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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 25, 2014

Canadian Excellence

Major Research Project*



The Major Research Project encourages individual study programs that are flexibly tailored to personal career and research interests. There are four options to complete the Major Research Project:

Journal Article Project:

The Journal Article Option is reserved for students with an A- and above standing, ideally suited to those considering a PhD following their MA. Students will complete a 30-35 page piece of work in journal article format, working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10 page proposal that includes a brief discussion of the research question, succinctly articulates a central thesis and situates the research question within an area of scholarly literature and area of debate. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Journal Article Option. Students will receive feedback through a simulated peer-review process of their work (normally over the summer term), with written feedback provided and a discussion of the feedback with the committee in late August. Students will be encouraged to submit their completed article to an academic journal.

Major Research Paper:

The Research Paper is approximately 50 pages in length, and provides students with an opportunity to carry out empirical research on a topic of their choice, working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10 page proposal that includes a brief discussion of the research question, succinctly articulates a central hypothesis, and situates the research question within an area of scholarly literature and area of debate. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Research Paper Option and will be expected to orally defend their final piece of work upon its completion in late August.

Policy Analysis Project:

The Policy Analysis is a 50-page project that provides students with the opportunity to carry out a professional policy analysis on an existing policy, working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10-page proposal that identifies the policy issue or problem to be examined, outlines a short summary of background information consisting of a few key facts that are important for understanding the context of the policy problem to be studied and provides a brief discussion of the evaluative framework to be applied. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Policy Analysis Option and will be expected to orally defend their final piece of work upon its completion in late August.

Public Opinion Project:

The Public Opinion Project is a 25-30 page paper (not including the required survey instruments) that provides students with an opportunity to undertake the design of a major public opinion project involving the administration of a survey working under the supervision of two faculty members (an advisor and second reader). Students are required to first write a 7-10 page proposal that includes a brief discussion of the research question, an explanation of the project design and details of the survey methodology to be employed. Students are expected to defend their research proposal before a committee (graduate officer, one member of the graduate affairs committee, and the proposed advisor) in December. Upon successful defense of the proposal, students will be eligible to register in PO695 to complete the Public Opinion Project and will be expected to orally defend their final piece of work upon its completion in late August.

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*Pending final Senate approval.