Western University PsychologyFaculty of Social Science

4850E-001 4851E-001 4852E-001

Psychology 4850E-001 Honours Thesis

Psychology 4851E-001 Honours Thesis (Science)

Psychology 4852E-001 Honours Thesis (DCN)

 

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.

1.0    CALENDAR DESCRIPTION

         All honors psychology students registered in the 4th year of the Honors Specialization programs in Psychology, Animal Behavior, or Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (DCN) are required to take Psychology 4850E - Honors Thesis  OR  Psychology 4851E – Honors Thesis (Science) OR Psychology 4852E (DCN).  Please note that although these are listed as separate courses they are completely merged together for all honors thesis-related activities, assignments, and meetings. 

 

Psychology 4850E - Honors Thesis.   Independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Antirequisite:  Psychology 4851E, 4852E.     Prerequisites:  Psychology 3800F/G and 0.5 from Psychology 3184F/G, 3185F/G, 3285F/G, 3480F/G, 3485F/G, 3580F/G, 3780F/G, or 3840F/G and registration in fourth year Honours Specialization in Psychology.  Students in fourth year Honours Specialization in Animal Behaviour may also enrol in this course. 4 seminar hours. 1.0 course

 

Psychology 4851E – Honors Thesis (Science).  Independent research under the direction of a faculty member.  Topics focus on fundamental psychological processes, their underlying neural mechanisms, their development within individuals, and their evolutionary and ecological contexts.   Antirequiste: Psychology 4850E, 4852E.   Prerequisites:  Psychology 3800F/G and 0.5 from Psychology 3184F/G, 3185F/G, 3285F/G, 3485F/G, and registration in fourth year Honours Specialization in Psychology.  Students in fourth year Honours Specialization in Animal Behaviour may also enrol in this course. 4 seminar hours. 1.0 course

 

 

Psychology 4852E -  Honors Thesis (DCN).   Independent research under the direction of a faculty member on a topic that is both theoretically and methodologically relevant to developmental cognitive neuroscience (DCN).  This course is exclusively for students in the DCN module.  Thesis supervisors must be approved by the DCN Module Coordinator, as well as the honors thesis co-ordinator.  Antirequisite:  Psychology 4850E, 4851E.  Prerequisites:  Psychology 3800F/G and Psychology 3485F/G, and registration in fourth year Honours Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.  4 seminar hours. 1.0 course

 

 

       Distinctions between Psychology 4850E, 4851E, and 4852E.   Psychology 4851E is reserved for students in the Honors BSc Psychology program who are conducting psychological research in cognition, sensation and perception, behavioral or cognitive neuroscience, or developmental cognitive neuroscience and are being supervised by a psychology faculty member conducting research that would fall under the NSERC mandate.    Psychology 4852E is reserved for students in 4th year of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (DCN) Module.     All other students (i.e., those not in 4851E or 4852E) must register for Psychology 4850E [including all HBA students, and HBSc students supervised by faculty conducting research that does not fall under the NSERC mandate (e.g., HBSc students doing a thesis project that falls under SSHRC research domains such as personality, measurement, social psychology, educational psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology)].

 

Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit.  So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course. 

 

Unless you have either the requisites for your thesis course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in that course, you may be removed from the course and it will be deleted from your record.  This decision may not be appealed.  You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites


2.0    COURSE INFORMATION

       Honors Thesis Coordinator:  Dr. Nick Kuiper

       Office and Phone Number:   Westminster Hall, Rm. 309E        519-661-2111 Ext. 84652

       Office Hours:  E-mail Dr. Kuiper to arrange an appointment     kuiper@uwo.ca

       Secretary:       Beata Jaroslawski, SSC, Rm. 7418                     519-661-2111 Ext 82067

 

Teaching Assistants:

 

        Chelsea Vaters            cvaters@uwo.ca             E-mail for appointment        Office: SSC 8424D

        Nicola Popp                 npopp@uwo.ca               E-mail for appointment        Office:  NS 245G    

        Xuan Pan                     xpan55@uwo.ca             E-mail for appointment        Office:  SSC 7222

        Katerina Rnic               krnic@uwo.ca                 E-mail for appointment        Office: WH 90A West

 

Time and Location of Classes:     Friday 9:30-11:30  UCC 41     and     Friday 12:30-2:30  UCC 41

 

Small Group Talks:  Students also meet in small groups to present thesis introduction and method talks.  These talks will be in the same time periods listed above, but will be in smaller seminar rooms in the Social Science Centre and Westminster Hall.  The overall dates for these small group talks are listed later in this course outline.  The specific date, time and location for each presenter will be provided in a schedule distributed by mid-October for the Fall Term presentations, and by mid-December for the Winter Term presentations.

 

Course Materials and Announcements:   All course information, announcements, etc. will be available on the Western OWL thesis course website.  This material will include deadlines and information about assignments, the formats required for written and oral work, presentation schedules for talks and poster sessions, and marks for various assignments, etc.  You are responsible for checking OWL on a regular basis.   Announcements will be automatically sent to your UWO e-mail address, so please ensure that your email inbox is not full.


If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit:  http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.

3.0  TEXTBOOK

Since each student conducts an individualized thesis research project, there are no textbooks for this course.  However, students should use the latest version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association when preparing their written thesis, including the preliminary introduction and method.  You are not required to buy this Publication Manual but may find it convenient to own a personal copy, especially if you are contemplating going on to graduate school in psychology.  Copies may be available in the Bookstore.

4.0    COURSE OBJECTIVES

The main objectives of this course are to complete a psychology honors thesis research project and then present this project as both a written thesis and a poster.  The thesis is a major research project in psychology carried out by a 4th year honors psychology student, under the direction of a qualified psychology thesis supervisor (i.e., a full-time psychology professor in Western’s Department of Psychology).  This is an empirical project that involves psychological data.  It is not a purely theoretical paper, nor just an in-depth review of the psychological literature.  Some honors thesis projects may involve the collection of original data whereas other projects may draw from existing data sets that may be available from the student’s supervisor.   Please note that if any proposed project is unsuitable for an honors psychology thesis, the honors thesis coordinator may require modifications or the development of an alternate project that is suitable.


   4.1    STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

  1. Depth and Breadth of Knowledge

 

Learning Outcomes

·         Articulate the current state of knowledge, key concepts and main research themes and issues in the major content domain(s) relevant to your honors psychology thesis research project.

 

Learning Activities

·         Reading

·         Meetings with thesis supervisor

·         Regular engagement in thesis research-relevant activities in thesis supervisor’s lab

·         Psychology Library Search Workshops

·         Course-provided information sheets and lectures on thesis-relevant topics

 

How Assessed

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

 

 

 

4.1 STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES (continued)

 

 

 

  1. Knowledge of Methodologies

 

Learning Outcomes

·         Access, interpret and critically evaluate research resources relevant to your thesis project.

·         Formulate research hypotheses and/or questions to address the main topic of your honors thesis research and implement a research project to test

·         Apply relevant statistical techniques and skills to the analysis and interpretation of the data for your honors thesis project.

·         Evaluate the appropriateness of different methodological approaches to address the specific psychological questions and/or hypotheses that pertain to your honors thesis project

 

Learning Activities

·         Reading

·         Meetings with thesis supervisor

·         Regular engagement in thesis research-relevant activities in thesis supervisor’s lab

·         Course-provided information sheets and lectures on thesis-relevant topics

 

How Assessed

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

 

 

  1. Application of Knowledge

 

Learning Outcomes

·         Articulate how to deal with key ethical research principles and issues that are relevant to your honors psychology thesis research project

·         Use evidence to support claims for past research findings and your honors thesis findings

·         Engage in scholarly discussion on topics relevant to your Honors thesis project

·         Provide a creative/novel solution to the major research issues identified in your Honors thesis

 

Learning Activities

·         Reading

·         Meetings with Thesis Supervisor

·         Course-provided information sheets and lectures on thesis-relevant topics

·         Completion of Ethic Confirmation Form for Thesis Research

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

How Assessed

·         Ethics Confirmation Form for Thesis Research

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

 

 

4.1  STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES (continued)

 

  1. Communication Skills

 

Learning Outcomes

·         Communicate in writing accurately, clearly and logically, using the discourse of psychology

·         Communicate orally accurately, clearly and logically, using the discourse of psychology

 

Learning Activities

·         Meetings with Thesis Supervisor

·         Course-provided Information Sheets and Lectures on thesis-relevant topics

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

How Assessed

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

 

  1. Awareness of Limits of Knowledge

 

Learning Outcomes

·         Recognize the limits of your own knowledge regarding each aspect of your thesis project and how this might influence your analysis and interpretation of your findings in a  broader context

 

Learning Activities

·         Reading

·         Meetings with thesis supervisor

·         Regular engagement in thesis research-relevant activities in thesis supervisor’s lab

 

 

How Assessed

·         Student Presentations (Introduction Talk, Method Talk, Poster Presentation)

·         Written Essays (Preliminary Introduction, Preliminary Method, Final Written Thesis)

 

 

  1. Autonomy and Professional Capacity

 

Learning Outcomes

·         Work collaboratively with relevant others (e.g., thesis supervisor, other students and research personnel in supervisor’s lab, thesis course coordinator and TAs) to complete your honors thesis project in an ethical and timely fashion that also demonstrates an appropriate level of effort and professionalism

·         Show initiative and autonomy in executing each phase of your thesis project

 

Learning Activities

·         Meetings with thesis supervisor and other lab personnel

·         Regular engagement in thesis research-relevant activities in thesis supervisor’s lab

·         Interactions with thesis course coordinator and TAs

 

How Assessed

·         Thesis supervisor’s rating of student’s effort in completing the honors thesis.

5.0     EVALUATION

                SUMMARY OF ASSIGNMENTS                   % OF FINAL GRADE           DUE DATES

 

  1. Research Ethics Confirmation Form                     3%                           Oct. 18 by 1pm
  2. Talk 1: Thesis Introduction                                   10%                          Nov. 3, 10, 17 & 24
  3. Paper: Preliminary Introduction                            12%                          Dec. 1 by 1 pm
  4. Talk 2: Thesis Method                                          10%                          Jan. 12, 19, 26 & Feb 2
  5. Paper: Preliminary Method                                   10%                          Feb 2 by 1 pm
  6. Thesis Poster Presentation                                  10%                           March 23 (entire day)
  7. Completed Written Thesis                                    45%                           April 4 by 1 pm

 

            This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least one week before the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty.

 

Note: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations (http://www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/2017/pg108.html), you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%.

 

            COMPLETED WRITTEN THESIS.  The completed written thesis will be handed in using computer files (i.e., WORD & PDF).  The final thesis will be marked by the thesis supervisor and a second reader.  The second reader (selected by the honors thesis coordinator) is usually familiar with the general topic domain of the thesis.  The thesis marks assigned by the supervisor and second reader will be averaged by the honors thesis coordinator, and will contribute 45% of the final overall grade in the course.  A class meeting will be held on Friday Feb. 9, 2018 from 9:30-11:20 in UCC 41 to review the format and type of material to be included in the thesis.  The final written thesis is due Wed. April 4, 2018 by 1pm.

 

            THESIS POSTER.  Students will present their completed thesis research in a poster form on Friday March 23, 2018.  A series of 1-hour long poster sessions will be held on the 7th Floor of the SSC building (near the A/B elevators), beginning at 9:30 am and finishing by 3:20 pm.  Precise details regarding poster preparations will be given in the class session on Friday Feb 9, 2018 from 9:30-11:20 in UCC 41.  Posters will be graded by the supervisor and second reader, with their averaged marks contributing 10% of the final grade in the course. The poster sessions will give each student an opportunity to present and discuss their completed thesis project, and also to meet their second reader, prior to having the final written thesis graded.

 

            FURTHER COMPONENTS OF THE COURSE.  In addition to the written thesis and poster presentation, there are additional components of this course that will contribute to your final overall grade. These components include completing a research ethics confirmation form, giving a talk each term (in a small group session), and handing in preliminary written versions of both your thesis introduction and method.

 

            RESEARCH ETHICS CONFIRMATION FORM.  A completed and signed Research Ethics Confirmation Form is due Oct. 18, 2017 by 1pm.  This form consists of a brief description of the procedural aspects of the research that will form your thesis project, including specific consideration of how ethical research concerns relating to your thesis project will be dealt with. Both the student and supervisor sign this completed form to acknowledge awareness and compliance with all ethical issues and responsibilities associated with the thesis project.  There will be a class meeting the morning of Sept. 15, 2017 (from 9:30-11:20 in UCC 41) to discuss the format and type of material you must include in this form.  Your completed form will be reviewed and graded by the honors thesis coordinator to ensure that your research is: (1) suitable for an honours thesis project, (2) that all ethical issues pertaining to your research have been dealt with appropriately, and (3) that both the student and supervisor have signed the form.  Appropriate completion of this form, along with confirmation of research ethics approval for your thesis research (by the Western Research Ethics Office), is worth 3% of your final grade in the course. 

 

           

            THESIS TALKS.  During the year, each student will give two talks.  The first talk will be scheduled in Nov. 2017 and will focus on the introduction to your thesis.  This talk will be worth 10% of your final grade in the course, and will be marked by the section leader in charge of your small group.  The second talk will be in Jan/Feb. 2018 and will focus on the thesis method.  This talk will be graded by the section leader in charge of your small group and will contribute 10% towards your final grade in the course.  Further information about thesis talks and the small group format used for these talks will be provided in a class meeting the morning of Friday Sept. 29, 2017 (from 9:30 to 11:20 in UCC 41).

 

            PRELIMINARY WRITTEN THESIS INTRODUCTION AND METHOD SECTIONS.  A preliminary written version of your thesis introduction is due Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 by 1pm, and will be graded by the section leader in charge of your small group.  This paper is worth 12% of your final grade in the course.   A class meeting will be held the morning of Friday Oct. 20, 2017 (from 9:30 to 11:20 in UCC 41) to review the format and type of material which should be included in the preliminary introduction paper.

 

            A preliminary written version of your thesis method section is due Feb. 2, 2018 by 1pm and will also be graded by the section leader in charge of your small group.  This method paper is worth 10% of your final grade.  The preliminary written introduction and method written assignments, along with the final written version of your thesis, should meet the essay requirement for this course (i.e., a minimum of 5000 words of cohesive discourse).

 

Completion of All Assignments.  The assignments in this course are sequential and build upon each other.  Accordingly, it is expected that students will complete each and every oral and written assignment in this course on time, in the proper sequence.  Failure to do so may result in serious penalties, up to and including not passing this course.  If you are having difficulties in completing assignments on time you should see an academic counsellor.

 

Late Penalties.  Please note that all assignments must be completed by their due date – there are no extensions.  Accordingly, late penalties will be assessed for assignments not completed in time (3% of the worth of that assignment will be deducted for each day you are late).  If you miss any course assignment deadlines, you must meet with an academic counsellor.

 

Grading Expectations:
Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:


70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
   
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/general/grades_undergrad.pdf ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail



6.0  TEST AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE

There are no tests or examinations in the honors thesis course.  Instead, students complete all of the assignments, as described in this course outline and the OWL course website.


7.0   CLASS SCHEDULE

  1. Sept. 8, 2017 Friday in UCC 41

            9:30 am - 10:20 am:   Overview of Thesis Course – Dr. Kuiper

          10:30 am - 11:20 am:   Obtaining a Thesis Supervisor:  Only for students without a Supervisor

                          

  1. Sept. 15, 2017 Friday in UCC 41

          Ethics in Research and Completing the Research Ethics Confirmation Form

            9:30 am - 10:20 am:    Only for those students working with humans

           10:30 am - 11:20 am:   Only for those students working with animals

 

  1. Sept. 22, 2017 Friday in UCC 41

         Psychology Library Search Workshops – Christy Sich

               9:30 am - 11:20 am   Oriented towards NSERC & Neuroscience Research Areas

              12:30 pm -  2:20 pm   Oriented towards SSHRC Research Areas

   

  1. Sept. 29, 2017 Friday in UCC 41 – For all students

              9:30 am - 11:20 am:  Information about Thesis Talks & Small Group Meetings

 

  1. Oct. 20, 2016 Friday in UCC 41 – For all students

             9:30 am -11:20 am   Information about the Preliminary Written Introduction

 

  1. Nov.   3, 2017   Friday  9:30 am - 11:20 am   &  12:30 pm - 2:20 pm      (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

      Nov. 10, 2017  Friday  9:30 am - 11:20 am   &  12:30 pm - 2:20 pm       (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

      Nov. 17, 2017  Friday  9:30 am  -11:20am    &  12:30pm - 2:20 pm        (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

      Nov. 24, 2017  Friday  9:30 am  -11:20am    &  12:30pm - 2:20 pm        (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

             Small Group Meetings: Talk 1 - Thesis Introduction

                            (Rooms & presentation schedule for all talks will be posted on OWL)

 

  1. Jan. 12, 2018 Friday 9:30 am - 11:20 am  & 12:30 pm - 2:20pm            (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

     Jan. 19, 2018  Friday 9:30 am - 11:20 am  &  2:30 pm -2:20 pm             (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

     Jan. 26, 2018  Friday 9:30 am - 11:20 am  & 12:30 pm -2:20 pm            (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

     Feb.  2, 2018  Friday 9:30 am - 11:20 am  & 12:30 pm -2:20 pm            (Please reserve 9am to 3pm)

              Small Group Meetings: Talk 2 - Thesis Method

                             (Rooms and presentation schedule will be posted on OWL by late Fall)

 

  1. Feb 9, 2018  Friday in UCC 41 – For all students

          9:30 am – 11:20 am:  Information about the format for Posters and the Final Written Thesis

 

  1. March 9, 2018 Friday in UCC 41 – starting at 10am – Library Workshop – how to

               Post your thesis and poster on Scholarship Western – Christy Sich

 

  1. March 23, 2018 (Fri) 9:30 am – 3:20 pm, Entire Class - 7th Floor of SSC Bldg. (near A/B elevators).

           Poster Presentation Day, with a series of 1-hour sessions.    (Please reserve 9am to 4pm)

                   (Individual poster presentation schedule will be posted on OWL by mid-March)

 


8.0     STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC OFFENCES

Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:  http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and Turnitin.com http://www.turnitin.com

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.



9.0    POLICY ON ACCOMMODATION FOR MEDICAL ILLNESS

Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at:
http://westerncalendar.uwo.ca/2017/pg954.html 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:
http://counselling.ssc.uwo.ca/procedures/medical_accommodation.html


10.0        OTHER INFORMATION

Office of the Registrar web site:  http://registrar.uwo.ca

Student Development Services web site: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

    http://psychology.uwo.ca/undergraduate/student_responsibilities/index.html

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.

10.1   OBTAINING A THESIS SUPERVISOR.  It is your responsibility to locate a qualified psychology thesis supervisor who will supervise your honors psychology thesis project.  Please note that all full-time faculty members of Western’s Department of Psychology may serve as supervisors for 4th year psychology honors theses.  In addition, our department has a number of cross-appointed and research adjunct faculty members with full-time appointments in other parts of Western, including the Business School, Communicative Disorders, Kinesiology, Psychiatry, Education, Brescia and Huron.  These cross-appointed and research adjunct faculty members may also be available to serve as 4th year thesis supervisors (but please check first with the Honors Thesis Coordinator, Dr. Kuiper).

 

To help you in your search for a supervisor, you can learn about faculty research interests on the Psychology Department website.  The listings on this site will provide you with information concerning the full-time faculty members in our department, as well as the cross-appointed and research adjunct faculty members.  Also feel free to contact Dr. Kuiper if you have any questions about potential supervisors.   Information about potential supervisors will be discussed in class at the start of term.  It would be to your advantage, however, to secure a thesis supervisor well before this.  This is particularly important if you would like to do a thesis project in an area of psychology that is in high demand.

 

Begin your search for a thesis supervisor by canvassing the full-time faculty members in the Psychology Department.  If the person you are interested in as a potential supervisor does not hold a full-time appointment in the Department of Psychology you must contact Dr. Kuiper first to discuss the viability of this supervision arrangement.  In all cases, final approval for your selection of a thesis supervisor must be obtained from the honors thesis coordinator for Psych 4850-51-52 (and for Psych 4852 also by the DCN Module Coordinator).  This approval is particularly important if you are considering a supervisor who is not a full-time faculty member in our Psychology Department.  It is your responsibility to check with Dr. Kuiper as soon as possible, since some individuals you may be interested in may not be appropriate to serve as psychology undergraduate thesis supervisors.

 

On occasion, it may be possible for some senior psychology graduate students in our Ph.D. graduate program, or postdoctoral fellows in our department, to co-supervise a thesis (under the supervision and direction of a full-time faculty member in our department).  In addition, some other Ph.D. level psychology faculty members in the affiliated colleges may also be available to supervise a 4th year thesis.  Finally, it may sometimes be possible to make arrangements for Ph.D. level psychologists working in various applied settings in London to supervise an honors psychology thesis.  It should be stressed, however, that any potential thesis supervisor or co-supervisor must have the appropriate qualifications and experience to conduct and supervise psychological research that would be suitable for the needs of this psychology thesis course. Thus, in all instances, you should first check with the Psychology Honors Thesis Coordinator.

 

You should prepare carefully before you meet with a potential thesis supervisor to discuss the possibility of supervision.  You should be able to provide this person with an idea of what you might wish to do for a thesis topic.  Familiarity with the potential supervisor's research interests is highly recommended.  If you want to work in a popular topic area, you need to move quickly to obtain a supervisor.

 

10.2   MEETINGS WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR.  It is highly recommended that you schedule a regular meeting time with your thesis supervisor.  A regular series of meetings (e.g., on a weekly basis), will help ensure the timely completion of each major phase of your thesis (i.e., Research Ethics Confirmation Form, Introduction, Method, Data Collection, Data Analyses, Poster Presentation, and Final Write-up).  To assist you in planning your time, an illustrative schedule for completing the various phases of your thesis project is presented later in this course outline.

 

Your thesis supervisor should be prepared to offer you help on various thesis-related concerns, such as conceptual and ethical issues, research design considerations, data analysis and interpretation questions, and write-up issues. During the initial phases of your project, your thesis supervisor may also recommend readings associated with your thesis topic.  Throughout the year, your supervisor should also be prepared to provide you with feedback on written work you may submit for review and comments. 

 

In turn, as a thesis student, you should recognize that there are many other demands on your thesis supervisor's time.  Thus, you should be well prepared for each meeting with your supervisor.  As one specific example, you are expected to show initiative in searching for and becoming knowledgeable about the research literature in your thesis domain.  If you wish to receive feedback on written work, you should ensure that this work is submitted to your supervisor well in advance of the time that feedback is sought. 

 

As part of your learning experience in completing an honors thesis, your thesis supervisor may also expect you to regularly engage in various other thesis-relevant research activities in the lab.  As such, please ensure you discuss and review with your thesis supervisor, at the beginning of the year, exactly what your supervisor’s expectations are regarding: (1) the frequency of regular meetings for thesis-related activities, and (2) the frequency and extent of participation in additional research-related lab activities.  You should ensure you clearly understand the specific details of these expectations, as your thesis supervisor will also be grading you on effort, as part of your supervisor’s final evaluation of your thesis.

 

 

10.3   ILLUSTRATIVE SCHEDULE FOR THESIS COMPLETION   (actual due dates also shown)

 

  1. Obtain Thesis Supervisor and Complete Initial Work on Thesis Topic: Early to mid Sept. 2017
  2. Conceptualization of Specific Issue to be addressed in Thesis: By late Sept. 2017
  3. Conceptualize Thesis Procedure and Complete Research Ethics Confirmation Form: By mid Oct. 2017

                                    (Research Ethics Confirmation Form due Oct. 18)

                                    (Talk 1 on Introduction is during November 2017)

  1. Write introduction, design study, and begin data collection: By Dec. 2017

                                    (Preliminary Written Introduction due Dec. 1, 2017)

                                    (Talk 2 on Method is during Jan/Feb. 2018)

                                    (Preliminary Written Method due Feb. 2, 2018)

  1. Data collection: Completed by Reading Week in Feb. 2018
  2. Data analysis: Late Feb. to early-March 2018
  3. Poster Session: Poster given to supervisor for review and comments by mid-March 2018

                        (Poster Sessions Mar. 23, 2018)

  1. Final Thesis Write-up: Completed thesis draft to supervisor by mid-March 2018

(To receive feedback prior to revising and handing in final copy of thesis on April 4, 2018)

 

NOTE.  The above schedule provides a general guide for structuring your time.  Your thesis project may vary somewhat.  As such, at the beginning of the year, you should establish with your supervisor a specific timetable for completing each major phase of your thesis (keeping in mind the various due dates for assignments).  When scheduling your project, you should note that some studies may require a more complicated process (and thus longer time period) for research ethics approval, especially if they involve any form of deception or the use of vulnerable populations (i.e., clinical samples, school children, etc.).  Finally, when you are designing your thesis project, you should also note that the Psychology Department does not have any funds available for research support for fourth year honors theses.

 

10.4   Use of the Department of Psychology Research Participation Pool.  If you plan to use the Department of Psychology research participation pool, please note that each Psychology 4850-51-52 student has a maximum of 50 research participation credit hours that can be used for thesis research.  General procedures for obtaining access to the research participation pool are on the Psychology Department website.  Further information about using the pool will be provided to students during the Fall Term.   Please read and follow these procedures carefully.

 

 

10.5   W.J. McClelland Thesis Award.  The Department of Psychology has established an award for the best 4th year undergraduate thesis.  In order to be eligible for the W.J. McClelland award (worth approximately $500.00), an outstanding thesis must first be nominated by either the student's supervisor, second reader, or the honors thesis course coordinator.  A departmental committee then evaluates all nominated theses to determine the award winner.

 

 

10.6   Ontario Undergraduate Thesis Conference.  The Annual Ontario Psychology Undergraduate Thesis Conference will be held in late April or early May 2018.  More detailed information will be provided when available.  Students from a number of Ontario universities participate at this conference and give short thesis talks or poster presentations of their research.  In past years, students from Western have typically enjoyed the opportunity to talk and meet with students from other universities.

 

 

10.7   Western Library - Research Help with Your Thesis Topic:   For research assistance, contact Weldon’s Research Help desk in-person, by phone at 519-661-3162, email dbwlib@uwo.ca or use the Ask a Librarian chat service.

 

 

10.8   Library Workshops: Searching for Information regarding Your Thesis Research Topic

  Conducted by:  Christy Sich - Research & Instructional Services Librarian from Western Libraries

 

Description of Library Workshops:    In this 2-hour hands-on workshop, we will work to hone your research skills so that you become more efficient and thorough in your literature searches.  You will learn how to manage your references more effectively and how to share your work with your research group (if applicable).  Please arrive prepared with your thesis research questions so that we can work through your real research problems for your thesis project.   If you have a laptop, please bring it with you to the workshop.         The skills and knowledge obtained in this workshop will help you, more generally, with your course work.  These skills will also be very helpful for those continuing on to graduate school or a professional school. 

 

Sept 22 –   Friday Morning Workshop   9:30 to 11:20 am in UCC 41.   The focus is on NSERC psychology research domains.  Attend this workshop if your thesis topic is in one of the following domains: cognitive psychology, sensation & perception, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, developmental cognitive neuroscience, animal & bird cognition, and learning & behaviour.

 

Sept 22 -   Friday Afternoon Workshop  12:30 to 2:20 in UCC 41.   The focus is on SSHRC psychology research domains.  Attend this workshop if your thesis topic is in one of the following domains: clinical psychology, personality, measurement, social psychology, educational psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and developmental psychology.   Note: If your thesis topic is in one of these SSHRC domains, but also includes substantial elements of neuroscience (e.g., an fMRI study in clinical, social or personality psychology, you might consider also attending the morning workshop).