|Reader's guide to the HC&P Master's Paper|
We appreciate your taking time from your busy schedule to serve as a Master's Paper reader. In order to give all readers a common starting point, we have developed these basic guidelines for reading and evaluating the Health Care and Prevention (HC&P) Master's Paper.
A. Purpose of Master's Paper
Most important, the Master's Paper should synthesize the knowledge the student has acquired from all his or her sources--courses, the practicum experience, and the research for this Master's Paper--and make a contribution to the field of health care and/or prevention. This means that the Master's Paper is a more intensive and extensive exercise than is any assignment in a given course. Most papers have at least 50 references and are usually 40 to 70 pages long, double-spaced, but these are suggestions and not requirements. Papers must meet margin and other requirements of the Graduate School. Publication is an option rather than an expectation.
Note that this is not a "thesis"--it is a "Master's Paper." The Graduate School has a specific definition for master's theses, and the word "thesis" should not appear in an HC&P Master's Paper in order to avoid any confusion about which requirements govern the work.
B. Responsibilities of First and Second Readers, and How They Differ
Both readers are involved from the start, and both approve the general topic and outline. The first reader works more closely with the student, getting drafts as sections are completed, reading in detail, and giving line by line comments. The second reader gets full or partial drafts, as desired and in agreement with the first reader and the student, and reads for general methods and content but not line by line. Both readers must approve and sign the final paper.
References should follow the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (URM) of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), found at http://www.icmje.org, whenever possible, while using necessary modifications for the purpose of assuring the most complete and proper citation style for the student's particular research, such as APSA style for policy papers, or for the journal to which the paper is being submitted for publication, if publication is being considered. Students should rely on their Master's Paper readers for guidance on when and how to incorporate additional citation styles or modifications into the URM.
References should be numbered consecutively throughout the paper, and a list of references should follow the main text of the paper, unless the student is using another citation style appropriate to his or her paper type, in which case the student should follow that reference style's guidance for citations and reference lists.
D. Topic and Writing
The topic of the paper should be tightly focused, in consultation with the Master's Paper advisor. This is a Master's Paper, not a doctoral dissertation, and students should concentrate on answering a small question well, within the limited scope of the paper, rather than trying to answer a large question poorly. The paper should be well written. It should be able to communicate the research question, its context, and the student's findings clearly, even to nonspecialists. Even a well-researched paper on a good idea should not be approved unless it is well written.
E. Types of Papers
HC&P students usually choose from five general types of papers:
Although the first type of paper described above is a systematic review, note that it is a more extensive systematic review. All other papers should include at least a limited systematic review of some part of the medical/health literature. All papers should deal with a question of importance to the health of the public or the improvement of the functioning of the health care system. All papers should discuss the implications of their findings for public health.
F. Evaluating the Paper
The following table may help you consider the quality of the student's paper.
|Last updated September 12, 2012|