|Degree Code:||Degree Name:||Master of Arts in Philosophy|
|Degree Description:||Click to View|
|Examinations Regulations||View Details|
GUIDELINES FOR PROJECT PAPER AND THESIS PROPOSAL WRITING
This outline is intended to serve as a guide to the postgraduate students, supervisors, Departmental Heads, Departmental Postgraduate Studies Committees and the Faculty Postgraduate Studies Committee in the preparation and assessment of research proposals, research project papers and theses.
Research is a systematic process for generating new knowledge or for confirming existing knowledge. A farmer planting two kinds of sorghum side by side to compare yields, a biochemist sequencing the proteins of a new virus, a statistician analyzing the health impact of an intervention over space and time, a sociologist questioning villagers about their feelings towards family planning – all are doing research (a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic or problem area).
Each form of research offers its own perspective and follows its own set of procedures. This therefore means that besides the general guidelines on the procedure of doing research, there are variations across disciplines, meant to address specific disciplinary requirements. Even in a given discipline, research protocols may differ considerably. The format suggested below is only a guide as to what is important in compiling a research proposal and subsequently a research paper or a thesis. It is to be used flexibly both by graduate students and by the Postgraduate Studies Committee.
It is to be used flexibly both by graduate students and by the Postgraduate Studies Committee.
2. RESEARCH PROPOSAL
A research proposal is a key step in the process of obtaining knowledge. Once the knowledge is obtained, it is processed and compiled into a research paper or thesis.
A research proposal states the nature of knowledge to be sought and specific objectives to be achieved. It should justify the need for pursuing the gap in knowledge and should specify the methods to be used in that effort, among others.
Preceding the actual body of the proposal is the front cover page information which includes the title page, date of the proposal, and name and institution of the author, table of contents matching text pages.
The title of the proposal should be as short as possible and should reflect the main thrust of the intended investigation. The substantive sections of a proposal are as below.
2.1 Background to the Study
A background to the study provides an introduction to the proposed research. It prepares the reader for the statement of the problem by contextualizing the topic. It discusses the existing body of knowledge on the topic of the study.
2.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The statement of the research problem is a concise discussion of the nature of knowledge to be sought or of gaps in existing knowledge that need to be filled. A statement of the problem is meant to demonstrate that the researcher has a good grasp of what he/she wants to research on.
For instances, there could be a discrepancy between theoretical assumptions and actual behavior in society, the research would be to seek an explanation for that gap.
2.3 Research questions
For qualitative research there should be research questions which aim at providing adequate answers based on the data collected. These questions should derive from the problem and focus on the data to be collected and interrogate the various aspects of the gap to provide a possible explanation.
2.4. Objectives of the Study
This section requires the statement of a general/ overall objective of the study followed by a number of specific objectives.
2.5. Justification of the study
This comprises a clear statement of the value of the proposed research; it might specify the significance for solving an existing problem in society such as behavioral change or policy modification. The value could also be of epistemological nature, solving an academic/theoretical problem.
2.6. Scope and Limitations of the study
The section states what areas are included and excluded from the study. In the first place the scope determines the conceptual area in which the research is carried out and points out those conceptual areas that are no included and the reasons for that. The limitations are related to constraints related to scope, such as finances, time, geographical areas, school(s) of thought, etc.
2.7. Definition of concepts
This section deals with definition of key concepts and terms to be used in the study. It requires a list of lexical/dictionary definitions as well as operational definitions. This section can be placed at the beginning of the proposal or elsewhere depending on disciplinary orientation.
2.8 Literature Review
This section describes how the stated or a similar research problem has been approached in the past. It may also make reference to current research on the matter when there is concurrence or divergence of opinion or if it is relevant for stressing a point tackled by the research. The review should be focused (related to the topic under study) and be critical stating weaknesses and strengths of previous works. The contribution of new work should be stated.
2.9. Theoretical Framework/Conceptual framework
In this section, a theory or theories relevant to the research problem is/are critically reviewed on how the theory/theories is/are contributing to solve the research problem. It should state the specific theoretical assumptions that help to solve the problem. In case more than one theory is used the student must point out how the theories relate to each other and the value they add to the study.
The conceptual framework guides data collection and facilitates interpretation of research findings. Either a theory or a conceptual framework is used for the research.
2.10 Research Hypotheses
The hypotheses preferably used in quantitative research are derived from the theoretical framework and/or from data. A hypothesis is a statement that expresses the probable relationship between variables. Hypotheses state what is expected to be found rather than what has already been determined to exist depending on the disciplinary orientation. Hypotheses could be used with research questions. This refers to a possible proof to be arrived at and which will stand or not after the process of reasoning and proof has been carried out. It may be proved to be true, partly true, false or partially false. In this truth lies in the added information that the research set out to seek and the gap it sought to fulfill. Thus the conclusion will necessarily make reference to the hypotheses.
This section deals with a detailed explanation of how the research project will be carried out to answer the specific questions. According to disciplines it can include proposed study sites, sources of data and reasons for their selection; types of data to be collected; sampling methods to be used; techniques of data collection and analysis. The success of the research will to a great extent depend on the awareness of the method and its meticulous following. Library research is not methodology.
2.12 Proposed chapter outline
This section provides a tentative outline of chapters and its salient points of the thesis or project paper.
The reference list follows the chapter outline, and precedes the annexes, and should be consistently done according to a preferred style. Footnotes and/or in-text citations, or endnotes, should be done depending on disciplinary/departmental orientation.
2.14 Appendices and Annexes
Any appendices should be listed here and they should be referenced in the text. The annexes could include time frame of the project, photographs, maps, anticipated budget, questionnaires, if applicable and research permits, if necessary.
2.15 Proposal Size
The proposal shall be formatted as follows: 1.5 line spacing, font 12, and 1" (one inch) margins. It should be twenty-five (25) pages maximum, including bibliography/references. The student should submit a hard and a pdf formatted copy to the faculty or department, as the case may be.
|Admission Requirements||View Details|
MASTER OF ARTS
Admission and Registration Requirements
A candidate must satisfy such prescribed University of Nairobi requirements as are not varied by the Faculty of Arts regulations specified below.
Subject to Regulation 1, the minimum qualification for admission to the M.A. degree programme shall be a BA. lower second class honours degree, or equivalent, relevant to the courses offered in the department in which the applicant wishes to register, and obtained from a university recognised by University of Nairobi Senate; provided that each applicant shall be required to produce original or certified copies of relevant transcripts, diplomas, degree certificates and any other certificates or documents deemed necessary to support the application.
Subject to approval by the department(s) concerned, a student enrolled in any other programme at the University of Nairobi may register for and attend lectures and be examined of his/her choice whenever these are taught, provided also that he/she shall apply through the official channels, and pay specified fees and any other stipulated charges for the selected course units. At the end of the semester or academic year the student shall receive an official University transcript certifying his/her performance in the course units(s) concerned.
Subject to the approval of the department(s) concerned, a student enrolled in a postgraduate degree programme at any other university recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate, may register for, attend lectures and be examined in one or more course units of his/her choice whenever these are taught in the parallel programme, provided that he/she shall apply through the official channels, and pay the stipulated fees for the selected course unit(s) as well as other specified charges. At the end of the semester or academic year the student shall receive an official University transcript certifying his/her performance in the course unit(s) concerned.
Registration for course units by continuing students shall take place before the end of the preceding semester. Where these regulations are silent on any aspect of University admission, existing University of Nairobi regulations shall apply.
Course Structure and Duration
The M.A. degree programme shall consist of coursework, examination and a project paper or thesis, and shall run for a minimum of 4 semesters of fifteen weeks each, and a maximum of 10 semesters; and this maximum may be extended only with the prior approval of the Senate of the University of Nairobi.
Mode of Instruction
Instructions shall be given in the form of lectures, lecture-discussions, class presentations, seminars, demonstration, fieldwork, lab work, student-lecturer consultations, supervised independent research, or any combination of these.
Students shall undergo continuous assessment in each taught course in each semester, which shall take the form of written tests, term paper, oral presentations, field assignment, or any combination of these.
Course Evaluation by Students
At the end of each semester, during the last class, a time shall be set aside for students registered in each taught course unit to anonymously evaluate the course and lecturer using a questionnaire developed by the Faculty office in consultation with the departments.
Final University examinations shall be given at the end of every semester in each taught course unit; and each final examination shall be in the form of a three-hour written examination paper.
To be awarded the M.A. degree, a candidate must pass all specialized, core and elective course units taken, as well as the Project Paper or Thesis.
All examinations shall be governed by the following rules:
i) Each course unit shall be graded over 100.
ii) The written final examination shall account for 60% of all the marks in each course unit, while continuous assessment tests shall account for 40%; but the Project Paper or Thesis shall be graded over 100%, as there shall be no continuous assessment test associated with it.
iv) A candidate who fails in any examination in a specialized, core, or elective course unit taken at the end of a semester may re-sit that examination when it is next given during scheduled end-of-semester examinations, and should he/she once again fail, may re-sit the examination one or more time when it is next scheduled as part of the University’s regular end-of-semester examinations calendar, provided that he/she shall pay such fees as may be prescribed by the University in respect of such examination. There shall be no special or supplementary examinations between or during semesters.
v) A candidate who fails in any examination in an elective course unit may, at his/her own discretion, register in an alternative elective course unit, in lieu of re-sitting an examination in which he/she failed once or more than once; provided that he/she pay such registration and other fees as may be prescribed by the Faculty in respect of such examination.
vi) In the event that a candidate re-sits the final examination in any course unit, the final grade shall be based entirely on the marks obtained in the final written examination, which shall be graded over 100 marks; and the continuous coursework marks pertaining to that course unit shall not be considered.
vii) The rules set out in (iv) to (vi) above shall also apply when a candidate fails in more than one course unit, provided that these are not core courses. A candidate who fails a core course three times shall be discontinued.
viii) Existing University rules and regulations pertaining to conduct during actual examinations, and to examination matters not specifically mentioned in these Regulations, shall apply to all candidates, invigilators and other persons.
A student who, for good cause supported with authenticated documentary evidence, fails to sit or complete an end-of-semester examination may be allowed to sit for the paper(s) concerned when the examination is next scheduled, without paying additional fees.
Processing of Examinations
All written examinations shall be processed at the end of the semester in which they are taken; and the provisional results, upon formal approval at a Departmental Meeting, shall be relayed to the Faculty of Arts for formal approval by the Faculty Board of Examiners, and for onward transmission to Senate.
The Faculty shall notify students of their provisional results within thirty working days following the Faculty Board of Examiners meeting at which the results are approved. An External Examiner shall moderate all examinations at the end of every academic year.
Exemption from One or More Course Units
A person admitted to the parallel M.A. degree programme may, on acceptable grounds, apply for exemption from one or more course units, provided that no person shall be exempted from more than 30% of the total number of course units that he/she shall be required to take in order to graduate.
Applicants who meet the following criteria may apply for exemption:
1) A person who has followed the prescribed course of instruction in the relevant course unit or units and passed the applicable examination(s) for the semester(s) in question at the University of Nairobi;
2) A person who has followed a course of instruction in a subject which subsumes the current content of the relevant course unit or units, and passed the applicable examination or examinations in respect of the whole subject or subjects at the University of Nairobi;
3) A person who has followed the prescribed course of instruction in the relevant course unit or units, and passed the applicable examination(s) with a minimum of 50% in each unit taken at any other University recognized by the Senate of the University of Nairobi;
4) A person who has followed a course of instruction in a subject which subsumes the current content of the relevant course unit or units, and passed the applicable examination or examinations with a minimum of 50% in respect of the unit or units taken at any other University recognized by the Senate of the University of Nairobi.
Intermission of Studies
Subject to the Regulation above, a candidate may intermit his/her studies at any time, for good cause conveyed in writing to the Chair of the department concerned, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and the Director of the Board of Postgraduate Studies, and may resume later after duly notifying the Chair of the Department concerned, the Dean, and the Director of the Board of the Postgraduate Studies. During the entire period of intermission the student shall be required to keep his/her registration current by paying such intermission charges as the Faculty of Arts may from time to determine. Such charges shall reflect the period of intermission, which shall not exceed 6 consecutive semesters.
Change of Course Registration
A candidate may officially change his/her registration from one or more course units to another or others offered in any semester, provided that such a change is effected within the first two weeks of the scheduled beginning of lectures in the semester in question, and provided that such a change does not conflict with any curriculum requirements, or prescribed course sequences.
Payment of Tuition and Related Charges
Subject to such minimum charges as the Faculty may prescribe, tuition and related fees shall be payable in advance to the official receiving officer according to the number of course units to be taken in a particular semester. The amount of fees per course unit paid by Kenyan and non-Kenyan students shall be reviewed by the Faculty from time to time.
A student who pays fees but subsequently receives a certificate of exemption or is compelled by unavoidable circumstances to withdraw within the first three weeks of a semester, shall be entitled to a refund on a pro rata basis, less the prescribed withdrawal charge; provided that such withdrawal shall have been officially conveyed to and received by the Dean, Faculty of Arts within the first three weeks of the scheduled beginning of the relevant semester. Students who withdraw without following this procedure, or who withdraw after the first three weeks, shall not be entitled to any refund; but shall instead be free to exercise their right to intermit their studies as provided for in these Regulations or to carry forward their fees to subsequent semesters.
Award of M.A. Degree
Each successful M.A. candidate shall be awarded a University of Nairobi M.A. degree certificate specifying his/her broad area of specialization, as determined from time to time by the respective departments and approved by Senate. Each candidate shall also receive a University of Nairobi transcript specifying, inter alia, all the course units taken, their course codes, and the marks and letter grades obtained in each
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