Student Research Guide

Graduate programs usually require a culminating experience in which knowledge gained from coursework is applied to an issue or problem. The information in this Research Guide will help you through the process.

Select a topic below to view more information:

  »  General Principles

  1. Appropriate methodological applications and designs will be applied in Plan A (M.S. theses), Plan B (M.S. problems, M.S. field projects, M.S. field problems) and Ed.S. (Ed.S. Thesis and Ed.S. Field Problems) research.
  2. The level of analysis should generally be more sophisticated in Plan A research than in Plan B. However, regardless of the plan followed, the level of analysis required in the study should not exceed the level of understanding or preparation of the student.
  3. The graduate research paper shall note any errors in the execution or limitations of the study, and the impact such errors or limitations have on the conclusions discussed. These errors need not place a student in jeopardy of having the work rejected, but they must be recognized and addressed.
  4. Papers must be presented in appropriate form with correct spelling, appropriate sentence structure, format, and citation of references.
  5. Students should not initiate any data gathering for the research paper until the design has been discussed with the adviser and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Generally, this process should not start until after the student has completed at least one course in research. Revisit after going through rest of document.

  »  Plan A and Ed.S. Papers

In order to qualify, the Plan A or Ed.S. paper must contribute to the body of knowledge in the relevant field. It should be characterized by at least one of the following criteria. The paper:

  • Presents results that generalize beyond the scope or sample of the study. (This may be determined by the extent and method of sampling followed in the study. If the sampling process seems limited, the student will demonstrate an awareness of its limitations and defend the representation of the sample as it pertains to a population. A pilot study may precede the main study.)
  • Reviews and critically analyzes research using a meta-analytic procedure.
  • Reviews and analyzes research using a critical science procedure.
  • Analyzes national, regional, or unique data sets to derive new knowledge.
  • Replicates research to confirm or extend previous studies.
  • Uses qualitative procedures relevant to the student's discipline.

  »  Plan B (Problems, Field Problems and Field Projects) Papers

In order to qualify, the Plan B paper must contribute to the body of knowledge in the relevant field. It should be characterized by one or more of the following criteria. The paper:

  • Replicates, with proper acknowledgment, a previously published study in a localized setting.
  • Develops and field tests an assessment tool in a localized setting.
  • Reviews and critically analyzes research, literature or data in a selected area.
  • Applies research methodology and principles relative to a particular discipline to solve a problem for a regional organization the results of which might apply only to the participating organization.
  • Applies single case design methodology or examines the effects of an intervention(s) in a localized setting.
  • Conducts a pilot study.
  • Develops a discipline related grant proposal.


  1. Your research topic can included studies that are limited to UW-Stout students or employees, or research about UW-Stout as an institution.
  2. Grant writing Plan B does not require submission or implementation of the grant.