Professional Problems in Psychology

By Robert S. Daniel; C. M. Louttit | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Minor Forms of Scientific Reporting

Although the major reporting activities of psychologists are in the form of journal articles, monographs, and books, they are not limited to these forms. Chapter 6 was devoted to problems of writing and publishing major types of articles; in this chapter we shall discuss a number of secondary, but nonetheless important, forms of scientific communication. These include the thesis and dissertation, abstracts, book reviews, criticism, films, oral reporting, some types of reports with limited distribution, and writing for the public. The function of communication is one thing these types of reports have in common; their form, method, and specific purpose all differ. Therefore, it is most convenient to treat each of them in a relatively independent section of this chapter.


THE THESIS AND THE DISSERTATION

The term thesis, in American universities, has come to refer primarily to the product of some special concentrated study by the student during his period of work for the degree Master of Arts, or its equivalent. A committee of the American Association of Universities has formulated the following excellent statement of the nature of the master's thesis:

It is reasonable to expect that, in a fifth year of academic work of respectable quality, a student will have had an intellectual adventure which he can describe in writing. And such a description gives him an experience which he will obtain in no other way; by it he is introduced to the methods employed in the acquisition, preparation and analysis of material. Depending on the field and the type of degree for which he is a candidate, this exercise may represent: a small piece of research, the solution of a complex problem or design, a critical understanding of a sector of knowledge of considerable

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