University of Waterloo
Environment 3 Building
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
Tel. (519) 888-4567
For students entering January 2017 onward
Under special circumstances, students may fulfil their capstone requirement by completing a major research paper (MRP) focused on an issue related to economic development or innovation under the supervision of a faculty member.
For students who entered before January 2017
The major research paper is a component of your program requirements.
The major research paper (MRP) will examine a significant topic in the local economic development field, and typically involves some original data collection and analysis.
Proposals are developed during the first Fall term and it is highly recommended that students identify a potential supervisor early and include them in the proposal process. Students are encouraged to continue to develop their literature review through the Winter term. Some students complete the MRP during the Spring term of their first year, while others continue to work on the paper during the fourth term of enrolment in the program.
The paper should be a minimum of 60 pages in length (excluding front matter, references, and appendices) and include:
- problem statement
- status of research
- research procedures
- findings, and
Ethics clearance, through UW's Office of Research Ethics, is required for research involving human participants. Ethics clearance is necessary prior to recruiting participants for studies.
Students entering the program from Fall 2013 onwards only need to identify a supervisor. A Committee Member is included only if the supervisor and student deem it necessary.
When reading the committee and defense procedures below, affected students should disregard references to the Committee Member.
The Examination Committee is comprised of:
- the Supervisor
- a Committee Member
- a Reader
Supervisor and committee member
All students must complete their major research paper under the supervision of an supervisor and a Committee Member. Both should be faculty members, at least one of whom has a regular appointment in the Faculty of Environment.
The supervisor is the student's primary supervisor and will make final administrative decisions.
The student is encouraged to consult with the supervisor regarding the selection of the Committee Member. The Committee Member may be involved early on as the student plans and carries out the data collection and analysis, or may just be involved in commenting on drafts of chapters and/or a full draft of the MRP.
The Reader must have an arm’s length relationship to the student’s research and only becomes involved in reading and commenting on the MRP at the defense . Their role is provide an external perspective on the research.
The Reader is selected by the supervisor when the committee is ready to schedule the defense. Normally, the Reader will have two weeks to review the final document.
The supervisor and Committee Member should be in agreement that the MRP draft has been sufficiently revised and is ready for defense before a defense date is scheduled.
The research paper must be defended successfully before the Examination Committee.
- Once the student, supervisor and Committee Member have determined that the MRP is ready for defence, the student submits three complete and final draft copies to the LED Graduate Program Administrator at least 2 weeks before the defense date. The supervisor, Committee Member, and Reader each receive a copy, and an electronic version is held for display.
- The supervisor will schedule the defence, ensuring that all committee members are available, and notify the Graduate Program Administrator of the date and time of the defence. The date of the defence should be scheduled at a minimum of two weeks after the date that the student has submitted the MRP to the Graduate Program Administrator to ensure that the Reader has sufficient time to read the MRP prior to the defence.
- The Graduate Program Administrator will book a room for the defence. Any equipment required by the student (data projector, lap top, etc.) should be booked by the student either with MAD or with Eilleen Davidson in the Dean’s Office (depending on the room selected; the Graduate Program Administrator will notify the student of whom to contact for equipment bookings).
- Having received the defence copy of the MRP, a list of Committee Members, and a mutually agreeable date, the Graduate Program Administrator will prepare a Notice of Defence, and submit this for signature to the Program Director. The Notice of Defence is distributed throughout the Faculty and posted on the bulletin board outside the Graduate Program Administrator's office and on the bulletin board by the Environment Coffee Shop and on the LED faculty and student e-groups.
- The Graduate Program Administrator will distribute copies of the MRP to the Committee Members and make available a copy for any interested person prior to the defence.
- Once the Notice of Defence has been distributed, a defence report will be prepared for the supervisor for completion after the defence. If changes to the MRP are required, the deadline for completion of the changes should be indicated on the report along with the name of the Committee Member who will approve the changes. The completed defence report (including all Committee Member signatures) must be returned to the Graduate Program Administrator following the defence.
- If the outcome of the defence is “Accepted,” or once any required changes have been completed and approved by the supervisor, the supervisor will notify the Graduate Program Administrator that the changes have been made, and the Graduate Program Administrator will prepare a Research Paper Acceptance form for the Graduate Studies Office as proof that the MRPr has been completed, defended and deemed acceptable. The designation ACC will then be recorded on the student’s unofficial transcript beside the MRP milestone.
- For the defence itself the candidate should prepare a presentation of 20-30 minutes, outlining a summary of the Research Paper research, methodology, outcomes, and conclusions, as appropriate. A question period follows the presentation, with questions posed by the committee and supervisor and then by members of the audience. After the question period, the candidate and the audience will be asked to leave the room while the committee determines the Research Paper defence decision. Defence categories used in the Faculty of Environment are outlined below. The decision of the committee is indicated on the Research Paper Report, which is to be completed by the supervisor and returned to the Graduate Program Administrator for retention in the student’s file. The possible defence decisions are:
- Research Paper may require typographical and/or minor editorial corrections to be made to the satisfaction of the supervisor (see bold type below).
- ACCEPTED WITH MINOR MODIFICATIONS
- Research Paper requires minor changes in substance or major editorial changes which are to be made to the satisfaction of members of the Examining Committee designated by the Committee. Normally such changes should be completed within four (4) weeks of the date of the examination.
- ACCEPTED WITH MAJOR MODIFICATIONS
- Research Paper requires more substantive changes but will be accepted when these changes are made. Changes are to be made to the satisfaction of those members of the Examining committee designated by the Committee. The Examining Committee's report must include a brief outline of the nature of the changes required and the date by which the changes are to be completed.
- DECISION DEFERRED
- Research Paper requires modifications of a substantial nature, which make the acceptability of the Research Paper questionable. The Examining committee’s report must contain a brief outline of the modifications expected and should indicate the time by which the changes are to be completed. The revised Research Paper must be re-submitted for re-examination. The re-examination will follow the same procedures as for the initial submission except that the display period may be reduced or eliminated at the discretion of the Graduate Officer. Normally, the same Examining Committee will serve. A decision to defer is open only once for each candidate.
- Research Paper is rejected. The Examining Committee shall report the reasons for rejection. A student whose Research Paper has been rejected will be required to withdraw from the Masters program.
- Research Paper Formatting and Submission Procedures:
- Students must make all revisions and corrections required by their examining committee and have these approved by their supervisor before submitting their Research Paper to the Graduate Program Administrator for binding.
- Students should follow the Thesis Guidelines outlined by the Graduate Studies Office for formatting of their Research Paper.
- Please note that Research Papers are NOT submitted electronically to UWSpace, as are theses. One copy of the Research Paper is required for binding, which will be arranged by the Graduate Program Administrator. Students can order additional copies of the paper for themselves. The cost of binding is currently $14.55 per copy, including the copy required by the department. Payment will be required in advance of the copies being sent for binding. Binding can take up to one month. The bound copies will be returned to the Graduate Program Administrator, who will contact the student when the copies have arrived. The required bound copy will be kept in the Faculty Thesis Library and any personal copies sent to the student or distributed according to the student’s directions.
- Once the Research Paper has been defended and deemed “Accepted,” the student must complete an Intention to Graduate/Program Completion Form in order to Convocate. The deadline for submission of this form for June Convocation is April 30 and for October Convocation is August 31. This form should be completed by the student (including signature) and the supervisor and left with the Graduate Program Administrator, who will obtain the signature of the Graduate Officer before submitting the form to the Graduate Studies Office.
- If students would like a graduate photograph, they may contact Lifetouch Photography.
Past Major Research Papers
Past Major Research Papers
|Tian, Wen: Knowledge Dissemination through Online and Offline Communication Channels: An Examination of Audiences’ Attitudes, Channel Effectiveness, and Engagement Drivers (2015). Supervisor, Dr. Amelia Clarke.|