Research Project Requirements

A project committee will overseee all progress of student research. A minimum of three faculty members will form the committee. Two committee members must be BMI TP Core Faculty members, including the chair. These requirements also apply to the thesis option.  The trainee must provide the TP Coordinator the names of the committee members.

The trainee should provide committee members and the TP Coordinator with at least 3 weeks advance notice of both the proposal meeting and the final oral presentation.The student is also responsible for providing each committee member a copy of his/her paper two weeks in advance of his/her oral presentation. The oral presentation is open to all faculty and trainees, and an announcement of oral presentations will be sent out by the TP Coordinator. The committee will remain after all other attendees leave the room to address specific issues with the student. A final copy of the master’s project or thesis must be turned into the TP Coordinator. (Note: Final certification of completion of the Masters requirements will not be given until the TP Coordinator receives the hardcopy of the research project.)

Timeline and Milestones: 
Students are generally expected to complete all requirements for the master’s research project by the end of the second year of full-time master’s study. The oral presentation fulfills the University’s comprehensive examination requirement for the master’s degree. These requirements also apply to the thesis option

Content and Structure: 
Requirements for content are identical for both the Master’s Research Project and the Master’s Thesis. It is expected that the majority of Master’s projects and theses will be either research papers or theory formation papers, therefore requirements for both are described below.*

Research Paper

Full length papers presenting original hypotheses and findings.

Style

Abstract: Less than 250 words, structured according to Objective, Design, Measurements, Results, and Conclusion.
Length: 20-30 pages double spaced type, inclusive of abstract, figures, tables and references.

Outline

Introduction – A short statement that presents the purpose of the paper.
Background – Motivate and place the work in context. Subsections might address the significance of the problem being addressed, other approaches to the problem, prior work on the approach being reported.
Research question or hypothesis.
Methods – Subsections might include selection of sites and subjects, intervention, measurements, analysis.
Results
Discussion – Subsections might address significance, limitations, future work.
Conclusion – Short statement of findings and implications.
References

Review Criteria

The reported work is original and data have not been reported previously.
The background and references acknowledge how the findings build on, extend, agree with, or refute prior work.
The level of detail of the methods permits the reader to understand how to reproduce the results.
The results are presented non-ambiguously.
The discussion clarifies the generalizability and limits of the findings.
The findings represent a significant addition to the knowledge-base of the field of medical informatics

Model Formulation Paper

Full-length papers proposing a model, frame work, or technique. The paper should clarify and validate the proposal through an example.

Style

Abstract: Less than 250 words, structured according to Objective, Design, Measurements, Results, and Conclusion.

Length: 20-30 pages double spaced type, inclusive of abstract, figures, tables and references.

Outline

Introduction – A short statement that presents the purpose of the paper.

Background – Motivate and place the work in context. Subsections might address the significance of the problem being addressed, other approaches to the problem, prior work on the approach being reported.

Formulation process
Model description
Validation through example
Discussion – subsections might address significance, limitations, future work.

Conclusion – Short summary of the model and implications.

References

Review Criteria

The model is original and the validation has not been reported previously.

The background and references acknowledge how the proposal builds on, extends, agrees with, or refutes prior work.

The formulation process is specified in sufficient detail to permit the reader to reproduce the results.

The model definition is clear enough that the reader can apply it to their work.

The validation example and discussion clarify the generalizability and limits of the model.

The model addresses a problem that is significant to the field of medical informatics.

*From the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Instructions for Authors

Master's Oral Examination

Successful completion of the oral examination on the research project satisfies the Master’s comprehensive examination requirement of the University (see Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh www.gradstudents.pitt.edu/). Final certification of completion of the Master’s degree requires submission of an electronic copy of the research project (or, if trainee opts to do so, the formal Master’s thesis) to the Program Coordinator.