The Masters Thesis in Applied Behavior Analysis: Rationale, Characteristics, and Student Advisement Strategies
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We have never collected data on the number of hours spent meeting with students, driving to and negotiating research sites in schools and agencies, serving as second observers, and reading, editing, and re-reading each successive draft of the four chapters that comprise the thesis. Had we known beforehand the level of involvement we were committing ourselves to, we may not have been so enthusiastic in our unanimous decision 14 years ago to require the thesis for all of our masters students. Nevertheless, our experience has convinced us that the benefits derived by the thesis requirement far outweigh its costs. We encourage colleagues who train masters-level applied behavior analysts to consider a research thesis as the capstone accomplishment for their students. Finally, we invite faculty in programs requiring a thesis to share the outcomes with the behavior analysis community.
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