Child Development 290 (01)
Seminar in Culminating Experience
Fall, 2013 - Sheri Hembree, Ph.D.




bullet Objectives
bullet Class meetings
bullet Required Readings
bullet Assignments
bullet Grading

Additional Policies


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Course Description

This seminar focuses on elements and expectations of the culminating experience, including: (a) defining and narrowing a topic for study, (b) development of a literature review, (c) department (APA) and University format requirements, (d) writing style and quality, (e) revisions and critical feedback, (f) methodological and data analytic decisions for thesis and, (g) time management and the social/psychological dimensions of thesis/project process. Prerequisite: Advancement to candidacy; completion of at least 20 units of course work towards the MA, instructor permission. Graded Credit/No Credit. 3 units. May not be taken concurrently with CHDV 504 without departmental permission.











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Course Objectives

The course is designed to prepare the student to work effectively with his/her sponsor in CHDV 504. To this end, upon successful completion of this course students will have:

  • Gained an understanding of thesis and project expectations (at department and University level)  

  • Read theory and empirical research in the discipline and used it to develop a feasible research question or project idea  

  • Developed critical thinking skills about research related to their topics  

  • Gained knowledge of APA and University format for theses/projects  

  • Developed academic reading and writing skills and skills for editing and revising written work  

  • Conducted a comprehensive literature search related to their topic  

  • Met with and secured a sponsor and second reader for their thesis/project

  • Developed strategies for completing their thesis/project 

  • Completed a written literature review in support of their thesis/project question or idea  

  • Explored methodological and practical implementation of the thesis/project – and  developed an outline of methods chapter  

  • Written a draft of their petition for instructor and sponsor review  

  • Gained knowledge of Human subjects requirements and completed a draft of human  subjects application for their thesis/project, if applicable








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Class Meetings



Class meets Tues  5:00 - 7:50 p.m. Eureka Hall 313E 

Some of the course is conducted as independent study (Course will not meet every week). Please check the course schedule for activities and specific meeting times

Instructor Office Hours: Mon: 10:30am – 12 :00 pm and 1:15-2:45 pm (or by appointment)

Instructor Contact: BRH 232;  278-4365 or






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Required Reading


1) Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (fifth edition).

2) Additional supplementary readings are required and are posted on the course web page (see course schedule). Please see instructor for password.

Due dates for readings are listed on the course schedule. Please complete the assigned reading before Tuesday's class meeting and bring your assigned reading for that day with you to the class session.













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Click on the green links to obtain detailed handouts.

1)   Attendance/participation in class discussions & activities. A good deal of the course is set up for peer discussion and feedback, as well as the establishment of important peer support for completing your thesis/project. If you do not attend regularly, you will miss out on these important sessions! Please plan to attend…and to do the assigned reading/work. Failure to attend and participate in class sessions may result in having to repeat the course.

2)   Research Journal Assignments Students will keep a research journal as a means of reflecting upon course material and the thesis/project. Please see course web page for specific journal assignments. Journals will be collected and reviewed twice during the semester, but it is expected that the writing assignments will be done on the days they are due as they often serve as the basis for class discussion.

3)   Research Article Summary and Annotated Bibliography  -  A research article summary and an annotated bibliography (a list of citations for books and articles related to your topic followed by a brief descriptive paragraph) are due mid semester. These assignments are designed to aid you in gathering and making sense of the research on your topic.

4)  Literature Review and Methodological Overview The final project for the class is a comprehensive literature review and methodological overview that will serve as the basis for the thesis/project. A draft of the literature review is due for instructor review earlier in the semester with the final draft due at the last class session. This literature review and methodological overview will become Ch. 2 and Ch 3 of the thesis/project during CHDV 504.

6)   Petition -  The petition, a summary of your proposed thesis/project approved by your sponsor and second reader, along with Human subjects application (if applicable), is due to the department before you begin data collection or formulation of your project. A detailed handout and discussion of this assignment is posted on the course web site and will be discussed in class. At least two drafts of this petition are due in this course. Ideally, petitions should be ready for submission by the beginning of the 504 semester, but petitions may be considered by your first and second reader at any point. 










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Grades and Grading Policy

This course is graded on a credit/no credit basis. Each assignment (below) will be assigned an unsatisfactory, satisfactory or excellent “grade”. To receive credit for the course, you must demonstrate at least a satisfactory grade in each of these areas:

  1. Attendance/Participation in class discussions
  2. Research Journal
  3. Written assignments related to thesis/project: drafts of literature review, peer reviews, annotated bibliography, research article summaries, petition
  4. Literature review and methodological overview

 In most cases, assignments deemed unsatisfactory can be resubmitted. Please note that incomplete grades are given to students with special circumstances that prevent them from finishing the course, not for unsatisfactory work. Unsatisfactory work may result in the student needing to repeat the course.













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Additional Policies

  • Students are expected to practice academic honesty in completing assignments  and cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Academic dishonesty may result in an ‘F’ for the assignment and/or the course. If you have any questions about this policy, please see the instructor. 

  • Out of respect for me and the other students in the course (who may be presenting material themselves), please refrain from distracting behavior such as tardiness, leaving early, cell phone use, or side conversations.

  • Incomplete ('I') grades are not assigned UNLESS there is a compelling reason to do so. An incomplete will be assigned ONLY with prior consultation and approval of instructor.

  • I wish to include persons with disability in this course.  Please let me know if there are any accommodations I can make in curriculum, instruction, or assessment to facilitate your full participation.



Send problems, comments or suggestions to: Updated: August 15, 2013

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