Thesis - MA
Run by School of Psychology
60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits
Semester 1 & 2
Organiser: Dr Gemma Griffith
Overall aims and purpose
Completion of a written thesis based on empirical or theoretical research into an aspect of mindfulness-based approaches jointly agreed between the student and his or her supervisor or the thesis convenor.
As part of the assessment for the module PMP-4004 Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Research, students will have already written a research proposal for their Thesis study. Students who have been given exemption from PMP-4004 are required to submit a research proposal for their MA thesis, which has to be agreed with the convenor before registration for the thesis.
The formal written thesis will describe the basis, approach, conduct, descriptive analysis, results and implications of the student’s research, as follows:
- Review of relevant literature as background to the study.
- Methods used – from research or (e.g.) clinical audit paradigms.
- Obtaining ethical approval for the study where required.
- Collection of data for study.
- Results – from research or (e.g.) clinical audit.
- Discussion of relevance and implications of results.
- Summary of results and implications.
Alternatively, students may write an MA thesis consisting of an extended and structured literature review of a topic appropriate to mindfulness-based approaches.
Students who have completed the four taught mindfulness-based modules, and wish to proceed to a full MA degree in Mindfulness-Based Approaches, are invited to submit a thesis of 10,000-20,000 words (typically around 15,000 words). Students must have previously completed the module PMP-4004 Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Research, or have been granted exemption from this module because of previous relevant postgraduate research. However, prior scientific research experience is not a requirement for the thesis, and students will not be expected to carry out inferential scientific research into mindfulness-based approaches as part of their thesis, or within their professional role. The MA Thesis module is designed for students whose main interest is in teaching or otherwise using mindfulness-based approaches within their professional work. Working with a personal supervisor, students will conduct, analyse and complete primary or secondary research into mindfulness-based approaches in an area of their choice, informed by appropriate literature on mindfulness and its clinical applications, including published research, and the student’s observations and experiences. The thesis will describe the basis and approach of the study, and the collection, analysis and implications of the data. Alternatively, students may write an MA thesis consisting of an extended and structured literature review of a topic appropriate to mindfulness-based approaches.
All parts of the assignment question are answered.
- Entirely appropriate and accurate use of language.
- Exceptionally clear line of argument and structure.
- Each stage/section is explicitly and sensibly linked to the previous section and to the overall argument (i.e. clear progression and relevance)
- Details integrated into a coherent whole with clear and well-argued conclusions.
- Analytical in style and approach
- Integrates a wide range of appropriate material and makes relevant connections between different parts of a given course or across different courses.
- Critically evaluates the evidence in a logical manner.
- Goes well beyond the information given in the lectures (and/or project meetings)
- Shows clear evidence of extensive and relevant reading.
- Has originality of exposition; the author’s own thinking is readily apparent.
Excellent understanding shown of the wider evidence base for mindfulness- based approaches, together with its context in health care and perhaps in other areas. In-depth analysis and insightful scientific appraisal of published research into mindfulness-based approaches are shown. Very comprehensive and accurate coverage, indicating that the student has gone beyond the core and recommended readings and understands the area in depth. Writes coherently with clarity of argument and expression. Originality of ideas and a clear understanding of practical research methodology are shown in research proposal for thesis.
All or most parts of the assignment question are answered.
- Appropriate and accurate use of language, with very few errors.
- Mostly clear line of argument and structure; so relationships between successive parts are generally easy to follow.
- Integrates detail into a coherent whole and guides reader to a reasoned conclusion.
- Good understanding of the material as demonstrated by a reasonably clear explanation of the issues in question.
- Supports most assertions via theoretical justification and/or reference to relevant empirical research, showing evidence of some reading beyond the information given in lecture.
- Fairly comprehensive in scope and largely relevant to the topic and issues.
- Explanatory in style and approach, with some critical interpretation.
- Good range of sources and data and careful use of evidence.
Comprehensive and accurate coverage, showing good use of lecture material and core readings, with evidence of some further reading, and demonstrating ability to appraise the evidence scientifically. Shows understanding of research methods applicable to, and the published evidence base for, mindfulness-based approaches. Research proposal for thesis shows some originality and detailed preparation.
Attempts to answer the question directly but lapses occasionally into irrelevancies.
- Generally accurate but some omissions and errors.
- Tends to make assertions without clear supporting evidence or reasoning.
- Has a somewhat loose line of argument; gives information that is mostly relevant but often does not explain why it is relevant.
- Often relies on the reader to form links between successive parts.
- Answer based largely on lecture material or on one or two essential readings.
- Descriptive in style and approach, more than analytic.
Reasonably comprehensive coverage, indicating generally accurate understanding, based on lecture material and core readings only. Limited critical appraisal. Straightforward research proposal for thesis.
Choose and describe an effective yet practical study worthy of an MA thesis, usually including one or more focused research questions or hypotheses.
Collect primary or secondary data for study in a manner that is auditable and, where appropriate, sensitive to the rights and circumstances of research participants.
Analyse study data in an appropriate and defensible fashion.
Through critical discussion of study data, derive appropriate and relevant conclusions.
Review the literature relevant to their study.
Gain ethical approval for their study where necessary.
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Teaching and Learning Strategy
one to one supervision
Supervision via email contact, submitting drafts of ethics application and parts of thesis
Study, writing ethics application, collecting and analysing data and write up of thesis.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
- Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
- Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
- Retrieve and organise information effectively.
- Handle primary source material critically.
- Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
- Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
- Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
- Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
- Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
- Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.
Resource implications for students
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/pmp-4007.html