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Learning Goals for Examinations (1)

Learning Goals for Examinations

First Doctoral Examination:
Students have a choice between two versions of the First Exam:  a research report or a literature review. Both are designed to critically assess and generate research in a neuroscience related discipline
A:  Research report
At the successful completion (i.e., passing) of the first doctoral exam the student will be able to:
1. Select and clearly articulate a research question/hypothesis and conceptualize it within an appropriate research area.
2. Generate a research design appropriate to the question/hypothesis.
3.  Select the appropriate methodologies complementary to the research design.
4. Organize the data (figures and tables) into an effective medium for presenting the results of the research.
5. Prepare a lucid, coherent and articulate presentation of the research question/hypothesis, a summary of the research findings and conclusions, and a discussion of alternative interpretations of the data
B. Literature review:
At the successful completion (i.e., passing) of the first doctoral exam the student will be able to:
1. Select a well-defined research question and contextualize that question within the broader field or discipline.
2.  Summarize the findings that are well accepted and those areas where the evidence is ambiguous or conflicting.
3. Identify the methodologies appropriate to resolving ambiguous or conflicting evidence and indicate their weaknesses and strengths.
3. Review the relevant literature, indicating its implications for disambiguating such evidence.
4.  Provides a conclusion with suggestions for future research that may further explore and/or disambiguate remaining issues germane to that topic/thesis.
Second Doctoral Examination:  The primary goal of the Second Doctoral Examination is to determine whether the student has mastered the relevant research literature and acquired the research skills needed for proceeding towards thesis research.
At the successful completion (i.e., passing) of the second doctoral exam the student will be able to:
1.Formulate hypothesis-driven Specific Aims contextualized within a key disciplinary area.
2. Generate research designs, including appropriate controls, and research strategies to accomplish those aims.
3. Summarize the key findings of their preliminary research and suggest any modifications of methods or research design that may be appropriate.
4. Display intellectual flexibility in dealing with alternative explanations of the data and potential pitfalls of the research design and methodology.
Doctoral Dissertation
In order to have successfully completed the dissertation the student will have
1. Designed an experimental or theoretical approach to a significant, unresolved research problem in behavioral or cognitive neuroscience
2. Identified and initiated a research design appropriate to that approach, including critical controls.
3. Mastered the methodologies required for data collection.
4. Organized and presented the research data effectively in both oral and written forms.
5. Published one or more first-author papers in peer-reviewed journals.
6. Effectively defended the thesis and displayed an understanding of the current state of research in areas cognate to the thesis topic.