illness/death of family member||35.5%|
|Separation, divorce, or breakup of relationship||35.5%|
|Conflict in the home||32.9%|
|Problems at work or school||13.0%|
|Injury or illness--self||10.2%|
|Loss of a friend||0.6%|
|Injury to family member||0.6%|
|Death of a friend||0.4%|
This table is provided to assist in selecting appropriate statistical tests.
|Level of Measurement||One Group||Two Groups||More than 2 Groups|
|Interval or ratio|
|Independent||t-test for independent samples||analysis of variance|
|Related||t-test for related samples|
This chapter involves discussion and conclusions. It should generally be seen as the most difficult chapter to write. The results that were obtained should be described and analyzed. What do they mean? The chapter should discuss what was observed during the course of the study, and what the writer concluded from those observations.
This chapter should then tie observations or results and conclusions to the literature review in Chapter 2. Were the observations and conclusions similar to those in the literature? Were they different, and if so, how? How are the results typical and/or different from other similar studies described in the literature?
The discussion should then address any obstacles encountered, and whether these could have impacted results. In short, what were the limitations and shortcomings of the study?
There should then be discussion of the implications of the study—for the agency, the field, for theory, etc. What overall conclusions and recommendations would you make? What directions should future research take?
Finally, there should be an overall summarization. This chapter should be a minimum of 12-15 pages.
All studies cited in the text should be included in the bibliography, and everything in the bibliography should be cited in the text. Most of the references will be cited in Chapter 2. APA style should be used.
APA style begins at the left margin, and then the rest of the lines are indented. Citations are listed alphabetically by the last name of the first author.
For a journal article, the sequence is as follows: author's last name, first and middle initials, next author last name, initials, etc., then the year of publication in parentheses and a period, then the title of the article, then the journal (italicized) then a comma, volume number, comma, pages.
Veneziano, C.A., Veneziano, L.C., Bourns, W., Fichter, M. & Summers, K. (2000). Differences in expectations and perceptions among criminal justice officials concerning boot camps. The Justice Professional, 13, 377-389.
Note: indent the 2nd and 3rd lines.
For a book, the sequence is: author's last name, initials, next author, year of publication in parentheses, period, title of the book (italicized) and a period, city of publisher, colon, publisher, period.
Zimring, F.E. & Hawkins, G. (1997). Crime is not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Note: indent the 2nd line.
To cite a chapter in a book of readings, the sequence is: author last name, initials, next author, etc, year of publication in parentheses, period, title of chapter, in title of book (italicized), comma names of editors, comma, eds in parentheses, city of publisher, colon, publisher, comma, page number of the chapter.
Tremblay, R.E. & Craig, W.M. (1995). Developmental crime prevention, in Strategic Approaches to Crime Prevention, (M. Tonry & D. Farrington, eds). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 151-236.
Note: indent the 2nd and 3rd lines.