Local Government ProgramWestern Social Science

PA 9931 - Final Research Paper

Although the Research Report is usually taken in the summer term, it is possible to take this course in any term with permission from the Program Director. The research report is an integral part of the MPA course of study and the final program requirement. Its main objective should be to apply what has been learned in MPA courses to an analysis of: 1) some aspect of the political and administrative process within a given local government; or 2) possible responses to a particular policy problem at the local level. The report should be about 40 to 50 double-spaced typewritten pages in length, comprising about 8,000-10,000 words. Soon after completing the course on research methods, each student submits a research proposal and is assigned a research supervisor. Together, the supervisor and student work out an outline and research strategy. Students will normally present their research proposals and their preliminary findings to the seminar class "Issues in Local Government" in the final summer term of their program. Reports can be revised for final submission following presentation to the seminar. Please see the research report guidelines for details.

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Research Ethics

MPA Research Report projects that involve opinion interviews or survey work generally require review by Western's Research Ethics Board.  Below you will find several documents to assist you and your supervisor in determining whether your project will require ethics review, and if so, how you can go about this process.  The "Ethics Submissions Guide" discusses which kinds of projects require ethics review, and how you should go about this process.  It also contains links to some supplementary resources.  The "Ethics Review Submission - All Questions" is a blank sample ethics review submission form.  

The "Student Example" is a completed and approved Ethics Submission from a 2016 MPA Research Report project.  Our thanks to the student, Dimitra Kasimos, for allowing us to post this.  The submission includes five elements (in this order): 1. the ethics submission form; 2. the student's response to revisions required by the Ethics Review Board; 3. a recruitment e-mail; 4. a letter of information and consent; 5. a survey instrument.  NOTE that changes made by Dimitra from the initial to the final version of the ethics submission have been left visible in the document for your reference.  You can review this document for ideas about wording and content.  However, PLEASE NOTE that every project is different, so your working and content will necessarily vary from that contained in this sample.