PPA 500, Section Two:
Thesis Seminar

Fall, 1998

Professor Ted Lascher
3035 Business Building
(916)278-4864 (voice, office)
(916)278-6544(fax, office)
(530)758-5687 (home--no calls after 8:00 p.m.)


Meeting time and place:
Five Saturdays, 9a.m.-12p.m.
To be announced
Business 3035

Office hours: after class & by appointment



The purpose of this course can be stated simply: help students to confront and overcome (very) common problems that hamper completion of an acceptable master's thesis/project. In particular, we will focus upon making constructive revisions to writings in draft form. To do so we will engage in interactive, group discussion of actual work by CSUS students.

The class meetings themselves will revolve around two sets of student presentations, detailed in more depth below. Student presentations will be supplemented by discussions of the (limited) outside reading, and remarks by a recent MPPA graduate about strategy for timely completion of a master's project.



In either the second or third class meeting, each student will be required to make a short oral presentation about a "new" thesis/project chapter (i.e. something other than a chapter completed for Rob Wassmer's PPA 500). For example, the chapter might present a study methodology or key project findings. A written draft of the chapter itself will be due no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding the Saturday in which the student's presentation is scheduled. The presentation itself should contain the following elements:

o A brief synopsis of the topic itself, and why it is important;

o A summary of the key points in the chapter; and

o Most importantly, an analysis of the key challenges you faced in writing the chapter,
and the areas which you think could be most improved.

Much of our actual discussion will be devoted to how students might best address the problems/challenges they identify for themselves.

In either the fourth or fifth class session, each student will be required to make a second oral presentation. This presentation will concern a revised chapter. The revised chapter may be the one discussed earlier in PPA 299, but that is not necessary (e.g. a student may discuss a revised literature review chapter, the first draft of which was completed for Rob's PPA 500). By no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding the scheduled presentation, students should provide me with: 1) a written draft of the revised chapter; 2) a copy of the earlier version of the chapter; and 3) a short memo indicating what changes were made to the earlier version, and why.



The only required text is as follows.

Donald M. Murray, The Craft of Revision, 3rd ed. (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995).

In addition, I will put one recent CSUS thesis on reserve at the library, and may add another thesis and short readings to the reserve readings, in accordance with people=s interests/needs.



The course will be graded on a credit/no credit basis. The minimum requirements for a passing grade are 1) attending every Saturday class session (in an emergency situation, one Saturday can be missed if authorization is obtained from me), and 2) completing the assignments. No incomplete grades will be given under any circumstances. Any student who cannot meet the above requirements should drop the course.



September 12

Important Note: On this Saturday only, the class will meet at 11:00 a.m. for one hour only.


1) Summary of the course, and course requirements
2) Scheduling of student presentations



October 3


Presentations on new chapters



October 24


1) Presentations on new chapters
2) Discussion with a recent PPA graduate (or graduates)


Kelly McCoy, "Education-Based vs. Enforcement-Based Restaurant
Inspection Styles," unpublished MPPA Thesis, California
State University, Sacramento, 1997
Others to be added

November 21


1) Strategies for revising earlier drafts
2) Presentations of revised chapters


Murray, The Craft of Revision, chapters 1-6

December 12


1) Strategies for revising earlier drafts
2) Presentations of revised chapters


Murray, The Craft of Revision, chapters 7-end