Thesis Option: 6 Credit Hours
A thesis is optional for this program; the following information is intended for those choosing to complete a thesis.
The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page (https://graduate.ucf.edu/thesis-and-dissertation/) contains information on the university’s requirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available on the Thesis and Dissertation Services (https://apps.graduate.ucf.edu/ETD_Student_Services/) site.
The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term:
· Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
· Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
· Defend by the defense deadline
· Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
· Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
· Submit final thesis or dissertation document by final submission deadline
Nonthesis Option: 6 Credit Hours
A non-thesis option is available for this program; the following information is intended for those choosing a non-thesis option, which involves the completion of an action research.
Non-thesis scholars will engage in an action research analyzing an issue or challenge in their own classroom teaching practice or school procedures in the areas of mathematics and/or science. An action research project includes the application of research methodologies, literature review, data collection, and data analysis. As part of Capstone Course, the culminating activities are final paper report and poster presentation of the action research project. A research advisor will be selected to collaborate with the scholar in the development of the action research.
In this context, action research refers to a wide variety of evaluative, investigative, and analytical research methods designed to diagnose problems or weaknesses (organizational, academic, or instructional) and help teachers develop practical solutions to address them quickly and efficiently. The general goal is to investigate a practical approach that leads to increasingly better results for schools, teachers, or programs.
It typically follows a predefined process; for example: 1. identify a problem to be studied, 2. collect data on the problem, 3. organize, analyze, and interpret the data, 4. develop a plan to address the problem, 5. implement the plan, 6. evaluate the results of the actions taken, 7. identify a new problem, and 8. if necessary, repeat the process.
Unlike more formal research studies, such as those conducted by universities and published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, action research is typically conducted by the teachers working school being studied. It involves less formal, prescriptive, or theory-driven research methods, since the goal is to address practical problems in a specific school or classroom, rather than produce independently validated and reproducible findings. It is typically focused on solving or answering a specific question; for example, Why are so many of our ninth graders failing mathematics?