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Athabasca University

Individualized Study Final Project

MAIS 701 Final Project, one of the options for completing the MA-IS degree, is designed to facilitate extended research work under the direction of a course professor/s. The scope of the project, however, must fall within the research area of faculty members associated with the MA-IS. The Interdisciplinary Project allows students to explore an intellectual question, to relate their research to a work situation, or to engage a community problem. Theoretical and empirical approaches should draw from the student's course work and demonstrate an integrative approach to knowledge creation. The project may involve field, archival, and library research, and result in the production of a major report or paper. A project may combine a theoretical synopsis with applied work to produce an academic publication, innovative report, review, analysis, or enquiry in a chosen field that integrates learning from the MA-IS program.

Each MA-IS project proposal should include:

  • a description of the project and its scope,
  • the purpose of your topic / thesis statement,
  • the significance / importance of your topic,
  • a working paragraph outlining theme,
  • the issues you will be addressing,
  • the theories to be explored,
  • an outline of the methodology (How are you going to do this project?),
  • a working bibliography (references which you think you might use),
  • identification of the relationship of your topic to all your other course work, particularly to your focus area(s). That is, what will you be "integrating"?
  • identification of your tentative timelines.

Checking out resources on how to write a proposal may also be helpful.

As you begin the last third of your study plan you should begin planning for the final project. This will include identifying a topic and choosing a project supervisor from the list of MAIS faculty. Each name in the MA-IS faculty list is hyperlinked to a page indicating that faculty member’s specific academic expertise and supervisory interests. If students need help identifying a supervisor for their topic, they are encouraged to contact the MA-IS Office.

Before commencing your final project, the completion of both core courses is required, as well as completion of all the courses to be applied toward your focus area(s), and your electives as outlined in your study plan.

You should review your notes from MAIS 602 on how to make a good project proposal, and then start reading material which would assist you with your project.

Students are required to submit to the course professor/s a Learning Contract, which specifies the project to be undertaken and the timelines for completing each stage of the project.

Students proposing research involving human subjects will be required to submit a written proposal, acceptable to their professor/s, prior to seeking ethics approval for research. For more detailed information, refer to the MA-IS Graduate Handbook section titled "Ethical Research Guidelines."

Please Note: Copyright permission is required when you want to include a substantial amount of someone else's work in your project. For more information, please refer to Copyright Information for MA-IS Projects (PDF)

The project paper or project report should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words (c. 25-30 pp in 12 pt type). Only under exceptional circumstances, and with the approval in advance of the Program Director, will MAIS 701 Final Projects be permitted to exceed 10,000 words (inclusive of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography or works cited, and appendices).

Learning Contract

A learning contract is typically a letter of agreement between a professor and a student. It should include a detailed plan stating the work to be carried out by the student, intended outcomes, a description of the role of the faculty member, a plan for assessing the work undertaken, and timelines for completing each stage of the work. Students identify, with faculty, the key books, articles, and other materials in a subject area to be read. For the reading and project courses, students are required to submit a detailed learning contract (approved by the faculty supervisor) to the MA-IS Office for approval.

Updated October 01 2018 by Student & Academic Services

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