INFO 299 Thesis
Students may satisfy the University’s requirement for a Master’s degree by either completing a thesis or an e-Portfolio. The thesis option (referred to as Plan A in the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations guidelines and the University Catalog) is designed to provide an opportunity for those who genuinely enjoy both the discovery of new knowledge and the development of a thoughtfully drafted composition that communicates that knowledge to the information profession.
An iSchool thesis must be scholarly research on a topic of significance. The completion of a thesis is a major undertaking. It represents an organized research effort, where the student makes an original contribution to the field. It may take as many as two or more years to complete.
The iSchool thesis typically involves the following steps:
A student has to find his/her own thesis chair by talking about the proposed research with SJSU iSchool faculty members who are on the “willing to oversee a thesis” list. Currently, the faculty willing to serve as chair are: Dr. Anthony Bernier, Dr. Mary Ann Harlan, Dr. Geoffrey Liu, If interested in proposing a thesis you need to work with one of these three faculty members. Whichever one of the three you approach will expect to see in writing a preliminary thesis proposal that identifies the research topic, shows the originality of the research based on a literature review, and contains a proposed research methodology. The student should have this developed before approaching one of the above listed faculty members to ask them to act as chair.
Alternatively a student may develop a thesis proposal in INFO 285, with possible additional work done afterward, under the Thesis Chair’s supervision, for one additional credit unit of INFO 298).
Also please note: the Office of Graduate Studies and Research does not provide thesis proposal guidelines. Students are responsible for developing the final version of the thesis proposal on their own, under the direction of the Thesis Chair and before finding other members of the Thesis Committee.
- The student forms a thesis committee.
- The student conducts the investigation and gathering of data/materials/evidence.
- The student writes the thesis, and gets it reviewed and approved by their thesis committee.
The thesis will not only be reviewed by your thesis committee for content but will also be reviewed by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research for acceptable university thesis requirements. Because of this, the process for completing and submitting a thesis is an intensive one that requires students to follow strict deadlines and requirements.
IMPORTANT: For current University Thesis guidelines, detailed instructions on how, where, and when to submit the thesis, as well as general contact information regarding thesis-related questions, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies and Research website.
It is essential that the University procedures and timelines detailed on the Office of Graduate Studies and Research website be strictly followed.
Use of Human Subjects in Research and Institutional Research Board (IRB)
If your thesis includes data obtained from human subjects (experiments, surveys, interviews, etc.), you must get approval from the SJSU Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB). Here is an online IRB Workshop that includes video tutorials as well as sample protocols, informational documents, and discipline specific handbooks.
iSchool Step-by-Step Procedures
In addition to all the requirements and timelines detailed on the Graduate Studies and Research thesis pages, the student must follow the iSchool’s procedures, outlined below.
- Students wishing to undertake the development of a thesis must have completed the course INFO 285 – Applied Research Methods in Library and Information Science. (This requirement may be waived, with the iSchool’s Coordinator of Admissions and Academic Advising’s approval of a petition, if a student has taken a graduate level research methods course within the last five years from the start of their MLIS degree.)
- The student must identify a faculty member from the list of SJSU iSchool faculty willing to serve as a thesis chair. The members of that list are: Dr. Anthony Bernier, Dr. Mary Ann Harlan, Dr. Geoffrey Liu, The student should submit to the proposed chair a preliminary thesis proposal that identifies the research topic by means of a hypothesis or research questions, shows the originality of the research based on a literature review, contains a proposed research methodology, and a timetable of research implementation.
- Once the Thesis Chair has agreed and the proposal developed, the student identifies and forms the rest of the Thesis Committee. The committee consists of at least three people (including the Thesis Chair). One of the other committee members (in addition to the Chair) must be a SJSU iSchool tenured or tenure track faculty member. The following faculty are willing to be members of a thesis committee if the topic is of interest: Dr. Anthony Bernier, Dr. Joni Bodart, Dr. Mary Ann Harlan, Dr. Deborah Hicks, Dr. Darra Hofman, Dr. Geoffrey Liu, Dr. Souvick Ghosh.
- The third member may be a lecturer from the iSchool, from another department or university, or a member of the information profession. The full-time lecturers from the iSchool who are willing to serve as the third committee member (subject to topic) are: Dr. Sue Alman, Jason Kaltenbacher M.B.A, Beth Wrenn-Estes MLIS.
- Once the committee has been assembled, the student will seek approval for a final thesis proposal from the Thesis Committee. The committee’s responsibilities are to advise the student regarding research design and methodology, to read drafts of the manuscript, and to eventually approve and sign off on the completed thesis. The student should expect to revise the proposal, perhaps several times. All suggested revisions of the proposal must be completed to the Committee’s satisfaction before approval of the proposal can be granted.
- Once the proposal is approved the student will enroll in INFO 299 Thesis, for 3 semester units, to carry out the proposed research and to write the thesis. To enroll in INFO 299, the student must first obtain a permission number from the Chair of the Thesis Committee. If the thesis is not completed within the semester in which a student enrolls in INFO 299 an RP (report in progress) grade will be awarded. Effective Fall 2012 students who have an RP (report in progress) will be required to sign up for a 1 unit class called INFO 1290R each semester (after the initial semester of INFO 299) until they complete the thesis-per Academic Senate policy F11-2 . INFO 1290R is only available in Special Session. Regular session students who have an RP will be switched to Special Session. The fee for INFO 1290R is $280. Students with RP grades will be notified by the Registrar’s office when they can enroll in INFO 1290R. It will be after the last day to add for the semester. Students who have RPs on their records prior to S12 are not subject to this policy.
- The student presents the thesis draft to the Thesis Chair for initial review, with the other committee members reading the draft only after the Thesis Chair’s screening. The student should not attempt to submit a finished document before the Thesis Chair and other committee members have had an opportunity to evaluate the work. The student is advised to present each section of the thesis draft to the Thesis Chair as it is completed, instead of submitting the whole thesis draft in one bundle.
- If committee members have concerns about any segment of the draft, it is expected that those concerns will be clearly communicated to the student in a timely fashion. The student should expect that revisions will be required.
- Once all committee members have approved the content of the thesis draft, the draft must be prepared in accordance with Graduate Studies and Research’s requirements of style and format, by following its style sheet for manuscript preparation.
- At this point, the final thesis draft must be submitted to the Thesis Chair for final checking for consistency in formatting and style, and once it is approved by the Thesis Chair, the candidate must follow the submission procedures on the Graduate Studies and Research thesis web pages.
- It is the student’s responsibility to follow the procedures and guidelines detailed on Graduate Studies and Research thesis web pages, and to know the deadline dates and observe them by submitting the thesis, in an acceptable format, by the appointed time, and to the appointed place.