Practicum and Capstone Project
The Practicum experience is a key component of both the new MA in Philosophy Concentration in International Research Ethics at IUPUI and the MSc Concentration in International Health Research Ethics at Moi University. The practicum is divided into core and specialized experiences, as well as completion of a capstone project. Every student will complete 60 hours of each type of experience at each institution, 120 hours at IUPUI and 120 hours at Moi, for a grand total of 240 hours.
The Practicum Experience is intended to accomplish two goals:
- Provide both groups of students with specific opportunities to understand about institutional issues, procedures, guidelines and other resources related to the oversight of research involving human subjects at their home institution and at the other institution.
- Allow each student to work closely with a mentor on a specific topic which will culminate in the student’s capstone project.
The core experiences are designed to introduce students to research ethics at IU. Six practicum environments have been identified to provide the core experiences: Human Subjects (Institutional Review Boards); Conflict of Interest; Research Compliance (including Scientific Misconduct); Research Ethics, Education, and Policy (REEP); IU-AMPATH Program; and International Affairs.
Practicum mentors will provide three types of activities to each student:
Each core experience should provide the student with a solid and detailed orientation to the field. Mentors should make themselves accessible to answer questions and provide initial orientation for the student. The mentor may want to call on his or her colleagues to assist. Between 2-4 hours should be dedicated to one-on-one training.
Meetings and Lectures
Students should have the opportunity to observe the procedural aspects of the work environment by attending meetings. Lectures are another way for students to understand the issues of the field and have the opportunity to have questions answered by experts. Between 2-4 hours should be dedicated to meetings and lectures.
Students will be provided with a list of required readings. The required readings will address topical areas as well as provide a general orientation to the field. One to two hours should be dedicated to required readings.
In addition to the three activities, the mentor should also be willing to serve, if asked and depending on the nature of the project, on the advisory committee for the student’s capstone project. Students will be expected to complete 10 hours in each environment.
(See below for our Biosketches of our Core Practicum Mentors and their respective offices.)
The specialized practicum experiences are intended to provide students with the substantive experience and technical research opportunities necessary to develop their capstone project. Each student will be paired with two specialized mentors: one at IU and one at Moi. These mentors will be expected to assist with the logistics of coordinating the student’s research as well as guiding the capstone project through completion. These mentors will only be asked to work with one student at a time on an as needed basis. They will also be expected to serve on the student’s capstone committee.
For example, a student whose specialized experiences focus on access to family planning services in Kenya might spend time sitting in on family planning consultations, interviewing women’s health clinicians, working with public heath researchers working in family planning services, and discussing relevant statutes with local attorneys.
The core experiences at both institutions will provide students with the general knowledge from which to launch their capstone project. The specialized experiences will help students gain access to the resources, research, and data they will need when writing up their project. The capstone project will be the culmination of both the student’s practicum experience, as well as their master’s studies as a whole. After their capstone project is reviewed by an advisory committee comprised of three faculty members, the student will receive a grade for their combined practicum/capstone project and receive a total of 8 credit hours towards the 30 cr. required for the master’s degree.
Summary of Requirements
- Attend all practicum-related sessions
- Complete all 240 hours
- Keep a regular journal/log of experiences (reviewed by mentors)
- Complete a capstone project proposal (including research questions, background literature review, etc)
- Once the proposal is approved by the advisory committee, complete all pertinent research activities for the capstone project
- Write-up a polished draft of the capstone paper to be reviewed by the advisory committee
- Revise capstone paper per comments received from the advisory committee and submit further drafts until the committee is ready to assign a passing grade for the practicum/capstone project