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The thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Family Studies and Gerontology requires a student to undertake a major independent research in a selected area of Family Studies and Gerontology.

The thesis will include a comprehensive study of the published writings of related aspects, a detailed plan of how to answer a research question, and demonstrate the student’s ability to carry out and report their independent piece of research.  The assembling of facts and data is an essential part of the thesis, but the student should note that the assessment of the thesis is based on the quality of both the data and analysis and the interpretation and conclusions drawn from the data.

The expectations of the thesis outcome is sufficiently flexible to enable diversity in methodologies, theories, and processes. Students may chose from a number of methodological and data analyses approaches, and they work closely with their thesis advisor to choose the best approach to answer their research question.

These approaches may include but are not limited to: 

  • archival analysis of documents
  • program evaluation 
  • primary data collection that lends itself to either qualitative or quantitative analysis, or secondary data analysis (again qualitative or quantitative or both) of existing data sources 

The interdisciplinary nature of the field of Family Studies and Gerontology also enables students to draw on a wide range of theoretical perspectives. 

The thesis must demonstrate student’s competencies in:

  • methods of research
  • critical appraisal of previous research
  • scholarship

The thesis should be of such a length as to constitute a significant contribution to the field of Family Studies and Gerontology. In evaluating the thesis it is important to note that significance, conciseness, and quality of the document and the defense are of greater weight than the number of pages in the document.Graduate-Handbook-Family-Studies-Gerontology

Students should consult the FSGN Graduate Student Handbook (pdf) regularly for information on thesis requirements, procedures, and deadlines. Student essays on How to Write Grant Applications (pdf) and Preparing for Your Defense (pdf) also will be helpful.

The following two books may be helpful in getting you through the process of writing a thesis:

Locke, L. F., Spirduso, W. W., & Silverman, S. J. (2007). Proposals that work: A guide for planning 

                dissertations and grant proposals (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rudestam, K. E., & Newton, R. R. (2007). Surviving your dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Please note, you will need a number of forms during the process of writing your thesis. These are noted in your Graduate Handbook. Most of these forms are available from the Graduate Studies webpage. Any other forms will be available from the Department's main office.