Master's Paper Guidelines
The purpose of the Master’s paper is to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the theoretical and empirical context of advanced nursing practice. The paper takes the form of a pilot study and a clinical nursing paper.
A pilot study is the implementation of the methodology of a proposed research study. The sample size may vary depending upon the nature of the proposed study and the research design. The paper may focus on testing the feasibility of an instrument, description of a phenomenon, or testing of hypotheses. Students may work in groups of up to four members. They may take on the responsibility for a portion of an ongoing faculty project or a research project in progress at a clinical site and develop their pilot accordingly.
The clinical paper begins with a thorough review of theoretical and empirical literature relating to the topic of interest. From this review of the literature, a conceptual or theoretical framework is derived which structures the focus of the paper. The purpose of the clinical paper is to utilize existing theories and research findings in the solution of nursing practice problems. The master’s paper may:
; Describe, interpret or explain the nursing process in a single case (case study)
in any setting.
; Present generalizations from experience of several cases of the same clinical
nursing problem in one or in different practice settings (multiple cases study).
; Present finding of an investigation and their implications for nursing education,
research, and practice.
; Show the synthesis of knowledge and demonstrate its use in developing a
plan of action in a particular nursing situation and/or practice setting and
contribute toward the formulation of nursing theory (research utilization
The format of the paper must follow the guidelines of the Division of Graduate Studies' Regulations for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation Manual (latest
edition) and the Publication Manual (latest edition) of the American
Psychological Association (APA). These guidelines are available in the FIU bookstore. See also FIU Regulations for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation (latest
edition), for additional guidelines.
The Master's Paper Committee
The role of the Master’s Paper Committee is to insure the student’s development of a paper that reflects a high level of scholarship. The committee serves to provide guidance expertise and support throughout the student’s scholarly endeavor.
Selection of a committee is a follows:
; The student selects a qualified nursing faculty who is actively teaching in the
MSN program and contracts with that faculty member to serve as her/his
major professor (committee chair).
; The student and the major professor agree upon the selection of the
additional committee members as determined by the research option selected.
; To formalize the Committee, signatures from all Committee members are
obtained by the MSN student. To obtain a form for recording Committee
membership, see: FIU Graduate Student Forms and then Form M-1
Appointment of Thesis Committee. This form is used for recording
Master's Paper committee membership only; it is not sent to the University
Graduate School. If a Committee member is not FIU faculty, his/her
curriculum vitae must be attached to the form.
; The student completes the form, maintains the accuracy of the membership,
secures the needed signatures, and submits the form to the Director of the
Graduate Program. The student retains a copy for her/his own record.
; If a change in committee membership is desired or necessitated, the student
confers with the member concerned, reviews this change with the major
professor, and selects a replacement to maintain the appropriate membership
; If a change in the major professor is desired or necessitated, the student
confers with the major professor and submits the request in writing to the
Director of the Graduate Program.
; If a new major professor is to be selected, the student will submit a new
signed MPCAF form.
A Master’s Paper Committee is composed of a minimum of three (3) members distributed as follows:
; The major professor, who is a full, or associate, or assistant professor, must
be a member of the nursing faculty, have a doctoral degree and actively
teach in the MSN program.
; The second member must be a member of the nursing faculty who holds a
; The third member must be from a discipline outside of nursing who holds a
doctoral degree and is expert in the subject matter or methodology of the
; Additional members may be from the nursing faculty and/or department other
; The majority of the committee members must be from Nursing. Responsibilities of Major Professor
The responsibilities of the Major Professor are as follows:
; Provide expertise in the substantive area and the research process.
; Convene committee meetings as needed to approve the proposal, hear the
student’s oral presentation and take care of other related issues.
; Review editorial and substantive changes required by the committee following
the student’s oral presentation. Extensive revision may need the total
; Submit students’ grade for NGR 6970 according to schedule.
Responsibilities of Committee Members
Complement/supplement the Major Professor’s expertise in the substantive area and
the research process.
Provide student with timely feedback on editorial and substantive changes in any aspect of the research paper.
Conduct individual conference with the student as needed in any phase of the student’s research experience.
Participate in committee meetings to review/approve the proposal and hear the student’s oral presentation and/or other issues.
Participate in the final evaluation of student’s research competence.
Completion of the Master’s paper experience does not require an oral defense. Instead, the candidate(s) is/are to give an oral presentation of the paper before the Master’s Paper Committee presided by the Major Professor.
Although the committee does not evaluate the oral presentation in terms of “pass/fail”, the quality of the presentation will be considered in assigning a grade for the Master’s paper.
The oral presentation may be conducted during the final examination week. The Master’s Paper must be fully approved and submitted to the Binder by the end of the
semester or date indicated as condition for graduation certification by the Director of the Graduate Program.
If this deadline is not met and if the Major Professor cannot provide a grade by the end of the term, the student must register for NGR 6970 again for the following term.
Students must submit the bound original copy of the final version of the Master’s paper to the Director of the Graduate Program. The signature page of the bound
copies must show the original signatures of the Major Professor and committee members.
Do NOT submit any copy of the master’s paper to the University Graduate School.
The major professor and committee members may ask a student to give each member a bound copy of the master’s paper.