Part 8: Thesis Route

Thesis Proposal

a) Thesis Topic Selection

The student will confer with his or her Thesis Supervisor and identify a potential thesis topic by the end of the first semester in the program. Students are encouraged to request a NURS 5130–Practice Experience course placement that will facilitate a deeper understanding of the thesis topic.

b) Thesis Proposal Development

Development of a Thesis Proposal will be undertaken in NURS 5160–Thesis Proposal Seminar. A draft of the Thesis Proposal will be a course requirement for NURS 5160, due approximately by week 7 of the course. It is anticipated that the student will meet with her or his Thesis Supervisor, at the beginning of this course so the Thesis Supervisor can give the student clear direction for the content of the proposal (e.g., proposed research question, sample, methods). The Thesis Supervisor’s feedback on the content of the Thesis Proposal is important, as it better prepares the instructor of NURS 5160 to support the student in building a Thesis Proposal that is in keeping with what the Thesis Supervisor has in mind for the thesis work.

Once the graded copy of the Thesis Proposal prepared in NURS 5160 has been returned to the student from the NURS 5160 instructor, the student will forward that version to her or his Thesis Supervisor. This document then serves as a good first working draft of the Thesis Proposal. Once the student and Thesis Supervisor are satisfied with a final version of the Thesis Proposal, the Thesis Supervisor gives the student approval to send the Thesis Proposal to the rest of the student's Thesis Supervisory Committee for review and feedback, and subsequently to the Thesis Proposal Colloquium (see Thesis Proposal Colloquium).

The Thesis Proposal will consist of a 15–25 page document that covers a review of the literature that provides a context and justifies the need for the research, the research problem, the research question, a proposed methodology section (covering: sample, setting, data collection and analysis), ethical considerations, and a short section on how the research findings will be presented and/or potentially used in practice (i.e., knowledge uptake and translation). The Thesis Proposal needs to follow the Thesis and Project Format Regulations (see Part 9: Thesis and Project Paper Format Regulations).

c) Thesis Proposal Colloquium

The purpose of the colloquium presentation is to provide the student with an opportunity to present his or her Thesis Proposal to the entire Thesis Supervisory Committee. The colloquium is not a defence. Rather, it is intended to be a constructive discussion where the student can receive helpful suggestions and feedback on his or her entire Thesis Proposal (e.g., research question, methodology) from his or her entire Thesis Supervisory Committee, prior to seeking research ethics approval and commencing his or her thesis research.

Once the Thesis Supervisor is satisfied with the student’s draft Thesis Proposal (from NURS 5160), the Thesis Supervisor contacts the student’s entire Thesis Supervisory Committee, sending them the draft Thesis Proposal (or the most current version), and schedules the Thesis Proposal Colloquium before the end of the semester in which NURS 5160 is taken. The entire colloquium is a public event, so that other members of the University community (e.g., other graduate students) may attend if they wish. The Thesis Supervisor is responsible for reserving the room for the colloquium, and getting out appropriate advertising (with assistance from the Faculty of Health Sciences support staff) for the colloquium (e.g., posters, email notices).

The Thesis Supervisor introduces the student and chairs the colloquium, which is to last no longer than 2 hours.

The student presents the proposal in about 15–20 minutes (maximum) being certain to include the following information (in a maximum of 10 slides):

  • The title of the proposed thesis research project
  • Background to the research problem and rationale for the study
  • Brief review of the related research literature
  • Philosophical underpinnings (if appropriate)
  • The research question
  • The methodology
  • Ethical considerations
  • Dissemination and potential research uptake/knowledge translation opportunities

Following the presentation, the Thesis Supervisory Committee Chair (Thesis Supervisor) facilitates a discussion that includes questions and feedback for the student. At the end of the colloquium, the student should have a clear idea what changes he or she may need to make to his or her Thesis Proposal (if needed), and how to proceed with his or her thesis research (e.g., submission of ethics application, preparing for data collection).

At the end of the colloquium, the Thesis Supervisory Committee completes the Thesis Proposal Colloquium Approval form (signed by the entire Thesis Supervisory Committee), which indicates the Thesis Supervisory Committee approves of the student’s Thesis Proposal and any changes they would like in the Thesis Proposal, if any. The signed form is then forwarded to the MN Program Committee Chair.

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