Formal Proposal

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I included my outline previously written with the topic:

 “Advanced Techniques for Cybercrime Analysis: Identifying and Mitigating Emerging Threats” 

Assignment Instructions:
By this time, you would have selected a topic and provided a proposal outline for your thesis or creative project of which must align with your core subject area.

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  1. Please use the Capstone Manual.  
  2. The formal proposal must provide a clear and lucid description of a question, project or problem and a proposed method of answering the question, addressing the project or solving the problem. 
  3. Proposal drafting is considered a learning process and helps you avoid oversights and possible mistakes; so you may send me a draft before going final. 
  4. Again, guidance on the format of the proposal and a sample proposal are contained in the Capstone Manual provided. 
  5. The proposal should explain the question, project, or problem to be investigated and convince the professor that the question, project or problem merits investigation. It should show that you have read the relevant and recent literature on the subject and it should contain a list of materials consulted during the preliminary stages of your research or project. In general, the research proposal or project should include background information related to the research topic or project, purpose of the thesis or project, and investigatory procedures to be used. 
  6. The formal proposal should not exceed five (5) pages (proposal title page not included).  

Please add a table of contents.

1

6

Outline

American Military University

ISSC699

“Advanced Techniques for Cybercrime Analysis: Identifying and Mitigating Emerging Threats”

I. INTRODUCTION

Background: Cybercrime is an issue that is quickly spreading and poses a serious threat to people, companies, and society at large (Casino et al., 2019). Due to the growing usage of technology and the internet, it is difficult for law enforcement and security professionals to keep up with cybercriminals’ access to various tools and strategies. In my thesis proposal, I plan to look into the sophisticated strategies and tactics employed by cybercriminals in their criminal activity and the strategies and tactics utilized by law enforcement and security experts to recognize and counter these threats. The numerous forms of cybercrime, including advanced persistent threats, ransomware, phishing, banking trojans, and other sophisticated methods employed by cybercriminals, will be the main focus of the research. Additionally, the research will list the current defenses employed by law enforcement and security experts and assess how well they work in identifying and reducing these dangers.

Purpose: This research aims to understand cutting-edge cybercrime analysis methods better and develop countermeasures (Sarker, 2022). To begin, we will undertake a thorough literature analysis to assess what is already known about sophisticated cybercrime methods and defenses. Aside from laying the groundwork for the study’s questions and goals, the literature evaluation will help reveal any holes in the existing research.

After this, I will go on to the next stage of the study process: collecting and analyzing the data. To do this, I will compile information from various resources, including scholarly articles, official reports, and in-depth interviews with industry professionals. Several methods will be used to examine the data, including network analysis, statistical, and content analysis.

The study’s findings will be presented and discussed considering its research questions and goals, focusing on identifying sophisticated cybercrime strategies and the methods employed by law enforcement and security experts to detect and counteract them (Cascavilla et al., 2019). Recommendations for further study and practice, such as the need for additional in-depth examinations of certain approaches and the creation of new tactics for recognizing and reducing cybercrime risks, will be based on the results.

This thesis proposal hopes to add to the present knowledge of cutting-edge cybercrime methods, and the steps law enforcement and security experts take to combat them. The findings will help businesses, government agencies, and others fight cybercrime more effectively.

Research Questions:

· What are the current and emerging trends in cybercrime? (Nicholls,et al., 2021)

· What are the best methods for studying cybercrime?

· To what extent can organizations and law enforcement authorities successfully counteract new forms of cybercrime?

II. LITERATURE REVIEW

Overview: This literature review will present an overview of recent studies on sophisticated cybercrime analysis. Evolving patterns in cybercrime, methods for evaluating cybercrime, and plans for reducing cyber threats will all be discussed.

Relevant Theories and Models: Network analysis, behavioral analysis, and data mining are just a few topics covered in the literature review about cybercrime analysis.

Gaps in the Literature: The literature evaluation will also reveal where the field of cybercrime analysis needs to grow, such as in the areas of attention dedicated to new threats and in-depth examinations of certain methodologies.

III. METHODOLOGY

Research Design: Both qualitative and quantitative strategies will be used in this research, making it a mixed-methods investigation.

Data Collection: Primary and secondary sources, including in-depth interviews with subject matter experts and surveys of cybercrime-affected businesses, will be used to compile the gathered information.

Data Analysis: Network analysis, statistical analysis, and content analysis are just a few methods used to examine the data.

Ethical Considerations: The study will be conducted by ethical guidelines for research, including informed consent, confidentiality, and respect for participants.

IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Presentation of Findings: Both quantitative and qualitative findings will be laid down in an easy-to-understand format as part of the study’s final report.

Interpretation of Results: Findings will be analyzed considering the study’s aims and issues to prevent and respond to new forms of cybercrime.

Implications for Future Research and Practice: Recommendations for future research and practice will be derived from the study’s results, such as the necessity for more research into certain methodologies and the creation of new tactics for minimizing cybercrime risks (Nicholls et al., 2021).

V. CONCLUSION

Summary of Main Findings: The conclusion will provide a brief overview of the study’s key results, including the most prominent ongoing and prospective cybercrime trends, the most fruitful methods for studying cybercrime, and ways for combating new forms of cyberthreat.

Recommendations for Future Research and Practice: The last section of the paper will provide recommendations for further study and practice, such as the need for in-depth examinations of certain tactics and the creation of new strategies for minimizing cybercrime risks.

References

Cascavilla, G., Tamburri, D. A., & Van Den Heuvel, W. J. (2021). Cybercrime threat intelligence: A systematic multi-vocal literature review. 
Computers & Security
105, 102258.
Cybercrime threat intelligence: A systematic multi-vocal literature review – ScienceDirect

Casino, F., Politou, E., Alepis, E., & Patsakis, C. (2019). Immutability and decentralized storage: An analysis of emerging threats. 
IEEE Access
8, 4737-4744.
Immutability and Decentralized Storage: An Analysis of Emerging Threats | IEEE Journals & Magazine | IEEE Xplore

Nicholls, J., Kuppa, A., & Le-Khac, N. A. (2021). Financial Cybercrime: A Comprehensive Survey of Deep Learning Approaches to Tackle the Evolving Financial Crime Landscape. 
IEEE Access.
IEEE Xplore Full-Text PDF:

Sarker, M. G. R. (2022). An Interlinked Relationship between Cybercrime & Digital Media. 
IJFMR-International Journal For Multidisciplinary Research
4(6).
1051.pdf (ijfmr.com)

End of Program
Assessment Manual for

Graduate Studies
American Public University System

Charles Town, West Virginia, February 2016 Edition

i

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contents

INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1

EOP Assessment Alternatives …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1

Important Notes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Academic Dishonesty …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

For Comprehensive Exam Assessments ………………………………………………………………………………. 3

For Capstone Assessments …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

Institutional Review Board ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

CHAPTER I …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

Master of Arts Comprehensive Final Examination ……………………………………………………………………. 5

Beginning the Comprehensive Exam ……………………………………………………………………………………. 5

Comprehensive Exam Course ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 5

Taking the Exam ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

Faculty Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Program Director’s Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

Proctoring ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

CHAPTER II ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

Master’s Capstone: Thesis Option …………………………………………………………………………………………. 11

Beginning the Thesis Project ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 11

Thesis Proposal ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12

Preparing the Thesis …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 12

Approval of Thesis …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13

Submission of Final Thesis ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14

ii

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts ………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Faculty Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Program Director’s Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16

CHAPTER III …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

Master’s Capstone: Creative Project ……………………………………………………………………………………… 17

Beginning the Creative Project …………………………………………………………………………………………… 17

Creative Project Proposal ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17

Completing the Creative Project ………………………………………………………………………………………… 17

Approval of Creative Project ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 19

Submission of Creative Project Report ……………………………………………………………………………….. 19

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts ………………………………………………………………………………………. 20

Faculty Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 20

Program Director’s Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 21

CHAPTER IV …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23

Master’s Capstone: Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper …………………………………………………… 23

Beginning the Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper ……………………………………………………….. 23

Practicum Proposal …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23

Completing the Practicum …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 24

Approval of the Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper ……………………………………………………… 25

Submission of Critical Reflection Paper ……………………………………………………………………………… 26

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts ………………………………………………………………………………………. 26

Faculty Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 27

Program Director’s Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 28

CHAPTER V ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30

Master’s Capstone: Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper Option …………………………………………… 30

Beginning the Portfolio Option …………………………………………………………………………………………… 30

iii

Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper ……………………………………………………………………………….. 30

Completing the Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31

Approval of the Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper ………………………………………………………… 32

Submission of Critical Reflection Paper ……………………………………………………………………………… 32

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts ………………………………………………………………………………………. 33

Faculty Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 33

Program Director’s Role ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35

CHAPTER VI …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 36

University Declarations and APUS Library Registration …………………………………………………………… 36

1. Declarations …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 36

2. Textual Components …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 37

3. Images and Tables ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 38

4. Video or Audio ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 38

5. URLs/Web Addresses ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 39

6. Submission ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 39

7. Passed with Distinction (a.k.a., PWD) …………………………………………………………………………. 39

CHAPTER VII ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 41

Scholarly Research/Copyright Conduct …………………………………………………………………………………. 41

1. Copyright ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 41

2. University Research Policies ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 43

3. Institutional Review Board …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 43

Appendices ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 45

Appendix 1: Master’s Theses………………………………………………………………………………………………… 45

Appendix 2: Master’s Creative Projects …………………………………………………………………………………. 47

Appendix 3: Master’s Practicum and Critical Reflection Papers ………………………………………………. 49

Appendix 4: Title Page (Required format for all theses). …………………………………………………………. 51

iv

Appendix 5: Sample of Copyright Page (Required format for all theses)…………………………………… 52

Appendix 6: Sample of Dedication Page (Optional) ………………………………………………………………… 53

Appendix 7: Sample of Acknowledgments Page (Optional) ……………………………………………………… 54

Appendix 8: Sample of Abstract of the Thesis (Required format for all theses). ……………………….. 55

Appendix 9: Sample of a Table of Contents …………………………………………………………………………… 56

Appendix 10: Sample of List of Tables …………………………………………………………………………………… 58

Appendix 11: Sample of List of Figures …………………………………………………………………………………. 59

Appendix 12: Sample of Permission to Quote or Reproduce Copyrighted Material Letter …………. 60

Appendix 13: Sample of Practicum Organizational Consent Form …………………………………………… 61

Appendix 14: Critical Reflection Method Required for Completion of Practicum Paper …………….. 62

Appendix 15: Sample of IRB Approval Letter …………………………………………………………………………. 63

Appendix 16: Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric ……………………………………………………… 64

Appendix 17: Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper ………………………………………………………………. 68

Appendix 18: Checklist for Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library ……………………………….. 70

1

INTRODUCTION

This manual establishes the guidelines for completion of all graduate-level end of program
(EOP) graduation requirements. The intended audience for this manual is all members of the
American Public University System (APUS) academic community, including students and
faculty. While it is intended to be a comprehensive overview of the general EOP
requirements for APUS, students and faculty must follow any additional specific guidelines
within their schools. Information regarding school-specific guidelines should be available
from your supervisory professor or your program’s director.

APUS, including American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU),
offers several options for assessing graduate program learning outcomes. These end of
program assessments are designed to ensure APUS students have successfully met their
program objectives, and each is designed to serve a different purpose.

EOP Assessment Alternatives

EOP assessment alternatives include:

• Comprehensive Exam

• Capstone, which includes the following variations (availability varies by degree
program):

o Research thesis

o Creative project

o Practicum with critical reflection/integration paper

o Portfolio option with critical reflection paper

The comprehensive exam is recommended for students who will conclude their formal
academic training with the completion of the Master of Arts/Master of Science program.

Students who anticipate seeking further professional training, such as a doctorate or a
Ph.D., for example, are strongly encouraged to complete the Capstone/thesis option.

Students in particular sub-disciplines of the humanities may find the creative project option
the optimal choice, while business and other professional disciplines may consider the
practicum as the best option. Finally, various programs will find the portfolio option
appropriate.

2

Note: Master’s students in the School of Education have a different set of
requirements regarding end of program assessment. They should not rely on this
manual, but rather must comply with the requirements outlined in the School of
Education handbook.

Students are advised to work with their academic advisors to ensure that they take the
correct courses during their degree and to enroll in the correct program version for their
assessment preference, if available. Please be advised that some programs have only one
EOP assessment option.

Important Notes

• The EOP assessment is meant to be a culminating experience, and as such, each
student should expect to demonstrate not only that he/she possesses a thorough
knowledge of his/her discipline’s literature, but also that he/she has achieved all of
the graduate studies learning outcomes. The EOP is a unique exercise. A student’s
GPA is not a factor in how well he or she will perform in his/her end of program
exercise. Success depends on the student entering the experience fully prepared and
dedicated to completing the EOP in the allotted timeframe.

• All students are expected to adhere to the conventions of standard English grammar
and/or formal academic writing. Students who are struggling with their ability to
communicate clearly in writing are strongly encouraged to complete COLL501 early in
their graduate studies.

• After being checked with a plagiarism detection tool and graded by the faculty
supervising the project and upon being approved by the program directors and
school dean, all Capstone projects must be submitted to the APUS Library for
archiving by the program director. The Capstone and critical reflection papers
submitted must be a “clean” version of the paper. All spelling, grammar, citations,
etc. must be correct and appropriate. Instructor feedback comments should not
appear in the final version submitted to the library. See Appendix 18 for the Checklist
for Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library (which includes the link for the
APUS Library Capstone Submission/Approval Form).

• Theses that receive a grade of Passed with distinction may be eligible for inclusion in
the DigitalCommons@APUS repository. For more on the Digital Commons, see
http://digitalcommons.apus.edu/faq.html.

• Critical reflection papers, while eligible for the grade of Passed with distinction, may
not be eligible to be placed in DigitalCommons@APUS due to the personalized
information that may be contained within the papers.

3

APUS takes academic dishonesty very seriously. Any evidence of plagiarism will result in the
student’s work being rejected, and the student will fail the EOP exercise. Engaging in
academic dishonesty and/or plagiarism will directly threaten the ability of the student to
graduate from APUS.

Academic Dishonesty

Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a comprehensive exam or Capstone paper will
result in a grade of an F for the exam/course. If evidence of academic dishonesty is present,
options for the student include:

For Comprehensive Exam Assessments
• Accepting the grade and not receiving the degree. A letter of academic completion

may be provided, but a degree will not be conferred.
• Upon approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, retaking the exam at an APUS site

(Charles Town, West Virginia, Manassas, Virginia, or location where an education
coordinator is assigned; the student will be supervised by an advisor, program
manager or Marketing site representative) on an APUS laptop computer
disconnected from the Internet. The exam questions will be different from those on
the previous exam and this exam will be graded by a different professor from the first
exam attempt. The student must pass this second exam to have his/her degree
conferred. The student will not be eligible for a Passed with distinction grade on any
second attempt, and will not be eligible for Honors at graduation, regardless of GPA.
The student must pay to retake the exam.

For Capstone Assessments
• Accepting the grade and not receiving the degree. A letter of academic completion

may be provided, but a degree will not be conferred.
• The student may be given the option (program dependent) to take the

comprehensive exam instead; however, the retake is subject to the same rules as
noted above.

• Upon appeal approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, the student may be
allowed, at his/her own expense, to retake the entire Capstone course. However, the
plagiarism incident will still be recorded by the Registrar and the student will not be
eligible for honors at graduation regardless of GPA.

Any additional incidents of academic dishonesty on the EOP exercise will result in the
student being expelled.

For appeals to retake a comprehensive exam or Capstone after a reported incident of
academic dishonesty, contact the Director of Graduate Studies at [email protected].

4

Note: Any evidence of academic dishonesty found in work produced in a student’s end of
program comprehensive exam or Capstone may prompt a review of all of the student’s work
at APUS. Evidence of repeated violations of academic integrity may result in disciplinary
actions.

Institutional Review Board
APUS requires all research using human subjects undergo an IRB review. More information
on the IRB process can be found here: http://www.apus.edu/community-
scholars/institutional-review-board/.

Failure to Secure IRB approval
APUS is committed to the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). All human subjects
research conducted under the aegis of APUS must undergo review by the APUS Institutional
Review Board (IRB). All such research must follow the guidelines outlined in the IRB Manual.
Failure to follow proper IRB protocols constitutes a violation of the RCR policy. Any breach of
the APUS RCR policy is a serious violation of professional standards and will result in
sanctions. Sanctions may vary depending upon the severity of the infraction, but may
include written warning, termination, expulsion, termination of research, and/or the
destruction of research data. Actions taken by the IRB and the University also will be subject
to Federal reporting guidelines.

5

CHAPTER I

Master of Arts Comprehensive Final Examination

Note: This option is not available in all programs.

The master’s comprehensive examination provides an opportunity for students to

• demonstrate they have mastered the research skills and substantive content
expected in their field of study;

• demonstrate they have familiarity with major schools of thought and principal
published works in the field; and

• culminate their graduate student experience as they complete their master’s program
and either continue or begin work in their chosen profession.

Beginning the Comprehensive Exam
The examination is tailored specifically to each graduate program and must be the last
course master’s degree students take from APUS. Thus, it can only be taken after the
student has completed all of his/her course work. It cannot be taken concurrently with
course work. Students must successfully complete this requirement before the award of a
degree. Students must apply for graduation and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be
able to register for the course.

Comprehensive Exam Course
The separate comprehensive examination course (eight or sixteen weeks depending upon
the program) prepares graduate students for the comprehensive examination in their area
of study. The purpose of the course is to provide a review of key concepts, theories and
knowledge, and skill sets. Some classes provide weekly assignments and discussions, while
others provide pointers regarding which materials to review and how to prepare for the
exam.

As part of the course, students may be asked to consult texts, journal articles, print and
media reports, and documentaries used in their classes. Collaboration with other students
enrolled in the course is also an essential component. Comprehensive exam courses require
students to submit answers to practice exam questions in order to become familiar with the
types of questions that may be asked during the exam. Regardless of which approach the
course takes, students are expected to participate fully in all course activities and must
meet all assigned deadlines.

Students who do not complete required course activities leading up to the exam will not be
allowed to take it. Students who fail the comprehensive exam and who have submitted all
course practice questions may be eligible to re-register for a second attempt at passing the

6

comprehensive exam. Any new registration requires the student re-enroll in and pay for a
new course. Those who do not submit all practice questions may be denied a second
attempt at the exam or may be required to take the Capstone course if available.

Taking the Exam
Instructors will provide students with the exam protocols at the beginning of the course.
These protocols will provide guidance for the exam (e.g., if the exam requires a proctor,
whether it will be open or closed book, etc.). If a proctor is required, the proctor must be
approved by the instructor prior to taking the exam. The exam must take place during the
last week of the course. However, to ensure confirmation of the test date and coordination
of the password (if one is required), the exam should be scheduled no later than the seventh
week of an eight-week course or the fifteenth week of a sixteen-week course.

Exams cannot be taken prior to the final week of the course. Faculty may not arrange with
the student to grade the exam prior to the official course end date. Students will not have
their degree conferred prior to the official end of their last course, including any extensions
given. The final grade will not be awarded until after the course ends.

The instructor will grade the exam using the exam grading rubric (found under the
Resources tab in the course classroom). Students should review the rubric prior to taking
the exam. Students will answer a minimum of four essay questions that will be graded as
follows:

1. Passed with distinction: This grade is rare and is only given to a student who passes
three questions with distinction and the fourth with at least a Pass. With distinction
(PWD) means the answers clearly demonstrate an understanding of the issue beyond
what is typically expected of graduate students and are written using accepted
academic writing conventions. The numeric indicator for this classification may differ
by schools, but a Passed with distinction should mean the answer is the equivalent of
an A+ or 96 percent or above.

2. Pass: This grade is assigned for essays that meet the requirements for a graduate-
level essay. The answers must demonstrate a clear understanding of the issue and
must be written using accepted academic writing conventions. Students who pass
three questions with at least a Pass will pass the examination. One Fail grade on the
four examination questions is allowed. A minimum of 80 percent is required to pass
the exam portion of the exam course.

3. Fail: This grade is assigned for essays that do not meet the requirements for a
graduate-level essay. This occurs when the answers fail to demonstrate a clear
understanding of the issues and/or have not been written using accepted academic

7

writing conventions. Students who fail two or more questions will fail the
examination.

Notes:
• Self-plagiarism. The student must be careful not to self-plagiarize in his/her exam.

Self-plagiarism is “the presentation of one’s own previously published work as new
scholarship.”1 Thus, using material from previous courses in your exam answers
equals self-plagiarism. Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a
comprehensive exam or Capstone paper will result in a grade of an F for the
exam/course.

• A student who fails the examination the first time cannot receive a grade of
Passed with distinction on the second examination. The highest grade possible is
a Pass. The second examination is to be graded by a faculty member different
from the first round of testing and will include different exam questions.

• Each new attempt at a comprehensive exam or Capstone requires the student
register and pay for the new course.
o If a student fails the comprehensive exam on the first attempt, and no

plagiarism is reported nor any evidence found that the student failed to
adhere to standard English academic writing protocols, the student will have
the option of registering again for a second attempt at the comprehensive
exam, or may opt to take the Capstone course, if available, in lieu of his/her
second attempt at the comprehensive exam.

o If a student fails the comprehensive exam on the first attempt and is allowed
to retake the exam, rather than being required to take the Capstone course,
the exam questions will be different, the instructor will be different, and the
student must pay for a second comprehensive exam course. The student is
expected to fully participate in all course activities in the new course.

o If the student fails the comprehensive exam on his/her first attempt because
he/she has not adhered to the conventions of standard English grammar
and/or formal academic writing, he/she may be required by the Director of
Graduate Studies and the dean of the student’s school to complete COLL501,
at the student’s expense, prior to being allowed to register again for the
comprehensive exam course, or may opt to take the Capstone course if
available, in lieu of a second attempt at the comprehensive exam. However,

1 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 2010. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association, pg. 16. Section 1.10 Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism elaborates on the matter.

8

the student may still be required to complete COLL501 prior to being allowed
to take the Capstone course.

o If the student fails the exam because of plagiarism, the student may be
allowed to re-take the exam at a designated exam site with a proctor. All
related expenses must be paid by the student.

o If a student has twice failed the comprehensive exam, he/she may be
permitted, under special circumstances, to enroll in the Capstone project
course for his/her discipline, if available. Students who have failed the
comprehensive exam twice may appeal for this option by submitting a written
appeal (which should include the student’s plan for completing the project
and that addresses all comments from the previous two instructors) to the
Director of Graduate Studies at [email protected]. In order for the appeal
to be considered, the student must be prepared to enroll in the Capstone
course within 180 days of the appeal approval. A student will not be given the
opportunity to take a comprehensive exam a third time.

o The student has the right to appeal issues related to the comprehensive
examination in line with the standard APUS appeals process. To appeal issues
with regard to the comprehensive examination, contact [email protected].

Faculty Role
Faculty in the comprehensive courses will

• ensure students and classrooms have the necessary course resources;
• provide students with the exam protocols;
• provide students with the exam rubric;
• provide students with extensive in-text feedback on their work as a way to assist in

their preparation (feedback is also designed to help students understand what is
considered a passing answer to exam questions);

• ensure students complete all activities leading up to the exam;
• submit all exam questions to a plagiarism detection tool;
• approve the proctor (if applicable);
• grade the exam using the program-approved rubric;

o When submitting a failing grade, the faculty member must also use the
provided drop down to notify the Registrar’s office of the main reason for the
failing grade, so that those involved may quickly know which retake options
should be made available to the student;

o The professor should also indicate, using drop down, if the student completed
the practice questions during the comprehensive exam course;

9

o The faculty member in coordination with the program director will identify a
second reader for the exam; and

• ensure the student does not take the exam prior to the last week of the course.

Program Director’s Role
All program directors will

• ensure all comprehensive courses have appropriate grading rubrics;
• ensure all faculty teaching courses are appropriately trained and follow the EOP

manual;
• ensure a copy of the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies is in

the classroom and accessible to students;
• vet all questions and processes and ensure all course expectations and

requirements are consistent;
• monitor and track all failures and secure readers to provide second reviews in the

case of failed grades; and
• ensure that all faculty are submitting the report to the Registrar regarding the reason

for any failing grades.

Proctoring
Comprehensive exams may be proctored pursuant to school and program requirements. If
the student is enrolled in a comprehensive exam course that is proctored, faculty members
will provide the following link to the APUS Web form during the first week of class:
http://www.apus.edu/proctor/select-proctor.

APUS is not responsible for finding proctors for individual students. It is the student’s
responsibility to do this and to complete the Web form process. If a student indicates on the
Web form that he/she cannot find a proctor, proctor monitoring staff will contact the student
to discuss possible options.

• Once the Web form is completed, the proctor monitor will be able to reach out to
assist with proctor identification and the rest of the process.

• Note: Proctor monitors have no way to contact a student who has not completed the
Web form.

The following are the requirements for proctors:

Your proctor will have overall responsibility for the security of the test administration. Your
proctor must hold either a minimum of a bachelor’s degree OR one of the following
professional positions:

• administrator or faculty member of any accredited institution of higher education;
• school teacher, counselor, local or regional librarian, or administrator;

10

• human resources manager, training manager, supervisor, or manager of higher rank;
• for military personnel: DANTES test control officer, educational services officer, base

librarian, or officer; or
• member of the clergy.

Note: Family members are not eligible to proctor your exam. Family members are defined as:

• spouse and his/her parents;
• sons and daughters and their spouses;
• parents and their spouses;
• brothers and sisters and their spouses;
• grandparents and grandchildren and their spouses; or
• domestic partner and his/her parents.

Students with questions about the process should direct them to the assigned faculty
member. If the faculty member is unable to assist, students may also contact
[email protected].

11

CHAPTER II

Master’s Capstone: Thesis Option

The master’s thesis provides an opportunity for students to
• plan and execute a major research project;
• provide a contribution to knowledge in their discipline;
• demonstrate mastery of the skills required of professional analysts and for more

advanced graduate studies;
• demonstrate familiarity with major schools of thought and principal published works

in the field; and
• culminate their graduate student experience as they complete their master’s program

and either continue or begin working in their chosen profession.

Beginning the Thesis Project
The master’s Capstone thesis option includes a thesis or a major research project or paper
in lieu of the final comprehensive examination. A thesis must have a substantial research
component, present an original argument, use proper academic writing conventions,
including carefully documented primary and/or secondary sources, and should be, at
minimum, fifty pages in length. This page count does NOT include the front and back matter
(e.g., table of contents, lists of figures, illustrations and tables, acknowledgment and
dedication pages, abstract, end notes pages, bibliography, appendices, etc.).

Students electing this option will have three less graduate electives than those students
enrolled in a comprehensive exam program. Students enrolling in a Capstone option
program will already have this reflected in their online academic plan. This option is
desirable for those students who wish to focus on specific subject matter or who would like
to continue their education at a higher level. Students enroll in the course available in the
given session and work with the professor on defining a thesis.

During thesis proposal process, the supervising professor may determine that the proposal
requires a human subject review by the APUS Institutional Review Board (IRB). If IRB review
is needed, the student will be advised by the professor to complete this process during the
initial weeks of the class. The IRB process can take up to one month to complete. Note:
Theses involving human subjects without an IRB approval will not be made available on the
public Web. More information about the APUS IRB can be found at
http://www.apus.edu/community-scholars/institutional-review-board/.

The course is tailored specifically to each graduate program and must be the last course
master’s degree students take from APUS. The Capstone course may be taken only after the
completion of all coursework. That is, no concurrent coursework is permitted. Students must
successfully complete this requirement before the award of a degree. Students must also

12

apply for graduation and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be able to register for the
course.

Thesis Proposal
A formal thesis proposal is required and shall be prepared in accordance with the standards
of the academic discipline. The formal proposal must provide a clear and lucid description of
a question or problem and a proposed method for answering it. Capstone thesis faculty
must approve the proposal before students move on to the next stage of the process.

The proposal should explain the question or problem to be investigated and convince the
thesis professor that the question or problem merits investigation. It should show that the
student has read the relevant and recent literature on the subject, and it should contain a
list of academically appropriate resources consulted during the preliminary stages of
research. In general, the thesis proposal should include background information related to
the research topic, purpose of the research, methodology, and analytic procedures to be
used.

Proposal drafting is considered a learning process and helps students avoid oversights and
possible mistakes. The formal proposal should not exceed five pages (title page not
included). For an overview of the required components a thesis should contain, see
Appendix 1. For further guidance on the format of the proposal, see the requirements within
the classroom.

Students are expected to work with their advisors and must follow all guidance provided in
the course, including submitting all required components of the research process. Students
should not expect to submit a final product at the end of the course without having
completed each stage of the research process as outlined. Professors are not required to
accept theses that have not undergone this review process.

Preparing the Thesis
Thesis preparation entails a partnership between the student and professor. The student
and professor shall coordinate the process for the student to submit and receive feedback
on drafts of thesis sections. The student is also encouraged to ask other APUS faculty and
professionals and leaders in his/her field of study to volunteer as thesis readers and provide
feedback on drafts of thesis sections where these faculty members and professionals may
have special expertise. For example, a student’s graduate research methods instructor may
be asked for feedback on the thesis research design.

Notes:
• Self-plagiarism. The student must be careful not to self-plagiarize in his/her exam.

Self-plagiarism is “the presentation of one’s own previously published work as new

13

scholarship.”2 Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a comprehensive exam or
Capstone paper will result in a grade of an F for the exam/course.

• Thesis formatting shall be in strict accordance with the End of Program Assessment
Manual for Graduate Studies (EOP Manual) to ensure uniformity across the
university.

• The citation approach and manuscript formatting is established by the program or
school’s officially designated style manual; however, the following are required to
follow the formats shown in Appendixes 4-8.

o Title page (required; Appendix 4) 3
o University publication license /Copyright Page (required; Appendix 5)
o Dedication page (if included; Appendix 6)
o Acknowledgements page (if included; Appendix 7)
o Abstract of the thesis (required; Appendix 8)

• The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures should be formatted
according to the program’s or school’s designated style manual with the following
exceptions (see Appendixes 9-11 for examples).

o Dot leaders (periods between words and pages) are required.
o Pages should be left justified.
o Double space between entries.
o Note: Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add ease to navigation.

• Style manuals are located in the APUS Library at
http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/style_guides.

• The thesis must also follow appropriate APUS Library declarations (see
Chapter VI).

• Appropriate stylistic formatting and documentation are the student’s responsibility.
Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted.

Approval of Thesis
Once a final thesis manuscript is approved by the thesis professor, it will be graded based
on the standards in the program’s grading rubric on a categorical scale of A+ through F. A
grade of an A+ (or 96 percent and above) is the equivalent of the comprehensive exam
designation of Passed with distinction (PWD). Thus, an A+ is only given to those papers that
demonstrate excellence in originality, research, argument, and expression. Any thesis that
receives this grade must be of such high quality that it is potentially publishable in a
discipline-appropriate scholarly academic journal. (See Appendix 16 for the PWD rubric.) If

2 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 2010. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association, pg. 16. Section 1.10 Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism elaborates on the matter.

3 This means that papers using APA formatting should not include the running head on the title page.

14

the thesis receives a grade of Passed with distinction (PWD), a completed grading rubric
must accompany the thesis when it is submitted to the library. Theses with this grade
distinction submitted without the rubric will not be accepted.

The following signatures are required for approval on the APUS Library Capstone
Submission/Approval Form: Capstone professor, program director, and academic dean.
Those programs that require a 2nd reader must include that person’s signature as well.

Submission of Final Thesis
The last step in the thesis project is to submit the final manuscript (in Microsoft Word
format) to the APUS Library. This is done by the program director and NOT the student.

All thesis Capstone papers are retained by the APUS Library. The program director must
submit the student’s paper within one month of the course completion date. All spelling,
grammar, citations, etc. must be correct and appropriate. Instructor feedback comments
should not appear in the final version submitted to the library. The student’s paper must be
checked using plagiarism detection software before submission.

Exceptional works, those that received a grade of an A+, will be considered for publication by
the APUS Library in DigitalCommons@APUS as an example of a Capstone project that meets
the highest level of distinction.

In order to have your paper considered for inclusion, the paper must:

• have received a grade of A+ (i.e., equivalent of a Passed with distinction);
• have been recommended by the instructor, the program director, AND the school

dean;
• include the Institutional Review Board (IRB) authorization documentation, if

appropriate;
• include a completed PWD rubric (see Appendix 16);
• have been approved by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies who

will apply standards outlined in the PWD rubric (see Appendix 16); and
• have met the publication guidelines of the APUS Library.

See Chapter VI for detailed submission procedures and Appendix 18 for the Checklist for
Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library (which includes the links for the APUS Library
Capstone Submission/Approval Form and PWD rubric).

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
Students who have not successfully completed their Capstone project during the period
allowed for the Capstone course may be allowed one extension opportunity to complete the
requirement. Students who are permitted this opportunity will temporarily be issued an

15

incomplete for the course and be allowed a 30-day extension to meet the requirements as
outlined by the advisor.

In order for students to be permitted any additional extensions on their original Capstone
course the faculty member must forward all second extension requests in the Capstone
course to [email protected]. The extension request will be reviewed by a committee of
two that includes the dean of the student’s school and the Director of Graduate Studies. In
the event the student fails to meet the extension deadlines, the original Capstone course
grade will either remain as a failing grade or as a withdrawal, depending upon the
documentation a student is able to submit.

If a student has failed the Capstone, and it is determined to be caused by the student’s
inability to use proper academic writing conventions, the student may be required to
complete COLL501 prior to enrolling in a final attempt at the Capstone course.

Note: Each new attempt at a comprehensive exam or Capstone requires the student register
and pay for the new course.

The student has the right to appeal issues related to the Capstone process in line with the
standard APUS appeals process by contacting [email protected].

Faculty Role
Faculty in the Capstone courses will

• ensure students and classrooms have the necessary course resources;
• ensure the academic quality and integrity of the thesis;
• direct the intellectual content and proper formatting of the thesis;
• provide students with a detailed process to submit and receive feedback on drafts of

thesis sections;
• approve the proposal before students move on to the next stage of the process;
• provide students with extensive in-text feedback on drafts;
• submit paper to plagiarism detection tool;
• send the manuscript and a copy of the thesis and the thesis rubric evaluation to the

program director who will then forward to a second reader, if required;
• issue a final thesis grade using the program-approved rubric;
• in the event of the student fails the Capstone thesis, when submitting the final grade,

indicate the reason for that grade;
o When submitting a failing grade, the faculty member must also use the

provided drop down to notify the Registrar’s office of the main reason for the
failing grade, so that those involved may quickly know which retake options
should be made available to the student.

16

• work with students who require an extension to ensure completion within the allotted
timeframe; and

• submit the completed document to the program director to be signed by him/her and
the school dean before being forwarded on to the APUS Library as outlined in Chapter
VI. Submitted along with this are the following documents:

1. required cover letter/page;4
2. completed Submission/Approval e-form (see Appendix 18 for download link);
3. IRB documentation (if applicable; see Appendix 15);
4. Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric (if grade awarded is PWD; see

Appendix 16 for download link).

Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the thesis. The second reader
will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader is to
review the thesis using the program-approved rubric. The second reader will independently
grade the work. Once the second reader has received the thesis, he/she has one week to
review and respond to the thesis advisor. If the second reader’s evaluation does not concur
with that of the thesis advisor, the paper will go to the appropriate program director or
school dean to issue a decision about the final grade.

Program Director’s Role
All program directors will

• ensure all Capstone courses have appropriate grading rubrics;
• ensure all thesis courses are set up properly and include a requirement for a thesis

proposal;
• ensure a copy of the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies is in

the classroom and accessible to students;
• ensure all faculty who teach the Capstone courses are appropriately trained and

qualified to do so;
• vet all Capstone requirements and ensure course expectations and requirements are

consistent across courses;
• monitor and track all failures and ensure faculty are reporting the reason for failing

grades;
• select second readers, if appropriate; and
• issue final approval for all Capstones, secure school dean’s signature, and submit

work to the APUS Library (see Chapter VI and Appendix 18).

4 The email message in the submission email may constitute the “cover letter.”

17

CHAPTER III

Master’s Capstone: Creative Project

The master’s creative project provides an opportunity for students to

• plan and execute a creative project;
• provide a contribution to their discipline;
• demonstrate mastery of the skills required of professionals in their discipline; and
• culminate their graduate student experience as they complete their master’s program

and either continue or begin working in their chosen profession.

Beginning the Creative Project
The course is tailored specifically to each graduate program and must be the last course
master’s degree students take from APUS. The Capstone course may be taken only after the
completion of all coursework. That is, no concurrent coursework is permitted. Students must
successfully complete this requirement before the award of a degree. Students must apply
for graduation and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be able to register for the course.

Creative Project Proposal
A formal creative project proposal is required and shall be prepared in accordance with the
standards of the academic discipline. The formal proposal must provide a clear and lucid
description of a creative project and must include a discussion of how that project is
situated within the discipline. The proposal should explain the goal and intent of the project
and convince the professor that the project fits within the discipline, can be completed in
the allotted time, and comports with discipline standards.

Proposal drafting is considered a learning process and helps the student avoid oversights
and possible mistakes. It should show that the student has read the relevant and recent
literature on the subject, and it should contain a list of materials consulted during the
preliminary stages of research.

In general, the creative project proposal should include background information related to
the project topic, the purpose of the project, and investigatory procedures to be used. The
formal proposal should not exceed five pages (title page not included). For further guidance
on the format of the proposal see requirements within the classroom. An overview of the
required components of master’s creative project can be found in Appendix 2. Professors
are not required to accept work that has not undergone this review process.

Completing the Creative Project
Creative project preparation entails a partnership between the student and the professor
who is responsible for directing the intellectual content and activities of the project. The

18

student and professor shall coordinate the process for the student to submit and receive
feedback on project activities. The student also is encouraged to ask other APUS faculty and
professionals and leaders in his/her field of study to volunteer to observe and provide
feedback on project activities where these faculty members and professionals may have
special expertise.

Notes:
• Self-plagiarism. The student must be careful not to self-plagiarize in his/her exam.

Self-plagiarism is “the presentation of one’s own previously published work as new
scholarship.”5 Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a comprehensive exam or
Capstone paper will result in a grade of an F for the exam/course.

• Creative project length and depth shall be in accordance with disciplinary standards.
• Formatting shall be in strict accordance with the End of Program Assessment Manual

for Graduate Studies (EOP Manual) to ensure uniformity across the university.
• The citation approach and manuscript formatting is established by the program or

school’s officially designated style manual; however, the following are required to
follow the formats shown in Appendixes 4-8.

o Title page (required; Appendix 4) 6
o University publication license /Copyright Page (required; Appendix 5)
o Dedication page (if included; Appendix 6)
o Acknowledgements page (if included; Appendix 7)
o Abstract of the thesis (required; Appendix 8)

• The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures should be formatted
according to the program’s or school’s designated style manual with the following
exceptions (see Appendixes 9-11 for examples).

o Dot leaders (periods between words and pages) are required.
o Pages should be left justified.
o Double space between entries.
o Note: Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add ease to navigation.

• Style manuals are located in the APUS Library at
http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/style_guides.

• The thesis must also follow appropriate APUS Library declarations (see Chapter VI).
• Appropriate stylistic formatting and documentation are the student’s responsibility.

Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted.

5 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 2010. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association, pg. 16. Section 1.10 Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism elaborates on the matter.

6 This means that papers using APA formatting should not include the running head on the title page.

19

Approval of Creative Project
Once a final project manuscript is approved by the Capstone professor, the creative project will be
graded based on the standards in the creative project rubric on a categorical scale of grades
A+ through F. A grade of an A+ (or 96 percent) is the equivalent of the comprehensive exam
designation of Passed with distinction. Thus, an A+ is only given to those works that
demonstrate excellence in originality, research, argument, and/or expression. The creative
project that receives this grade must be of such high quality that it is potentially publishable
in a discipline-appropriate academic journal. (See Appendix 16 for the PWD rubric.) If the thesis
receives a grade of Passed with distinction (PWD), a completed grading rubric must accompany the
thesis when it is submitted to the library. Theses with this grade distinction submitted without the
rubric will not be accepted.

The following signatures are required for approval on the APUS Library Capstone
Submission/Approval Form: Capstone professor, program director, and academic dean.
Those programs that require a 2nd reader must include that person’s signature as well.

Submission of Creative Project Report
The last step in the project is to submit the final manuscript (in Microsoft Word format) to
the APUS Library. This is done by the program director and NOT the student.

All Capstone papers are retained by the APUS Library. The program director must submit the
student’s paper within one month of the course completion date. All spelling, grammar,
citations, etc. must be correct and appropriate. Instructor feedback comments should not
appear in the final version submitted to the APUS Library. The student’s paper must be
checked using a plagiarism detection tool before submission.

Exceptional works, those that received a grade of an A+, will be considered for publication by
the APUS Library in DigitalCommons@APUS as an example of a Capstone project that meets
the highest level of distinction.

Critical reflection papers, while eligible for the grade of Passed with distinction, may not be
eligible to be placed in DigitalCommons@APUS due to the personalized information that may
be contained within the papers. The final decision for placement in DigitalCommons@APUS
will be made by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies.

In order to have your paper considered for inclusion, the paper must:

• have received a grade of A+ (i.e., equivalent of a Passed with distinction);
• have been recommended by the instructor, the program director, AND the school

dean;
• include the Institutional Review Board (IRB) authorization documentation, if

appropriate;
• include a completed PWD rubric (see Appendix 16);

20

• have been approved by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies who
will apply standards outlined in the PWD rubric (see Appendix 16); and

• have met the publication guidelines of the APUS Library.

See Chapter VI for detailed submission procedures and Appendix 18 for the Checklist for
Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library (which includes the link for the APUS Library
Capstone Submission/Approval Form).

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
Students who have not successfully completed their Capstone project during the period
allowed for the Capstone course may be allowed one extension opportunity to complete the
requirement. Students who are permitted this opportunity will temporarily be issued an
incomplete for the course and be allowed a 30-day extension to meet the requirements as
outlined by the advisor.

In order for students to be permitted any additional extensions on their original Capstone
course the faculty member must forward all second extension requests in the Capstone
course to [email protected]. The extension request will be reviewed by a committee of
two that includes the dean of the student’s school and the Director of Graduate Studies. In
the event the students fails to meet the extension deadlines, the original Capstone course
grade will either remain as a failing grade, or as a withdrawal, depending upon the
documentation a student is able to submit.

If a student has failed the Capstone, and it is determined to be caused by the student’s
inability to use proper academic writing conventions, the student may be required to
complete COLL501 prior to enrolling in a final attempt at the Capstone course.

Note: Each new attempt at a comprehensive exam or Capstone requires the student register
and pay for the new course.

The student has the right to appeal issues related to the comprehensive examination in line
with the standard APUS appeals process by contacting [email protected].

Faculty Role
Faculty in these courses will

• ensure students and classrooms have the necessary course resources;
• ensure the academic quality and integrity of the work;
• direct the intellectual content and proper formatting of the project;
• provide students with a detailed process to submit and receive feedback on project

drafts;

21

• approve the proposal before students move on to the next stage of the process;
• provide students with extensive in-text feedback on project drafts;
• issue a final project grade using the program-approved rubric;
• submit all exam questions to plagiarism detection tool;
• send the manuscript and a copy of the Capstone and the Capstone rubric evaluation

to the program director who will then forward to a second reader, if required;
• in the event of the student fails the Capstone, when submitting the final grade,

indicate the reason for that grade;
o When submitting a failing grade, the faculty member must also use the

provided drop down to notify the Registrar’s office of the main reason for the
failing grade, so that those involved may quickly know which retake options
should be made available to the student.

• work with students who require an extension to ensure completion within the allotted
timeframe; and

• submit the completed document to the program director to be signed by him/her and
the school dean before being forwarded on to the APUS Library as outlined in Chapter
VI. Submitted along with this are the following documents:

1. required cover letter/page;7
2. completed Submission/Approval e-form (see Appendix 18 for download link);
3. IRB documentation (if applicable; see Appendix 15);
4. Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric (if grade awarded is PWD; see

Appendix 16 for download link).

Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the Capstone. The second
reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader
is to review the Capstone using the program-approved rubric. The second reader will
independently grade the work. Once the second reader has received the Capstone, he/she
has one week to review and respond to the Capstone advisor. If the second reader’s
evaluation does not concur with the Capstone advisor, the paper will go to the appropriate
program director or school dean to issue a decision about the final grade.

In the event of a failing grade, the rubric must be provided to the program director who will
appoint a second reader to review the work.

Program Director’s Role
All program directors will

• ensure all Capstone courses have appropriate grading rubrics;

7 The email message in the submission email may constitute the “cover letter.”

22

• ensure all Capstone courses are set up properly and include a requirement for a
creative project proposal;

• ensure all faculty who teach the Capstone courses are appropriately trained and
qualified to do so;

• ensure a copy of the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies is in
the classroom and accessible to students;

• vet all Capstone requirements and ensure course expectations and requirements are
consistent across courses;

• monitor and track all failures and ensure faculty are reporting the reason for failing
grades;

• select second readers, if appropriate; and
• issue final approval for all Capstones, secure school dean’s signature, and submit

work to the APUS Library (see Chapter VI and Appendix 18).

23

CHAPTER IV

Master’s Capstone: Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper

The master’s practicum and critical reflection paper provide an opportunity for students to

• obtain experience in a focused area or discipline of their study;
• critically reflect on work experience in light of theory learned in class;
• demonstrate mastery of the skills required of professionals in their discipline; and
• culminate their graduate student experience as they complete their master’s program

and either continue or begin working in their chosen profession.

Beginning the Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper
The course is tailored specifically to each graduate program and must be the last course
master’s degree students take from APUS. The Capstone course may be taken only after the
completion of all coursework. That is, no concurrent coursework is permitted. Students must
successfully complete this requirement before the award of a degree. Students must apply
for graduation and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be able to register for the course.

Practicum Proposal
A formal practicum proposal is required and shall be prepared in accordance with the
standards of the academic discipline. The formal proposal must provide a clear and lucid
description of the practicum including the location or organization in which the practicum
will be completed, a description of the 160 hours of work required to complete the
practicum, the schedule and objectives for the work to be completed, and the name and title
of the supervising staff member at the organization. In addition, the students will need to
describe how completing this practicum is consistent with their course of study and
articulate the objectives they hope to achieve through the completion of this practicum.

The proposal should explain the objectives to be learned and convince the practicum
professor that the proposed practicum merits application and integration of learning for the
student and specified degree. It should show that the student has read the relevant and
recent literature related to the practicum selection, and it should contain a list of materials
consulted during the preliminary stages as part of the rationale for doing the practicum in
the identified organization.

In general, the practicum proposal should include background information related to the
learning objectives, identification, selection, and background of the organization and work to
be completed, purpose of the practicum, and critical reflection process procedures to be
used during it. The formal proposal should not exceed five pages (title page not included).
Proposal drafting is considered a learning process and helps the students avoid oversights
and possible mistakes. For further guidance on the format of the proposal see requirements

24

within the classroom. An overview of the required components of a master’s practicum
paper can be found in Appendix 3.

Completing the Practicum
Practicum preparation entails a partnership between the student, an outside organization,
and a supervising professor who is responsible for directing the intellectual content and
activities of the practicum. One hundred sixty on-site hours are required for successful
completion of the practicum. The practicum may not be completed in the student’s current
reporting structure at work, and it is preferred that it be completed at an organization other
than the student’s current place of employment.

Selecting an appropriate mentor in the workplace who will support the learning of the
student in this process is critical to the successful completion of the practicum. The
professor will provide guidelines for selecting a mentor and the mentor’s role in the
practicum.

Students are required to keep a log or journal during the practicum and to write a critical
reflection paper on this experience. The integration paper will be between 25 and 30 pages
and follow a method similar to David Kolb’s experiential learning style as the basis and
method for writing the paper.

Completion of the reflection paper and formatting shall be directed by the professor. The
student and professor shall coordinate the process for the student to submit and receive
feedback on practicum activities and the critical reflection paper.

The student also is required to obtain the mentor (see above) who will provide feedback on
practicum activities. Outside faculty and other professionals’ opinions and feedback also
may be sought, especially where faculty members and professionals have special expertise.
Before consulting outside sources, be sure to consult your course instructor.

Notes:
• Self-plagiarism. The student must be careful not to self-plagiarize in his/her exam.

Self-plagiarism is “the presentation of one’s own previously published work as new
scholarship.”8 Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a comprehensive exam or
Capstone paper will result in a grade of an F for the exam/course.

• The paper’s length and depth shall be in accordance with disciplinary standards.
• Formatting shall be in strict accordance with the End of Program Assessment Manual

for Graduate Studies to ensure uniformity across the university.

8 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 2010. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association, pg. 16. Section 1.10 Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism elaborates on the matter.

25

• The citation approach and manuscript formatting is established by the program or
school’s officially designated style manual; however, the following are required to
follow the formats shown in Appendixes 4-8.

o Title page (required; Appendix 4) 9
o University publication license /Copyright Page (required; Appendix 5)
o Dedication page (if included; Appendix 6)
o Acknowledgements page (if included; Appendix 7)
o Abstract of the thesis (required; Appendix 8)

• The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures should be formatted
according to the program’s or school’s designated style manual with the following
exceptions (see Appendixes 9-11 for examples).

o Dot leaders (periods between words and pages) are required.
o Pages should be left justified.
o Double space between entries.
o Note: Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add ease to navigation.

• Style manuals are located in the APUS Library at
http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/style_guides.

• The thesis must also follow appropriate APUS Library declarations (see
Chapter VI).

• Appropriate stylistic formatting and documentation are the student’s responsibility.
Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted.

Approval of the Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper
Once a final critical reflection paper is approved by the professor, final grading for the
practicums and the critical reflection paper will be based on the standards in the APUS
practicum and critical reflection rubric on a categorical scale of A+ through F. A grade of an
A+ is the equivalent of the comprehensive exam designation of Passed with distinction
(PWD). Thus, a grade of an A+ is only given to those projects that demonstrate excellence
and are of the highest quality. The project that receives this grade must be of such high
quality that it is potentially publishable in a discipline-appropriate scholarly academic
journal. (See Appendix 16 for the PWD rubric.) If the thesis receives a grade of Passed with
distinction (PWD), a completed grading rubric must accompany the thesis when it is
submitted to the library. Theses with this grade distinction submitted without the rubric will
not be accepted.

The following signatures are required for approval on the APUS Library Capstone
Submission/Approval Form: Capstone professor, program director, and academic dean.
Those programs that require a 2nd reader must include that person’s signature as well.

9 This means that papers using APA formatting should not include the running head on the title page.

26

Submission of Critical Reflection Paper
The final step in the project is to submit the final manuscript to the APUS Library, which is
done by the program director and NOT the student.

All Capstone papers are retained by the APUS Library. The program director must submit the
student’s paper within one month of the course completion date. All spelling, grammar,
citations, etc. must be correct and appropriate. Instructor feedback comments should not
appear in the final version submitted to the library. The student’s paper must be checked by
the plagiarism detection tool before submission.

Exceptional works, those that received a grade of an A+, will be considered for publication by
the APUS Library in DigitalCommons@APUS as an example of a Capstone project that meets
the highest level of distinction.

Critical reflection papers, while eligible for the grade of Passed with distinction may not be
eligible to be placed in DigitalCommons@APUS due to the personalized information that may
be contained within the papers. The final decision for placement in DigitalCommons@APUS
will be made by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies.

• have received a grade of A+ (i.e., equivalent of a Passed with distinction);
• have been recommended by the instructor, the program director, AND the school

dean;
• include the Institutional Review Board (IRB) authorization documentation, if

appropriate;
• include a completed PWD rubric (see Appendix 16);
• have been approved by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies who

will apply standards outlined in the PWD rubric (see Appendix 16); and
• have met the publication guidelines of the APUS Library.

See Chapter VI for detailed submission procedures and Appendix 18 for the Checklist for
Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library (which includes the link for the APUS Library
Capstone Submission/Approval Form).

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
Students who have not successfully completed their Capstone project during the period
allowed for the Capstone course may be allowed one extension opportunity to complete the
requirement. Students who are permitted this opportunity will temporarily be issued an
incomplete for the course and be allowed a 30-day extension to meet the requirements as
outlined by the advisor.

27

In order for students to be permitted any additional extensions on their original Capstone
course the faculty member must forward all second extension requests in the Capstone
course to [email protected]. The extension request will be reviewed by a committee of
two that includes the dean of the student’s school and the Director of Graduate Studies. In
the event the students fails to meet the extension deadlines, the original Capstone course
grade will either remain as a failing grade, or as a withdrawal, depending upon the
documentation a student is able to submit.

If a student has failed the Capstone, and it is determined to be caused by the student’s
inability to use proper academic writing conventions, the student may be required to
complete COLL501 prior to enrolling in a final attempt at the Capstone course.

Note: Each new attempt at a comprehensive exam or Capstone requires the student register
and pay for the new course.

The student has the right to appeal issues related to the comprehensive examination or
Capstone in line with the standard APUS appeals process by contacting
[email protected].

Faculty Role
Faculty in these courses will

• ensure students and classrooms have the necessary course resources;
• ensure the academic quality and integrity of the work;
• direct the intellectual content and proper formatting of the project;
• provide students with a detailed process to submit and receive feedback on project

drafts;
• approve the proposal before students move on to the next stage of the process;
• provide students with extensive in-text feedback on project drafts;
• issue a final project grade using the program-approved rubric;
• submit all exam questions to plagiarism detection tool;
• send the manuscript and a copy of the Capstone and the Capstone rubric evaluation

to the program director who will then forward to a second reader, if required;
• in the event of the student fails the Capstone, when submitting the final grade,

indicate the reason for that grade;
o When submitting a failing grade, the faculty member must also use the

provided drop down to notify the Registrar’s office of the main reason for the
failing grade, so that those involved may quickly know which retake options
should be made available to the student.

28

• work with students who require an extension to ensure completion within the allotted
timeframe; and

• submit the completed document to the program director to be signed by him/her and
the school dean before being forwarded on to the APUS Library as outlined in Chapter
VI. Submitted along with this are the following documents:

1. required cover letter/page;10
2. completed Submission/Approval e-form (see Appendix 18 for download link);
3. IRB documentation (if applicable; see Appendix 15);
4. Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric (if grade awarded is PWD; see

Appendix 16 for download link).

Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the Capstone. The second
reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader
is to review the Capstone using the program-approved rubric. The second reader will
independently grade the work. Once the second reader has received the Capstone, he/she
has one week to review and respond to the Capstone advisor. If the second reader’s
evaluation does not concur with the Capstone advisor, the paper will go to the appropriate
program director or school dean to issue a decision about the final grade.

In the event of a failing grade, the rubric must be provided to the program director who will
appoint a second reader to review the work.

Program Director’s Role
All program directors will

• ensure all Capstone courses have appropriate grading rubrics;
• ensure all Capstone courses are set up properly and include a requirement for a

Capstone project proposal;
• ensure all faculty who teach the Capstone courses are appropriately trained and

qualified to do so;
• ensure a copy of the End of Program Assessment Manual is in the classroom and

accessible to students;
• vet all Capstone requirements and ensure course expectations and requirements are

consistent across courses;
• provide guidelines for selecting a mentor and the mentor’s role in the practicum;
• monitor and track all failures and ensure faculty are reporting the reason for failing

grades;
• select second readers, if appropriate; and

10 The email message in the submission email may constitute the “cover letter.”

29

• issue final approval for all Capstones, secure school dean’s signature and submit
work to the APUS Library (see Chapter VI and Appendix 18).

30

CHAPTER V

Master’s Capstone: Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper Option

The master’s portfolio option provides an opportunity for students to

• demonstrate a mastery of the area or discipline of their study;
• critically reflect on the learning that has occurred during their study;
• apply theory learned in class to real world situations and scenarios;
• demonstrate mastery of the skills required of professionals in their discipline; and
• culminate their graduate student experience as they complete their master’s program

and either continue or begin working in their chosen profession.

Beginning the Portfolio Option
The course is tailored specifically to each graduate program and must be the last course
master’s degree students take from APUS. The Capstone course may be taken only after the
completion of all coursework. That is, no concurrent coursework is permitted. Students must
successfully complete this requirement before the award of a degree. Students must apply
for graduation and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be able to register for the course.

Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper
Each program specifies the artifacts that make up the portfolio. Students are expected to
retain these artifacts as they progress through their program. These artifacts will be
reviewed and reevaluated by the student and the professor.

Students are required to keep a log or journal during their course of study at APUS. This will
help the student when they have to write a critical reflection paper on their learning
experience.

The final Capstone course provides the opportunity for students to reflect upon their
learning and to demonstrate through their critical reflection paper that they have met the
program learning outcomes. This will entail reflection on the various artifacts, but also
application of critical discipline theory. Professors work with students as they demonstrate
the program’s established competencies. The paper should also show that the student has
read the relevant and recent literature related to the program and it should contain a list of
materials consulted during the student’s course of study. It should be roughly 50 pages (not
including front and back matter). An overview of the required components of a Master
Critical Reflection paper can be found in Appendix 17.

31

Completing the Capstone
Portfolio preparation entails a partnership between the student and the supervising
professor who is responsible for directing the intellectual content and activities of the
portfolio.

Completion of the reflection paper and formatting shall be directed by the professor. The
student and professor shall coordinate the process for the student to submit and receive
feedback on practicum activities and the critical reflection paper.

Notes:
• Self-plagiarism. The student must be careful not to self-plagiarize in his/her exam.

Self-plagiarism is “the presentation of one’s own previously published work as new
scholarship.”11 Evidence of academic dishonesty found in a comprehensive exam or
Capstone paper will result in a grade of an F for the exam/course.

• The paper’s length and depth shall be in accordance with disciplinary standards.
• Formatting shall be in strict accordance with the End of Program Assessment Manual

for Graduate Studies to ensure uniformity across the university.
• The citation approach and manuscript formatting is established by the program or

school’s officially designated style manual; however, the following are required to
follow the formats shown in Appendixes 4-8.

o Title page (required; Appendix 4) 12
o University publication license /Copyright Page (required; Appendix 5)
o Dedication page (if included; Appendix 6)
o Acknowledgements page (if included; Appendix 7)
o Abstract of the thesis (required; Appendix 8)

• The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures should be formatted
according to the program’s or school’s designated style manual with the following
exceptions (see Appendixes 9-11 for examples).

o Dot leaders (periods between words and pages) are required.
o Pages should be left justified.
o Double space between entries.

• Note: Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add ease to navigation. Style
manuals are located in the APUS Library at
http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/style_guides.

11 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 2010. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association, pg. 16. Section 1.10 Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism elaborates on the matter.

12 This means that papers using APA formatting should not include the running head on the title page.

32

• The thesis must also follow appropriate APUS Library declarations (see
Chapter VI).

• Appropriate stylistic formatting and documentation are the student’s responsibility.
Student papers that do not follow the prescribed style rules will not be accepted.

Approval of the Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper
Once a final critical reflection paper is approved by the professor, final grading for the portfolio and
the critical reflection paper will be based on the standards in the APUS portfolio and critical
reflection rubric on a categorical scale of A+ through F. A grade of an A+ is the equivalent of
the comprehensive exam designation of Passed with Distinction (PWD). Thus, a grade of an
A+ is only given to those projects that demonstrate excellence and are of the highest quality.
The project that receives this grade must be of high quality. (See Appendix 16 for the PWD
rubric.) Because of the potential sensitive personal information contained in the critical reflection
paper for the portfolio, PWD papers may not be eligible for inclusion in DigitalCommons@APUS.

The following signatures are required for approval on the APUS Library Capstone
Submission/Approval Form: Capstone professor, program director, and academic dean.
Those programs that require a 2nd reader must include that person’s signature as well.

Submission of Critical Reflection Paper
The final step in the project is to submit the final manuscript to the APUS Library, which is
done by the program director and NOT the student.

All Capstone papers are retained by the APUS Library. Program directors must submit the
student’s paper within one month of the course completion date. All spelling, grammar,
citations, etc. must be correct and appropriate. Instructor feedback comments should not
appear in the final version submitted to the library. The student’s paper must be checked
using plagiarism detection tool before submission.

Exceptional works, those that received a grade of an A+, will be considered for publication by
the APUS Library in DigitalCommons@APUS as an example of a Capstone project that meets
the highest level of distinction.

Critical reflection papers, while eligible for the grade of Passed with distinction, may not be
eligible to be placed in DigitalCommons@APUS due to the personalized information that may
be contained within the papers. The final decision for placement in DigitalCommons@APUS
will be made by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies.

In order to have your paper considered for inclusion, the paper must:

• have received a grade of A+ (i.e., equivalent of a Passed with distinction);
• have been recommended by the instructor, the program director, AND the school

dean;

33

• include the Institutional Review Board (IRB) authorization documentation, if
appropriate;

• include a completed PWD rubric (see Appendix 16);
• have been approved by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate Studies who

will apply standards outlined in the PWD rubric (see Appendix 16); and
• have met the publication guidelines of the APUS Library.

See Chapter VI for detailed submission procedures and Appendix 18 for the Checklist for
Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library (which includes the link for the APUS Library
Capstone Submission/Approval Form).

Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
Students who have not successfully completed their Capstone project during the period
allowed for the Capstone course may be allowed one extension opportunity to complete the
requirement. Students who are permitted this opportunity will temporarily be issued an
incomplete for the course and be allowed a 30-day extension to meet the requirements as
outlined by the advisor.

In order for students to be permitted any additional extensions on their original Capstone
course the faculty member must forward all second extension requests in the Capstone
course to [email protected]. The extension request will be reviewed by a committee of
two that includes the dean of the student’s school and the Director of Graduate Studies. In
the event the students fails to meet the extension deadlines, the original Capstone course
grade will either remain as a failing grade, or as a withdrawal, depending upon the
documentation a student is able to submit.

If a student has failed the Capstone, and it is determined to be caused by the student’s
inability to use proper academic writing conventions, the student may be required to
complete COLL501 prior to enrolling in a final attempt at the Capstone course.

Note: Each new attempt at a comprehensive exam or Capstone requires the student register
and pay for the new course.

The student has the right to appeal issues related to the comprehensive examination in line
with the standard APUS appeals process by contacting [email protected].

Faculty Role

Faculty in these courses will

• ensure students and classrooms have the necessary course resources;
• ensure the academic quality and integrity of the work;

34

• direct the intellectual content and proper formatting of the project;
• provide students with a detailed process to submit and receive feedback on project

drafts;
• approve the proposal before students move on to the next stage of the process;
• provide students with extensive in-text feedback on project drafts;
• issue a final project grade using the program-approved rubric;
• submit all exam questions to plagiarism detection tool;
• send the manuscript and a copy of the Capstone and the Capstone rubric evaluation

to the program director who will then forward to a second reader, if required;
• in the event of the student fails the Capstone, when submitting the final grade,

indicate the reason for that grade;
o When submitting a failing grade, the faculty member must also use the

provided drop down to notify the Registrar’s office of the main reason for the
failing grade, so that those involved may quickly know which retake options
should be made available to the student.

• work with students who require an extension to ensure completion within the allotted
timeframe; and

• submit the completed document to the program director to be signed by him/her and
the school dean before being forwarded on to the APUS Library as outlined in Chapter
VI. Submitted along with this are the following documents:

1. required cover letter/page;13
2. completed Submission/Approval e-form (see Appendix 18 for download link);
3. IRB documentation (if applicable; see Appendix 15);
4. Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric (if grade awarded is PWD; see

Appendix 16 for download link).

Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the Capstone. The second
reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader
is to review the Capstone using the program-approved rubric. The second reader will
independently grade the work. Once the second reader has received the Capstone, he/she
has one week to review and respond to the Capstone advisor. If the second reader’s
evaluation does not concur with the Capstone advisor, the paper will go to the appropriate
program director or school dean to issue a decision about the final grade.

In the event of a failing grade, the rubric must be provided to the program director who will
appoint a second reader to review the work.

13 The email message in the submission email may constitute the “cover letter.”

35

Program Director’s Role
All program directors will

• ensure all Capstone courses have appropriate grading rubrics;
• ensure all Capstone courses are set up properly;
• ensure all faculty who teach the Capstone courses are appropriately trained and

qualified to do so;
• ensure a copy of the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies is in

the classroom and accessible to students;
• vet all Capstone requirements and ensure course expectations and requirements are

consistent across courses;
• monitor and track all failures and ensure faculty are reporting the reason for failing

grades;
• select second readers, if appropriate; and
• issue final approval for all Capstones, secure school dean’s signature, and submit

work to the APUS Library (see Chapter VI and Appendix 18).

36

CHAPTER VI

University Declarations and APUS Library Registration

This section of the manual addresses those factors, along with assistance, for the use of
Microsoft Word, the university’s designated word processing software.

The APUS Library is acting in its capacity as publisher of record and regulator for scholarly
publication along with the maintenance of current Web standards. In addition to the
faculty’s responsibility for subject area competence, the APUS Library retains approval rights
for featuring Capstone writing projects. Only projects that have met the standard of Passed
with distinction and have been approved are eligible for inclusion in the University’s online
publication database, DigitalCommons@APUS.

All successful Capstone projects must be submitted to the APUS Library following the
guidance in this chapter.

In keeping with scholarly standards, the university demands that all textual materials be
warranted and constructed in good order, which implies writing in standard English,
checking spelling and grammar, and conforming with stylistic rules from the student’s
academic or professional program and its designated style manual (APA, Bluebook,
Chicago/Turabian, or MLA). Style manuals are located in the APUS Library at
http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/style_guides.

Because APUS is an online school, student work products also must be designed with Web
publication in mind. Graduate students are expected to demonstrate word-processing skills.
The resulting paper must align with Internet delivery and search engine discovery, as well as
with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) criteria for a semantic network and disabled
student access under Section 508.

Note: The APUS Library is committed to open access, ADA accessibility methods, and
long-term maintenance of all accepted submissions. While the library encourages the
use of images, diagrams, media files, and datasets, it does not engage in long-term
formal normalization and preservation methods for images, datasets, or media files.

1. Declarations
The author must agree to and include the following statements at the bottom of the
manuscript’s copyright page:

• University Publication License: The applicant must grant the university a nonexclusive
license to publish the submission on its Web site and/or in the APUS Library. Use the
following language:

37

The author hereby grants the American Public University System the right to display
these contents for educational purposes.

• Copyright Warrant: The applicant assumes responsibility for meeting the

requirements set by United States copyright law (http://www.copyright.gov/eco/).
Use the following language:

The author assumes total responsibility for meeting the requirements set by United
States copyright law for the inclusion of any materials that are not the author’s
creation or in the public domain.

See Appendix 5 for the required, correct page format for both statements.

2. Textual Components

Academic Style Manual Conformity
The citation approach and manuscript formatting is established by the program or school’s
officially designated style manual; however, the following are required to follow the formats
shown in Appendixes 4-8.

• Title page (required; Appendix 4) 14
• University publication license /Copyright Page (required; Appendix 5)
• Dedication page (if included; Appendix 6)
• Acknowledgements page (if included; Appendix 7)
• Abstract of the thesis (required; Appendix 8)

The Table of Contents, List of Tables, and List of Figures should be formatted according to
the program’s or school’s designated style manual with the following exceptions (see
Appendixes 9-11 for examples).

• Dot leaders (periods between words and pages) are required
• Pages should be left justified.
• Double space between entries.
• Note: Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add ease to navigation.

Check the Styles Guides at APUS page of the APUS ePress website
(http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/style_guides) for help where the style manual is

14 This means that papers using APA formatting should not include the running head on the title page.

38

ambiguous or clashes with Web publication methods. You may also consult with a librarian:
[email protected].

The APUS ePress provides abbreviated versions of the APA15 and MLA16 academic style
guides at no cost. These editions are not the complete guides. (You are free to purchase
your own copies of the style guides, either directly from their respective publishers or online
via such suppliers as Amazon or Barnes and Noble.) The Chicago Manual of Style Online17
and The Bluebook Online are provided by the APUS Library to APUS students, faculty, and
staff. (See footnote 17 below for information on the Turabian style guide.)

3. Images and Tables
All images and tables must be numbered and clearly labeled according to style manual
dictates. In addition to clarity and publication demands, this requirement helps to address
the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) demands for universal access and parallel federal
requirements under Section 508 to ensure access for those with disabilities.

Image Insert/Formats
Images are normally placed within the text using the Picture command, which is found under
the Insert tab on the main toolbar. (When placed on a Web page, such materials are
normally enhanced with a description using the alt tag.) Please use common sense to
describe images (i.e., fire rescue, maps, Philadelphia). If in doubt, consult a librarian at
[email protected] for specifics and added background. Acceptable digital formats include:

• .gif, especially appropriate for line drawings and graphs;
• .jpg/.jpeg, the overall default format and the dominant style for mounting pictures on

the Web;
• .png, Microsoft’s image format that works with most Web browsers; and
• .tif/.tiff, the archival standard for preservation purposes that also produces extremely

large files.

4. Video or Audio
Those seeking to submit digital audio or video files may utilize MP3 (audio) or MP4 (video)
formats. File-size considerations should be kept in mind, and if the file is prohibitively large,

15 A.k.a. the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. It is currently available in print or
Kindle format only.

16 A.k.a. the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. It is currently available in print format (with
website access after purchase).

17 The Turabian style guide (a.k.a. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations) is
based on the Chicago Manual of Style. It is currently available in print or Kindle and Nook format only.

39

a version without video inserts should be provided with the video and audio files provided as
external files and references. These areas contain rapidly changing archival standards and
normally require specialized formatting with Codecs (compression schemes) for
presentation on the Web. In general, the applicant should expect to

• include identifying metadata within the file(s); and
• include a textual equivalent (transcript) to meet universal access/Section 504

compliance.

With respect to submission to the APUS Library, if there are questions regarding the proper
submission of supplemental digital audio or video files, contact [email protected].

5. URLs/Web Addresses
When noting a URL or Web address, the default format should be that of the style manual of
your program. Note: Word will automatically embed the codes to link directly to the
resources. Citations to permanent or persistent links are preferred (i.e., DOI: Digital Object
Identifier). Do not use link-abbreviating tools (i.e., TinyURL, etc.).

6. Submission
The APUS Library serves as the repository for all thesis/Capstone papers. Without exception,
all passing graduate Capstone papers must be submitted to the APUS Library where they will
be retained in the University’s digital archive.

Papers submitted to the APUS Library by the student will not be accepted. The student
should contact their Capstone advisor concerning submission on their behalf. The program
director or school dean are to submit the Capstone documents.

File Format/Title
The required format for the thesis files is Microsoft Word. The main thesis manuscript file
should be titled with the author’s last name and submission year (e.g., jones-2007).
Multipart submissions are to be placed in a similarly titled folder
(e.g., lastname-yyyy).

The submission to the APUS Library must include:

• the FINAL Thesis document in Microsoft Word format;
• the completed Submission/Approval e-form (see Appendix 18 for download link);

o The e-form must be downloaded before the fields can be filled out.
o The e-form requires Adobe Pro or the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat

Reader (https://get.adobe.com/reader/).
• IRB documentation (if applicable; see Appendix 15); and

40

• Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric (if grade awarded is PWD; see Appendix
16 for download link).

Submit the above via email to [email protected]. See Appendix 18 for
step-by-step instructions. If you have any difficulties with submission, have additional files,
have a file that is too large for email submission, or have any other questions, contact the
APUS Library at [email protected].

After submission to the APUS Library, the thesis/Capstone paper, the email cover letter, and
the submission/approval form are stored in the University’s digital archive. The librarian(s) in
charge of thesis submissions will process the files for electronic storage and access.

7. Passed with Distinction (a.k.a., PWD)
The student’s Capstone professor and program director are responsible for determining if
the Capstone project meets the criteria for Passed with distinction and is therefore eligible
for consideration to be published in DigitalCommons@APUS. Only projects that have met the
standard of Passed with distinction, have been approved by the Assistant Provost and
Director of Graduate Studies, and have met the publication guidelines set by the APUS
Library are eligible for inclusion.

Papers accepted for publication by the APUS Library will be posted publically on
DigitalCommons@APUS with an active link to a PDF version of the paper.

41

CHAPTER VII

Scholarly Research/Copyright Conduct

For quality assurance and approval, a condition of publication is that the Capstone advisor
agrees to have his/her name displayed next to the master’s Capstone student-author. There
will be no exceptions. All Capstone projects awarded an A+ will be considered for publication
by the APUS Library in DigitalCommons@APUS as an example of a Capstone project that
meets the highest level of distinction.

Note: Critical reflection papers, while eligible for the grade of Passed with distinction, may
not be eligible to be placed in DigitalCommons@APUS due to the personalized information
that may be contained within the papers. The final decision for placement in
DigitalCommons@APUS will be made by the Assistant Provost and Director of Graduate
Studies.

1. Copyright
Copyright concerns focus primarily on copyright law both for registering intellectual property
and keeping to scholarly standards, especially the avoidance of plagiarism. In legal terms,
the United States is a signatory of the international Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literary and Artistic Works (http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/index.html). More
importantly, internal enforcement is codified under Title 17 of the 1976 Copyright Act as
amended. The Librarian of Congress is the officially designated interpreter of the act, which
also is subject to decisions in the federal court system (See U.S. Copyright Office,
http://www.copyright.gov).

Note: Foreign copyrights are valid in the U.S. Material published outside the U.S. and
may not have clear-cut rules. Some authorities advise that it is not safe to assume a
foreign work copyrighted in the last two hundred years is in the public domain.

Copyrighting Your Research
Under the Berne Convention, original intellectual contributions are automatically copyrighted
when captured in a fixed medium, such as in print or a video. Under U.S. copyright law,
copyright for works created after January 1, 1978 normally extend for the life of the author
plus 70 years. The creator also may choose to formally register copyright status. Registration
is a legal formality that makes a public record of the exact details of a copyright claim. It is
necessary in order to bring suit against an infringer for damages. Registration can be done
online through the Electronic Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/eco), as well as by
mail and in person. It requires three elements:

• completed registration form

42

• nonrefundable fee
• nonreturnable deposit copy

Fair Use Exemptions and Citation Responsibility
Copyright law balances between guaranteeing the creator appropriate recompense and the
public good. Materials are either in the public domain or under copyright. Anything published
by the government or before 1923 is normally in the public domain and may be freely used.
At this time, assume that anything else is covered by copyright—especially if it displays the
international copyright sign: ©.

Normally, students have no problem directly quoting reasonable amounts of material within
their narratives. The 1976 Copyright Act has even included exemptions for educational
purposes under the doctrine of fair use. The main test is one of substantiality. The amount
of material that may be freely quoted depends on the size and nature of its context. Feel
free to use a full page or even excerpts that total a chapter from a substantial book. Yet, an
entire poem or substantial excerpts from a short story may be too big and require
permission. Consult with librarians at [email protected] in the APUS Library for specific
guidance.

Similarly, media (images, video, audio, and datasets) should be utilized with the copyright
holder’s permission or, if not possible, judiciously and with evidence of obtaining the media
creator’s permission. Papers submitted without proper permissions will not be featured by
the library. Questions regarding copyright guidance can be sent to [email protected].
Please consult with librarians in the APUS Library ahead of time as much as possible if your
research involves significant amounts of copyrighted media.

More importantly, university policy mandates that students must be aware of the crucial
importance of attribution for direct quotations, paraphrases, or the source of ideas that are
used in their manuscripts. Graduate studies are intended to share within a discipline and
build on the work of its scholars. The general rule is, when in doubt, cite. Check the
appropriate style manual of your program for details.

Copyright Permission
Although rarely needed, students may be responsible for securing copyright releases for
substantial use of a copyrighted item. Permission also may be required as a courtesy for the
use of materials from certain private collections and museums without respect to copyright.
Any letter(s) of permission become part of the appendices in the submission (see Appendix
12 for a sample permission letter). Information about obtaining permission can be found
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#permission.

43

2. University Research Policies
Misconduct in research implies the intent to deceive or defraud; it extends to the
mistreatment of animals and human subjects. Misconduct includes, but is not limited to,
fabrication of or employment of spurious data, purposeful omission of any conflicting data,
deceptively selective reporting, misappropriation of intellectual property, and cases of
frivolous accusations. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretation
or judgments of data.

Student research misconduct resulting from regular course assignments that are not
published for public scrutiny remains under the purview of the instructor and is not subject
to these protocols. Other common forms of misconduct covered by these protocols are
defined as follows.

• Falsification of data is deliberately changing any form of evidence in such a way that
it substantially affects its usefulness.

• Plagiarism is deliberately appropriating the writing or recorded work of another
without his/her consent or improperly documenting for one’s own benefit.

• Conflict of interest occurs when an individual serves or represents two distinct
entities and neglects or breaches a duty to one entity to benefit the other or when a
person uses his/her position with one entity to advance a personal gain or the gain of
another entity.

• Fraud and misrepresentation are deliberate attempts to deceive others to secure
unlawful or unfair advantage. This category of misconduct includes providing false or
misleading information to or intentionally deceiving coauthors, granting agencies,
editors, or other interested parties regarding the results or the status of a research
project.

• Noncompliance is failing to comply with the published regulations of federal
agencies, state agencies, the university, or granting agencies that support an
individual’s research.

• Misappropriation of research funds is any deliberate act or omission in the handling
of research funds that violates university policy, or the policies of granting agencies
either state or federal.

These policies apply to individuals (other than students involved in regular classroom
assignments) engaged in any form of research and scholarship, funded or otherwise, in
every discipline throughout the university.

3. Institutional Review Board
Students engaged in research that involves human subjects and whose research is
systematic and generalizable are required to complete an Institutional Review Board (IRB)
application, which includes Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program

44

courses. Students who plan to engage in human subject research should discuss it with the
course instructor at the very beginning of the course. The IRB process can take at least one
month.

For a brief overview of the IRB, visit
http://wpc.242f.edgecastcdn.net/00242F/academics/center-teaching-
learning/web/IRB_Intro/IRB_Intro.html. For detailed information on the APUS Institutional
Review Board, visit, http://www.apus.edu/community-scholars/institutional-review-board/.

Note: APUS takes academic dishonesty very seriously. Any evidence of plagiarism will result
in the student’s work being rejected and the student will fail the EOP course. Engaging in
academic dishonesty and/or plagiarism will directly threaten the ability of the student to
graduate from APUS.

45

Appendices

Appendix 1: Master’s Theses

Master’s theses are expected to contain the following elements:

Abstract: Includes the following components: purpose of the research, methodology,
findings, and conclusion. The body of the abstract is limited to 150-200 words.18

Introduction: Identifies student’s specific research question and sets the general context for
the study.

This section should include

• a statement of the problem or general research question and context leading to a
clear statement of the specific research question;

• background and contextual material justifying why this case or topic should be
studied; and

• a purpose statement.

Literature Review: Reviews the literature on a specific research question. The literature
review focuses on discussing how other researchers have addressed the same or similar
research questions. It introduces the study and places it in larger context that includes a
discussion of why it is important to study this case. It provides the current state of
accumulated knowledge as it relates to the student’s specific research question.

• Summarize the general state of the literature (cumulative knowledge base) on the
specific research question:

o Study one: summarize to include researcher’s findings, how those findings
were obtained, and evaluation of biases in the findings.

o Study two: summarize to include researcher’s findings, how those findings
were obtained, and evaluation of biases in the findings.

o Include a minimum of at least three of the most important studies.
• Include a short conclusion and transition to the next section.

18 The APUS Center for Graduate Studies and the APUS Library have created an instructional module on Writing
the Abstract for Your Graduate Capstone Thesis at AMU/APU. It will take you through the entire process. You
can access it here: http://apus.libguides.com/writing/thesiscapstone/abstract.

46

Theoretical Framework/Approach: The theoretical framework section develops the theories
or models to be used in the study and shows how the student has developed testable
research hypotheses.

This section should include

• an introduction discussing gaps in the literature, how this study will help fill some of
those gaps, and justification for the theory or model to be used in study;

• a summary of the theory or model to be used in the study, including a diagram of the
model if appropriate; and

• a statement of hypotheses to be tested.

Research Design/Methodology: Describes how the student will test the hypothesis and carry
out his/her analysis. This section describes the data to be used to test the hypothesis, how
the student will operationalize and collect data on his/her variables, and the analytic
methods that to be used, noting potential biases and limitations to the research approach. It
should include

• identification and operationalization (measurement) of variables;
• a sampling plan (i.e., study population and sampling procedures, if appropriate);
• justification of case studies used;
• data collection/sources (secondary literature, archives, interviews, surveys, etc.);
• a summary of analysis procedures (pattern-matching, etc.); and
• the limitations of study and bias discussion.

Findings/Results/Discussion: This section describes the results of the study. Keep in mind
that the “results” are the direct observations of the research, while the “discussion” is the
interpretation of the results and research. This should include, as appropriate:

• results, including tables, graphs, statistics;
• significance and interpretation of the results;
• discussion of results as they relate to thesis statement/research question;
• discussion of results as it relates to the theoretical framework/approach; and
• directions for future research.

Reference List: References the works the student has cited (direct quotes or paraphrases)
in the text. This list must be formatted according to the school’s prescribed style guide.

47

Appendix 2: Master’s Creative Projects

Master’s creative projects are expected to contain the following elements:

Abstract: Includes the following components: purpose of the research, methodology,
findings, and conclusion. The body of the abstract is limited to 150-200 words.19

Introduction: This section identifies the student’s specific creative project and sets the
general context for it.

• Provide a clear and lucid description of the creative project including the goal and
intent of the project.

• Discuss the schedule and objectives for the work to be completed.

Literature Review: The literature review focuses on how the creative project experience fits
into the discipline. Specifically, it introduces the project and places it in a larger context that
includes a discussion of how this experience helps the student meet the program objectives.
It provides the current state of accumulated knowledge as it relates to the project.

• Describe how completing this project is consistent with the course of study.
• Articulate the objectives the student hopes to achieve through the completion of this

project.
• Provide a short conclusion and transition to the next section.

Findings Log/Journal: This section is where the student’s log/journal should be included
and where the student describes how the overall project experience is situated within
his/her discipline.

• Include the log/journal kept for the duration of the project.
• Discuss how the experiences mirror, contradict, or reinforce existing theoretical

knowledge relative to the student’s experience and discipline.
• Provide a summary of ways in which the experience helped the student meet the

program objectives.
• Discuss the limitations of the student’s experience and bias.

The Project: This section is where the student includes his/her project, which must comport
with discipline standards.

19 The APUS Center for Graduate Studies and the APUS Library have created an instructional module on Writing
the Abstract for Your Graduate Capstone Thesis at AMU/APU. It will take you through the entire process. You
can access it here: http://apus.libguides.com/writing/thesiscapstone/abstract

48

Reference List: This section should reference the works cited (direct quotes or paraphrases)
in the text. This list must be formatted according to the school’s prescribed style guide.

49

Appendix 3: Master’s Practicum and Critical Reflection Papers

The master’s practicum and critical reflection paper are expected to contain the following
elements:

Abstract: Includes the following components: purpose of the research, methodology,
findings, and conclusion. The body of the abstract is limited to 150-200 words.20

Introduction: Identifies the student’s specific practicum experience and sets the general
context for the study.

• Provide a clear and lucid description of the practicum, including the location or
organization in which the practicum will be completed.

• Describe the 160 hours of work required to complete the practicum.
• Include the schedule and objectives for the work to be completed.
• List the name and title of the supervising staff member at the organization.

Literature Review: This section reviews the literature on the specific practicum. The
literature review focuses on how the practicum experience fits into the discipline.
Specifically, it introduces the practicum and places it in a larger context that includes a
discussion of how this experience helps the student meet the program objectives. It provides
the current state of accumulated knowledge as it relates to the student’s specific practicum
experience.

• Describe how completing this practicum is consistent with the student’s course of
study.

• Articulate the objectives the student hopes to achieve through the completion of this
practicum.

• Provide a short conclusion and transition to the next section.

Findings—Log/Journal: This section is where the student includes his/her log/journal and
where he/she describes how the overall practicum experience is situated within the
discipline.

• Include the log/journal kept for the duration of the practicum.
• Discuss how the student’s experiences mirror, contradict, or reinforce existing

theoretical knowledge relative to his/her experience and discipline.

20 The APUS Center for Graduate Studies and the APUS Library have created an instructional module on Writing
the Abstract for Your Graduate Capstone Thesis at AMU/APU. It will take you through the entire process. You
can access it here: http://apus.libguides.com/writing/thesiscapstone/abstract

50

• Provide a summary of ways in which the experience helped the student meet the
program objectives.

• Discuss the limitations of the student’s experience and bias.

Reference List: Reference the works cited (direct quotes or paraphrases) in the text. This list
must be formatted according to the school’s prescribed style guide.

51

Appendix 4: Title Page (Required format for all theses).

DRONES AS WEAPON OF WAR IN AF/PAK REGION

A Master Thesis

Submitted to the Faculty

of

American Public University

by

Richard James Smith

In Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree

of

Master of Arts

December 2011

American Public University

Charles Town, WV

Top margin:
2 inches

Do not capitalize
“by” or “of”

Right margin:
1 inch

Spacing must be
consistent and
double-spaced.

Left margin:
1.5 inches

Month of
graduation

Bottom margin:
1.25 inches

52

Appendix 5: Sample of Copyright Page (Required format for all theses).

The author hereby grants the American Public University System the right to display these
contents for educational purposes.

The author assumes total responsibility for meeting the requirements set by United States
copyright law for the inclusion of any materials that are not the author’s creation or in the
public domain.

© Copyright 2016 by ________________________(insert your name)

All rights reserved.

NOTES:
• Text should begin just after halfway
down the page.
• This sample includes the
exact language that must be used.

53

Appendix 6: Sample of Dedication Page (Optional)

DEDICATION

I dedicate this thesis to my parents. Without their patience, understanding, support,

and, most of all, love, the completion of this work would not have been possible.

NOTES:
• Text should begin just after halfway
down the page.
• Text should be double-spaced.

54

Appendix 7: Sample of Acknowledgments Page (Optional)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I wish to thank the members of my committee for their support, patience, and good

humor. Their gentle but firm direction has been most appreciated. Dr. Betty Morrow was

particularly helpful in guiding me toward a qualitative methodology. Dr. Judith Slater’s

interest in a sense of competence was the impetus for my proposal. Finally, I would like to

thank my major professor, Dr. Stephen Fain. From the beginning, he had confidence in my

abilities to not only complete a degree, but to complete it with excellence.

I have found my course work throughout the national security program to be

stimulating and thoughtful, providing me with the tools with which to explore both past and

present ideas and issues.

NOTES:
• Text should begin just after halfway
down the page.
• Text should be double-spaced.

55

Appendix 8: Sample of Abstract of the Thesis (Required format for all
theses).

ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS

DRONES IN NATO LED EFFORTS IN AF/PAK

by

Richard James Smith

American Public University System, July 1, 2007

Charles Town, West Virginia

Professor John Doe, Thesis Professor

Begin typing the abstract here, double-spaced. The abstract must include the

following components: purpose of the research, methodology, findings, and conclusion. The

body of the abstract is limited to 150-200 words (no less than 150 and no more than 200).

NOTE:
The abstract is a required component of the thesis/Capstone paper. If you are not sure of what an
abstract is or of how to write one, the APUS Center for Graduate Studies and the APUS Library have
created an instructional module on Writing the Abstract for Your Graduate Capstone Thesis at
AMU/APU, viewable at http://apus.libguides.com/writing/thesiscapstone/abstract

56

Appendix 9: Sample of a Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………… ………. 1

II. LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………………………………………………… 5

Competing Perceptions of National Security………………………………………………. 5

Drones as a Weapon of War …………………………………………………………………….. 8

Afghanistan Security ……………………………………………………………………………… 12

Pakistan Security ………………………………………………………………………………….. 15

III. METHODOLOGY …………………………………………………………………………………….. 24

Subjects and Setting ……………………………………………………………………………… 24

Data Collection Technique …………………………………………………………………….. 25

Statistical Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………… 27

Limitations of the Study …………………………………………………………………………. 30

IV. RESULTS ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 34

Legal Framework …………………………………………………………………………………… 34

Impact of Drone Strikes on War Effort …………………………………………………….. 38

Impact of Drone Strikes on U.S.-Pakistani Relations………………………………… 40

Impact of Drone Strikes on U.S. Regional Interests …………………………………. 48

Refer to the notes on the
following page for formatting
information.

57

V. DISCUSSION …………………………………………………………………………………………. 49

Ethics and Legality of Using Drones ……………………………………………………….. 49

Competing Conceptions of Self-Defense and National Security ………………… 50

Controversy about Use of Drones in Warfare …………………………………………… 52

Summary ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 54

Recommendations ………………………………………………………………………………… 56

LIST OF REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 60

APPENDICES …………………………. ………………………………………………………………………… 66

NOTES:
• Follow your style guide for exact formatting
requirements.
• Dot leaders (periods between words and pages)
are required.
• Pages should be left justified.
• Double space between entries.
• Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add
ease to navigation.

58

Appendix 10: Sample of List of Tables

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE PAGE

1. Physical Education Teacher Demographic Data ……………………………………….. ……. 15

2. Current University Student Demographic Data………………………………………………… 17

3. Number of High or Low Value Orientations for Respondents ……………………………. 25

4. Teacher Value Orientation Profile by Gender …………………………………………………… 28

5. Teacher Value Orientation Profile by Academic Rank ………………………………………. 33

6. Teacher Value Orientation Profile by Teaching Experience ………………………………. 39

7. Student Value Orientation Profile by Gender …………………………………………………… 41

8. Student Value Orientation Profile by Academic Major ……………………………………… 45

9. Student Value Orientation Profile in Different Year at University ………………………. 51

NOTES:
• Follow your style guide for exact formatting
requirements.
• Dot leaders (periods between words and pages)
are required.
• Pages should be left justified.
• Double space between entries.
• Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add
ease to navigation.

59

Appendix 11: Sample of List of Figures

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE PAGE

1. Physical Education Teacher Demographic Data ……………………………………….. ……. 15

2. Current University Student Demographic Data………………………………………………… 17

3. Number of High or Low Value Orientations for Respondents ……………………………. 25

4. Teacher Value Orientation Profile by Gender …………………………………………………… 28

5. Teacher Value Orientation Profile by Academic Rank ………………………………………. 33

6. Teacher Value Orientation Profile by Teaching Experience ………………………………. 39

7. Student Value Orientation Profile by Gender …………………………………………………… 41

NOTES:
• Follow your style guide for exact formatting
requirements.
• Dot leaders (periods between words and pages)
are required.
• Pages should be left justified.
• Double space between entries.
• Hyperlinking to sections within the thesis can add
ease to navigation.

60

Appendix 12: Sample of Permission to Quote or Reproduce Copyrighted
Material Letter

Date___________________________

I (we) _______________________________________________________________ owner(s) of

the copyright to the work known as ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________________ hereby

authorize _______________________________________________________ to use the

following material as part of his/her thesis to be submitted to American Public University

System.

Page Line Numbers or Other Identification

_____________________

Signature

61

Appendix 13: Sample of Practicum Organizational Consent Form

Date___________________________

Name of organization _________________________________________________

Program _________________________________________________________

Work to be completed_________________________________________________

Dates of practicum/schedule ____________________________________________

I (we) _______________________________________________________________ as (state
position title) ______________________________ attest to the fact that (student’s name) will
be completing the above described practicum in our organization. We hereby authorize
(name of student) to work with us in completion of his/her master’s degree at American
Public University System. It is our understanding that he/she will write a critical reflection
paper on this experience. The student may use/identify our name in the paper/the student is
required to keep our name anonymous in completing the reflection paper. (Name of person)
will serve as the mentor for this student in our organization throughout his/her work with us.

________________________________________________________________________

Signature Title Date

62

Appendix 14: Critical Reflection Method Required for Completion of
Practicum Paper

1. Description of the experience (5 – 7 pages)

2. Critical reflection on this experience and the related discipline practices experienced and
observed during the practicum in light of theory and literature relative to the work of the
practicum (8 – 10 pages)

3. Discussion of ways the theory and literature challenges/affirms the experience and ways
the experience challenges/affirms the literature and theory. (5 – 7 pages)

4. Recommendations for future practice and/or theory (5 – 6 pages)

I (we) _______________________________________________________________ owner(s) of

the copyright to the work known as ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________________ hereby

authorize _______________________________________________________ to use the

following material as part of his/her thesis to be submitted to American Public University

System.

Page Line Numbers or Other Identification

_____________________

Signature

63

Appendix 15: Sample of IRB Approval Letter

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Application Number:
Application Title:

Dear

The APUS IRB has reviewed and approved the above application.

Date of IRB approval:

Date of IRB approval expiration:

The approval is valid for one calendar year from the date of approval. Should your research using human
subjects extend beyond the time covered by this approval, you will need to submit an extension request form
to the IRB.

Changes in the research (e.g., recruitment process, advertisements) or informed consent process must be
approved by the IRB before they are implemented. Please submit a protocol amendment form to do so.

It is the responsibility of the investigators to report to the IRB any serious, unexpected, and related adverse
events and potential unanticipated problems related to risks to subjects and others using the unanticipated
problems notification.

Please direct any question to [email protected]. The forms mentioned above are available at
http://www.apus.edu/community-scholars/institutional-review- board/apply.htm.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Douglas, PhD IRB Chair

64

Appendix 16: Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric

A Microsoft Word version of this rubric may be downloaded from
http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://ebooks.apus.edu/EOPManual/PWDRubric.docx.

Passed with Distinction
Assessment Rubric

__________________________________

Dimensions to Consider

Below

Expectation

Does not meet
the basic
expectations for
graduate-level
research writing.
Would not be
acceptable for
most graduate
coursework.

Meets

Expectation

Exhibits the
qualities of
graduate-level
research writing
appropriate to
graduate
coursework and
emerging
researchers.

Exceeds

Expectation

Exhibits the
qualities of
scholarly research
writing appropriate
to advanced
graduate studies,
such as thesis/
dissertation writing.
Would be suitable
to prepare for
publication.

Introduction | 12 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Contextualizes research in the field: why is it
important? How/what does it contribute?

Describes research area in general terms:
what BIG question does the research try to
answer? What’s new? Why is it significant?

Describes research area in specific terms:
what is the focus of the research project?
Research questions and implications?

Refers to relevant, related work through
thorough and appropriate literature review.

Continued on next page

65

Methods | 9 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Approach and techniques clearly articulated,
occur in logical order, can be reproduced from
text or cited literature.

Statistical analyses articulated.

Section aligns with target journal style (format,
headings, etc.).

Results | 9 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Describes results obtained in logical order,
integrates findings across measured variables;
subheadings used if appropriate.

Data are presented concisely in Tables and
Figures, without duplication; all data are
represented in the text.

Tables and Figures align with statistical
approach and report estimates of statistical
significance.

Discussion | 15 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Re-establishes importance of reported approach;
may state the acceptance/rejection of the
hypotheses in general terms.

66

Aligns/compares findings with literature to
build consensus or establish new paradigm.

If new paradigm, builds strength for new model
through closely aligned literature.

Integrates findings and extends the field, but
does not over-interpret the data.

Final summary aligns findings with hypotheses
and with the importance of the findings related
to the field.

Literature Cited/References

9 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Citations are complete and correct.

Literature cited is relevant, uses reviews and
primary literature appropriately.

Literature cited format aligns with journal
format.

Style | 18 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Engages the reader, wants the reader to read on,
and communicates thinking as a researcher in
the field.

Articulates importance and relevance using
powerful words.

67

Leads the reader through text in consistent
order.

Minimizes redundancy in text, data presentation.

Avoids using hedging language (“It may be…”, “It
is possible …”).

Avoids indefinite openings (”It is believed that…”,
“It was hypothesized that …”).

Form—functions as scholarly,

professional document
9 possible points

1 point

2 points

3 points

Organization: clearly organized? Coherent?

Focus and Summaries: Can main points be easily
identified? Summarized at end?

Editorial: Grammar, punctuation, length are
appropriate for targeted journal.

TOTAL

POINTS

SCORING KEY

81 possible points

73-81 = Passed with Distinction (PWD)

Below 73 = Pass

68

Appendix 17: Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper

The master’s critical reflection paper for the Portfolio option is expected to contain the
following elements:

Abstract: Includes the following components: a brief overview of what your paper will cover
and a short explanation of how you will use the paper to demonstrate you have met the
learning objectives of the program. The body of the abstract is limited to 150-200 words.21

Introduction: Provides the reader with an overview of the purpose of the paper and details
regarding how the paper will articulate how all of the program objectives have been met.

The Body: This section of the paper should include the following elements:

1. Philosophy of Learning. This section provides a reflective narrative on the student’s
learning process.

2. Achievements in Learning. Here the student should discuss elements that
demonstrate key learning achievement. This could include, transcripts, course
descriptions, résumés, honors, awards, internships, tutoring, or mentoring.

3. Evidence of Learning. Here the student should contextualize artifacts from the
portfolio within disciplinary theoretical frameworks. These artifacts may include
research papers, critical essays, field experience logs, creative displays/
performances, data/spreadsheet analyses, course electronic listserv entries, reports
for projects.

4. Assessment of Learning. In this section, the student should discuss how his/her
learning was assessed. For example, include a discussion of his/her trajectory of
professional growth based on instructor feedback, course test scores, exit/board
exams, lab/data reviews, research project results, practicum reports, etc.

5. Relevance of Learning. The focus here is on demonstrating mastery of the
programmatic learning objectives. The student can also discuss the practical
applications of his/her learning, and how the learning related to personal and
professional domains or to his/her ethical/moral growth. In addition, the student
could discuss how the learning impacted his/her ability to lead or his/her ability to
transfer what was learned to external environments such as professional affiliations,
hobbies, or volunteering.

21 The APUS Center for Graduate Studies and the APUS Library have created an instructional module on Writing
the Abstract for Your Graduate Capstone Thesis at AMU/APU. It will take you through the entire process. You
can access it here: http://apus.libguides.com/writing/thesiscapstone/abstract

69

6. Learning Goals. Finally, the student can use this section to discuss how he/she
plans to enhance, connect, and apply his/her learning.

Appendix: This section should contain am example or two of the learning artifacts along with
the log/journal that was kept during the student’s course of study.

Reference List: Reference the works cited (direct quotes or paraphrases) in the text. This list
must be formatted according to the school’s prescribed style guide.

70

Appendix 18: Checklist for Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library

The program director is responsible for submitting the student’s thesis to the library.

1. Download the APUS Library Capstone Submission/Approval Form from:
http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://ebooks.apus.edu/EOPManual/Submission
ApprovalForm.pdf

This e-form contains interactive fillable fields. It is recommended you save this file to
your APUS laptop for ease of repeated use.

• The e-form must be downloaded before the fields can be filled out.
• The e-form requires Adobe Pro or the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat

Reader (https://get.adobe.com/reader/).

2. Complete the Submission/Approval Form

Note that all fields except Keywords and 2nd Reader’s Signature are required.
Check to make sure the spelling of the student’s name and paper title is correct.

3. Send the following as attachments to an email addressed to
[email protected]:

a. The completed Submission/Approval e-form
b. The FINAL version of the thesis document in Microsoft Word file format
c. IRB Review docs (if applicable)
d. Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric (if grade awarded is PWD)

A Microsoft Word version of this rubric may be downloaded from
http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://ebooks.apus.edu/EOPManual/PWD
Rubric.docx.

4. The subject heading for submission email should be Thesis Submission [student
surname].

Example: Thesis Submission Jackson

5. Only one (1) thesis may be sent per email.

If you have any difficulties with submission, have additional files, have a file that is too large
for email submission, or have any other questions, contact the APUS Library at
[email protected].

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • INTRODUCTION
    • EOP Assessment Alternatives
    • Important Notes
    • Academic Dishonesty
      • For Comprehensive Exam Assessments
      • For Capstone Assessments
      • Institutional Review Board
        • Failure to Secure IRB approval
  • CHAPTER I
    • Master of Arts Comprehensive Final Examination
      • Beginning the Comprehensive Exam
      • Comprehensive Exam Course
      • Taking the Exam
        • Notes:
      • Faculty Role
      • Program Director’s Role
      • Proctoring
  • CHAPTER II
    • Master’s Capstone: Thesis Option
      • Beginning the Thesis Project
      • Thesis Proposal
      • Preparing the Thesis
        • Notes:
      • Approval of Thesis
      • Submission of Final Thesis
      • Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
      • Faculty Role
        • Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the thesis. The second reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader is to review the thesis using the program-approved rubric. The second reader wi…
      • Program Director’s Role
  • CHAPTER III
    • Master’s Capstone: Creative Project
      • Beginning the Creative Project
      • Creative Project Proposal
      • Completing the Creative Project
        • Notes:
      • Approval of Creative Project
      • Submission of Creative Project Report
      • Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
      • Faculty Role
        • Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the Capstone. The second reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader is to review the Capstone using the program-approved rubric. The second reade…
      • Program Director’s Role
  • CHAPTER IV
    • Master’s Capstone: Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper
      • Beginning the Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper
      • Practicum Proposal
      • Completing the Practicum
        • Notes:
      • Approval of the Practicum and Critical Reflection Paper
      • Submission of Critical Reflection Paper
      • Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
      • Faculty Role
        • Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the Capstone. The second reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader is to review the Capstone using the program-approved rubric. The second reade…
      • Program Director’s Role
  • CHAPTER V
    • Master’s Capstone: Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper Option
      • Beginning the Portfolio Option
      • Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper
      • Completing the Capstone
        • Notes:
      • Approval of the Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper
      • Submission of Critical Reflection Paper
      • Unsuccessful Capstone Attempts
      • Faculty Role
        • Second Readers: Some programs require second readers for the Capstone. The second reader will be chosen by the program director or school dean. The task of the second reader is to review the Capstone using the program-approved rubric. The second reade…
      • Program Director’s Role
  • CHAPTER VI
    • University Declarations and APUS Library Registration
      • 1. Declarations
      • 2. Textual Components
        • Academic Style Manual Conformity
      • 3. Images and Tables
        • Image Insert/Formats
      • 4. Video or Audio
      • 5. URLs/Web Addresses
      • 6. Submission
        • File Format/Title
      • 7. Passed with Distinction (a.k.a., PWD) …
  • CHAPTER VII
    • Scholarly Research/Copyright Conduct
      • 1. Copyright
        • Copyrighting Your Research
        • Fair Use Exemptions and Citation Responsibility
        • Copyright Permission
      • 2. University Research Policies
      • 3. Institutional Review Board
  • Appendices
    • Appendix 1: Master’s Theses
    • Appendix 2: Master’s Creative Projects
    • Appendix 3: Master’s Practicum and Critical Reflection Papers
    • Appendix 4: Title Page (Required format for all theses).
    • Appendix 5: Sample of Copyright Page (Required format for all theses).
    • Appendix 6: Sample of Dedication Page (Optional)
    • Appendix 7: Sample of Acknowledgments Page (Optional)
    • Appendix 8: Sample of Abstract of the Thesis (Required format for all theses).
    • Appendix 9: Sample of a Table of Contents
    • Appendix 10: Sample of List of Tables
    • Appendix 11: Sample of List of Figures
    • Appendix 12: Sample of Permission to Quote or Reproduce Copyrighted Material Letter
    • Appendix 13: Sample of Practicum Organizational Consent Form
    • Appendix 14: Critical Reflection Method Required for Completion of Practicum Paper
    • Appendix 15: Sample of IRB Approval Letter
    • Appendix 16: Passed with Distinction Assessment Rubric
    • Appendix 17: Portfolio and Critical Reflection Paper
    • Appendix 18: Checklist for Thesis/Capstone Submission to APUS Library

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES: BALANCING PRIVACY, SECURITY,

AND ACCESSIBILITY

A Master Thesis

Submitted to the Faculty

of

American Military University

by

YOUR NAME

In Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree

of

Master of Science

May 2014

American Military University

Charles Town, WV

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES ii

The author hereby grants the American Public University System the right to display these

contents for educational purposes.

The author assumes total responsibility for meeting the requirements set by United States

copyright law for the inclusion of any materials that are not the author’s creation or in the public

domain.

© Copyright 2014 by Joshua Dale Brandt

All rights reserved.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES iii

DEDICATION

I dedicate this thesis to my parents, wife, and dogs. I could not have completed this work

without their patience, understanding, support, and encouragement. I owe all of them some time

and attention that has been deferred while I have worked on this study.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES iv

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

XXXX

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES v

ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES: BALANCING PRIVACY, SECURITY, AND

ACCESSIBILITY

by

NAME

American Military University, May 2014

Charles Town, West Virginia

Dr. Novadean Watson-Stone, Thesis Professor

Biometrics technology has the potential to improve security, protect privacy, and increase

accessibility. However, the technology has not been utilized to its full potential. This paper will

review existing literature and past studies to highlight existing biometrics, biometrics usage,

privacy concerns, and actions that can be taken to mitigate those concerns. The purpose of this

literature review is to identify potential uses for biometrics in the United States and steps that can

be taken to implement that technology. Additionally, this paper will discuss a study conducted

to determine the current attitudes of American citizens towards biometrics. The study was

conducted electronically using both quantitative and qualitative methodology and determined

that there are several factors that influence acceptance of biometrics by Americans including the

security of the information, the age of the participant, and the education level of the individual.

The study also determined that Americans are generally accepting of biometrics use, but there

are some concerns about the technology, how it is used, and its accuracy.

Keywords: biometrics, privacy, security, accessibility, technology acceptance

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COPYRIGHT PAGE …………………………………………………………………………….. ii

DECLARATION ………………………………………………………………………………… iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ………………………………………………………………………. iv

ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………… v

TABLE OF CONTENTS …………………………………………………………………………vi

LIST OF TABLES ………………………………………………………………………………. ix

LIST OF FIGURES ……………………………………………………………………………… x

CHAPTER

I. I

INTRODUCTION……………..…………………………………………………………. 1

Problem Statement ………………………………………………………………………. 2

Purpose …………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2

Significance of the Study ………………………………………………………………… 3

II. L

LITERATURE REVIEW…………..…………………………………………………….. 5

Biometrics Overview, Modalities, & Accuracy ………………………………………….. 5

Current Biometrics Uses in United States and Abroad ….………………………………. 10

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES vii

Previous Surveys ………………………………………………………………………… 15

Concerns About Biometrics ……………………………………………………………. 21

Mitigating Measures to Address Concerns ……………………………………………… 25

Actions to Improve Acceptance ………………………………………………………… 27

Remaining Questions …………………………………………………………………… 29

III. M

METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………………… 31

Data Collection Technique ……………………………………………………………… 31

Subjects and Setting …………………………………………………………………….. 33

Statistical Analysis ……………………………………………………………………… 34

Limitations of the Study …………………………………………………………………34

IV. R

RESULTS……………………………………………………………………………….. 37

Demographics and Response Distribution ……………………………………………… 37

Impact of Education ……………………………………………………………………… 44

Impact of Different Modalities …………………………………………………………. 45

Impact of Gender and Age ……………………………………………………………… 46

Impact of Experience with Biometrics .………………………………………………… 47

Impact of Employment Status ………………………………………………………….. 49

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES viii

V. D

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION .…………………………………………………. 51

VI. S

SUMMARY …………………………………………………………………………….. 58

VII. R

RECOMMENDATIONS ……………………………………………………………….. 60

LIST OF REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………… 61

APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………………………… 67

Appendix A: Survey Questions…………………………………………………………. 67

Appendix B: Survey Summary …………………………………………………………. 74

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES ix

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE PAGE

1. Number of Participants by Demographic …………………………………………………….. 38

2. Quantitative Questions ………………….…………………………………………………… 41

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES x

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE PAGE

1. Gender Distribution of the Sample Population ……………………………………………… 39

2. Age Distribution of the Sample Population …………………………………………………. 39

3. Education Distribution of the Sample Population …………………………………………… 39

4. Employment Distribution of the Sample Population ………………………………………… 39

5. Experience Distribution of the Sample Population ………………………………………….. 40

6. Response Distribution by Question ………………………………………………………….. 40

7. Qualitative Question #1 Responses …………………………………………………………. 42

8. Qualitative Question #2 Responses …………………………………………………………. 42

9. Qualitative Question #3 Responses ………………………………………………………….. 43

10. Qualitative Question #4 Responses ………………………………………………………… 44

11. Impact of Education on Biometrics Acceptance …………………………………………… 45

12. Impact of Gender on Biometrics Acceptance ……………………………………………… 47

13. Impact of Age on Biometrics Acceptance …………………………………………………. 47

14. Impact of Experience on Biometrics Acceptance ………………………………………….. 49

15. Impact of Employment Status on Biometrics Acceptance …………………………………. 50

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 1

Biometrics in the United States: Balancing Privacy, Security, and Accessibility

Introduction

Biometrics can be defined as either a characteristic or a process. When used as a

characteristic, biometrics is a measurable physical or behavioral characteristic that can be used

for automated recognition and when used as a process, it is the automated method of identifying

an individual based on those characteristics (National Science and Technology Council, 2006a).

At the very basic understanding, biometric technology can be used to either authenticate an

individual or identify an individual. This can be achieved through a one-to-one authentication

where the individual’s biometric identifiers are compared to the biometrics stored on an

identification document or database for that individual or through a one-to-many authentication

where the biometric identifiers from the individual are compared to many biometrics in order to

identify the individual from a biometric match (LeHong & Fenn, 2013). Biometrics, including

fingerprints, iris, facial recognition, gait analysis, voice analysis and many other measurable

physical and behavioral characteristics, can be used for many purposes to include authenticating

an identity, enhancing security, identifying terrorists and criminals, and enabling convenience

features such as reducing requirements for passwords (“Biometrics researchers aim,” 2013).

While biometrics technology is used in some companies and fields, its use is not

widespread throughout the United States and it is not being used to its full potential. The

technology has the ability to positively impact security and protect the privacy interests of the

citizens of the United States as well as to improve the quality of life through reducing fraud,

expediting screening processes, and eliminating the need to carry identification documents. This

paper intends to prove that the benefit of biometrics technology has no impact on its acceptance

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 2

by United States citizens. It also seeks to prove that greater socialization during development of

biometrics technology will lead to greater acceptance of the technology.

Problem Statement

While the potential for biometrics information to be misused by the government or

commercial organizations exist, the benefits outweigh the risks. Biometrics can be used to

balance privacy, security, and accessibility by accurately verifying the identity of an individual,

minimizing the potential of fraud, and possibly eliminating the need for identification documents

and passwords. This study is designed to identify the types of biometric technologies that can be

used to achieve that balance and in what conditions American citizens find their use acceptable.

Purpose

The goal of this study is to analyze data gathered on different modalities of biometric

technology, its use, and the opinions of American citizens regarding the technology to identify

areas and situations where biometric technology can be used, conditions that must be met, and

steps that can be taken to mitigate the concerns and gain the trust of American citizens. This

paper will evaluate current uses of biometric technology in the United States and elsewhere to

determine potential uses of biometric technology in the future. This paper will discuss the

characteristics of different biometric modalities, their accuracy rates, and the level of

invasiveness associated with them. Combined with the data and opinions gathered from survey

participants, this study seeks to understand the limitations of the technology and acceptable use

by the American public to identify viable uses of biometric technology in the United States to

achieve a balance of privacy concerns, security, accessibility, and convenience.

Hypotheses or Research Questions

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 3

The study intends to prove or disprove nine hypotheses. These hypotheses will be

evaluated through the results of the literature review and the survey.

H1. There is no statistically significant evidence that the trust that personal information

will be protected impacts the acceptance of biometric technology.

H2. There is no statistically significant evidence that the act of socialization and public

consultation prior to implementation impacts the acceptance of biometric technology.

H3. There is no statistically significant evidence that the age of an individual has an

impact on the acceptance of biometric technology.

H4. There is no statistically significant evidence that desirable convenience features, such

as the elimination of the need for passwords or expedited security screening, have an impact on

the acceptance of biometric technology.

H5. There is no statistically significant evidence that the use of biometrics impacts

American citizens’ perception of security.

H6. There is no statistically significant evidence that the increase in the level of security

impacts acceptance of biometric technology.

H7. There is no statistically significant evidence that the level of education obtained by

an individual impacts acceptance of biometric technology.

H8. There is no statistically significant evidence that an individual’s gender impacts

acceptance of biometric technology.

H9. There is no statistically significant evidence that the use of different biometric

modalities impacts acceptance of biometric technology.

Significance of the Study

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 4

This study intends to advance the understanding of the American citizen’s opinions of

biometric technology and its use in the United States. It will identify variables and will use the

information to identify areas and situations where biometric technology can be used successfully.

This study intends to also identify measures that can be taken to ensure that biometric technology

is successfully deployed with suitable acceptance by American citizens. The results of this study

may be adapted by manufacturers of biometric technology and may be incorporated into policy

governing the use of biometric technology by state, federal, and private organizations.

Additionally, the results of this study may be used to adapt biometric technology to appeal to

more people and may also be used to develop an educational campaign to promote understanding

and acceptance of the technology and its use.

This study will include literature reviews of the existing material available on biometrics

to include different modalities and their accuracy rates, current uses for biometrics, privacy

concerns, and measures that can be taken to reduce any concerns about biometrics use.

Additionally, this study will discuss the research methodology used including a summary of the

subjects used and the data collection techniques used. Then, the paper will include analysis of a

survey administered to identify any factors impacting acceptance of biometrics, potential new

uses of biometrics, and steps that manufacturers can take to improve their biometrics technology.

Finally, the paper will summarize the information gathered from the literature review and

research to develop conclusions and recommendations on the use of biometrics.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 5

Literature Review

Biometrics Overview, Modalities, and Accuracy

Biometrics is a term that comes from the Greek words “bios” and “metricos” which

means “life measure” (Biruntha, Dhanalakshmi, & Karthik, 2012). It can be used

interchangeably to describe a number of things. Biometrics can refer to a physical or behavioral

characteristic, to a process, or to a technology (Jefferson, 2010). When used to refer to a

characteristic, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on

Biometrics defines biometrics as, “A measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) and

behavioral characteristic that can be used for automated recognition” (National Science and

Technology Council, 2006a, p.4). The NSTC Biometrics Glossary defines biometrics as a

process as, “Automated methods of recognizing an individual based on measurable biological

(anatomical and physiological) and behavioral characteristics” (p.4). As a technology,

biometrics can be the sensor used to capture the unique physical or behavioral characteristic and

digitize it, or it can be the system that compares that captured characteristic against other stored

biometrics.

At the very basic level, biometrics are used for two different functions, biometric

verification and biometric identification. Through verification or identification, multiple other

functions are capable. Biometric verification is the process of verifying a claimed identity

through comparing a captured biometric from the individual against a stored biometric associated

with that individual. Biometric identification is the process of determining an individual’s

identity through a “one-to-many search” against the stored biometrics of multiple people. This

search will either return zero matches, one match, or multiple close matches which would be

candidates for the identity. Identification takes the best result of the search and matches the

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 6

identity with the individual (Allan, 2013). Jefferson summarizes biometrics well when she says,

“Biometrics is an enabling technology that makes possible: tracking criminal histories and

solving crimes, protecting wide-ranging border areas, screening individuals in high-volume

transportation conduits and protecting automated consumer transactions” (2010, p. 101).

However, she only skimmed the surface of why biometrics can be a technological solution for a

current problem.

A biometric modality is the type of biometric characteristic that is being captured and can

also refer to the type of biometric system used to capture and analyze that characteristic

(National Science and Technology Council, 2006a). The two main categories of biometric

modalities are physical and behavioral modalities. Physical modalities are those that measure the

physical traits of an individual such as fingerprints, iris, or facial recognition. Behavior

modalities are those that measure an individual’s behavioral characteristics such as keystroke

dynamics or gait analysis (IEEE, 2012). There is a relationship between physical and behavioral

biometrics. Many behavioral biometrics are affected by the physical characteristics of the

individual. For example, dynamic signature is a behavioral biometric, but the signature stems

from the strength and dexterity of the individual’s hands and fingers. Similarly, voice

recognition depends on the shape of a person’s vocal cords (Allan, 2013).

There are many different biometric modalities that can be used to identify individuals. If

there is a steady characteristic that can be measured, it is likely that it can be used to identify or

authenticate an individual. Some of the most common physical biometrics are fingerprint, face,

iris, vascular pattern, palm print and hand geometry recognition (Modi, 2011). There are other

physical biometrics that are available including earlobe biometrics. Some common behavioral

biometrics are keystroke dynamics, gait recognition, and dynamic signature verification (Modi,

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 7

2011). Physical biometrics are usually unchanging, with the exception of physical injury, and

“unalterable without significant duress”, but the capture of such is often perceived as more

invasive than behavioral biometrics. However, behavioral biometrics are generally less stable

than physical biometrics, usually changing over time and susceptible to change from stress or

other factors (Allan, 2013, p. 12).

Fingerprint biometrics devices capture an image of the fingerprint through a variety of

methods including optical, capacitive, ultrasound, and thermal sensor to identify the minutiae,

friction ridges, and other identifiable parts of the fingerprint. Then, the device or the system

converts the captured biometric image into a digital format which can be transmitted and

automatically compared against other stored biometrics (The FBI Biometric Center of

Excellence, n.d.). Fingerprint biometrics systems have an accuracy rate of over 99% with two

fingerprints and 99.9% when using four fingerprints. The number of fingerprints captured and

the quality of the fingerprint increase the accuracy of the biometric system (Bulman, 2004).

Iris biometrics systems capture an image of an individual’s iris which is the colored

portion of the eye. The system uses near infrared light to illuminate the patterns of the iris

because it does not reflect like visible light and is also not harmful to the individual. The

biometric technology is able to isolate the iris from the pupil, eyelids and other pieces of the eye.

Similar to fingerprint biometrics, once the iris image is captured, it is digitized and compared to

other stored iris biometrics (National Science and Technology Council, 2006b). A person’s iris

patterns are created prior to birth through the folding and forming of iris tissue and no two iris

patterns are the same. Additionally, a person’s iris patterns are stable after age 3. Iris biometrics

have one of the lowest false acceptance rates with the odds of a false acceptance rate for two iris

images is one in over one trillion (Clifton, 2013).

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 8

Vascular pattern recognition biometrics is a modality that uses images of an individual’s

veins, usually in the palm. The technology uses an infrared beam of light to illuminate an

individual’s hand or other body part and a camera on the other side captures an image of the vein

patterns. This modality is very difficult to forge because the veins are on the inside of the body.

Additionally, it is hygienic because it does not require the individual to touch the machine in

order to capture the image of the veins. Vascular pattern recognition is an accurate modality

with a false acceptance rate of less than 0.0001%, a false rejection rate of 0.01%, and a very low

failure to enroll rate (Sarkar, Alisherov, Kim, & Bhattacharyya, 2010).

Keystroke analysis is a behavioral biometric modality that evaluates how someone types

or uses electronic devices like smartphones or computers. According to research by Charles

Tappert, our typing patterns are “consistent, predictable, and nearly impossible to imitate”

(Stromberg, 2013, para. 3). Keystroke analysis can use measures like the dwell time, how long

an individual presses an individual key, and the average time it takes to transition between keys

to identify who someone is by how they are typing with an accuracy of up to 99 percent

(Stromberg, 2013).

Multimodal biometrics systems use a combination of two or more biometric modalities.

These systems use biometric identifiers with varying levels of quality and accuracy and combine

them to make a very accurate system. Multimodal biometrics systems improve accuracy because

there are more pieces of biometric information that are matched. Additionally, multimodal

biometrics systems can be used if somebody is missing a body part that is usually used for

biometric matching (Pellerin, 2004).

In the United States, there are three main national biometrics databases managed by three

separate governmental departments. The three national biometric databases consist of the

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 9

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System

(IAFIS), the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Automated Biometric Identification System

(ABIS), and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Automated Biometric Identification

System (IDENT). FBI’s IAFIS database is managed by the Criminal Justice Information Service

(CJIS) and is the largest criminal fingerprint database in the world. Stored in the database are

biometrics for criminal offenses, known or suspected terrorists, unsolved latent fingerprints, and

civil fingerprints of government employees and others (The Federal Bureau of Investigation,

n.d.). DOD’s ABIS database stores biometrics from DOD operations in foreign countries and

base access biometrics. Included in the ABIS database are fingerprints from individuals

encountered in warzones, latent fingerprints from improvised explosive devices (IED), foreign

employee access fingerprints, and foreign contractor fingerprints (Biometric Identity

Management Agency, n.d.). DHS’s IDENT database is the largest biometric database in the

United States and it stores biometrics from visitors to the United States, criminal information

from individuals encountered by DHS law enforcement agencies, and civil programs managed

by DHS agencies as well as biometrics shared with DHS from other national and international

biometrics databases (Biometrics.gov, n.d.).

In addition to the three large national biometrics databases, other local, state, and federal

agencies have biometrics databases that they keep for multiple reasons. Some of the data in

these databases are fed into the larger national biometrics databases. Outside of the United

States, several other countries have biometrics systems in place for criminal offenses,

immigration, banking, and travel among other things. Many of these countries have sharing

agreements in place with other countries, including the United States, to share biometric

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 10

information of certain individuals, normally criminals, terrorists, and citizens of other countries

(Homeland Security, n.d.).

Current Biometrics Uses in the United States and Abroad

Biometrics are currently being used for several different purposes around the world. The

employment of biometrics is used to provide identity certitude in a number of applications

including building access and financial applications. A 2008 survey conducted by Unisys found

that sixty-two percent of Americans were very concerned about the safety of their personal

information and sixty percent were very concerned about credit and debit card fraud (“Are we

learning,” 2008). In some applications, biometrics can be used to protect personal information

and reduce the threat of credit and debit card fraud.

Biometrics are used throughout the world to track and screen travelers as they seek to

enter different countries. Additionally, some countries have taken steps to embed biometric

identifiers on chips in their passports and other travel documents. All European Union member

states issue electronic passports and most of them have extended access control (EAC) protected

fingerprints embedded. Additionally, many European countries use automated border control

(ABC) measures. There are eight countries that currently have ABC gates that primarily use

facial recognition. The ABC gates are located in Germany, Spain, France, Finland, Netherlands,

Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech

Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Romania are planning to implement the

biometrically enabled border gates (Wolf, 2013). The United States takes biometrics from

travelers entering the country and, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, required all

foreign visitors to hold valid passports and submit to biometrics as a condition of entry.

(Alhussain & Drew, 2009). The United States has also deployed kiosks at select locations that

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 11

allow for low-risk citizens and nationals of the United States and six other countries if they are

enrolled in the Global Entry program. The participants will present their passport to the kiosk

and will the kiosk will compare their fingerprint biometrics to the ones on file and will then take

a photograph of the individual as a record of the encounter (U.S. Customs and Border Protection,

2014). Australian Customs has also deployed automated passenger processing systems at two of

its airports in Sydney and Melbourne. These “e-passport SmartGates” allow for self-processing

by utilizing facial recognition biometrics to verify the identities of the travelers and expedite

their process (Alhussain & Drew, 2009, p. 30). Biometrically enabled turnstiles that use iris

matching technology can process 20-50 people per minute and their accuracy is not impacted by

non-polarized glasses or sunglasses (Zalud, 2012). This technology can expedite screening or

access at busy areas like train stations or airports.

In addition to identifying and tracking travelers, biometrics are used by countries to

verify and identify their own citizens through a combination of country issued identification

cards or other credentials and biometrics. Prior to incorporating biometrics, the identification

cards were easily forged (Alhussain & Drew, 2009). The United Kingdom issues asylum seekers

an identification card with two fingerprint biometrics embedded. Japan uses biometric enabled

passports to reduce illegal immigration and terrorism (Alhussain & Drew, 2009).

Biometrics are also used throughout the world for access control and to restrict access to

only those authorized individuals whose biometrics match the ones stored in the database.

Biometrics enabled access systems are often easy to manage because individuals can be granted

access to certain locations and they may or may not need a credential as well. Because the

system is managed electronically, it is easy to add, edit, or remove access to sensitive areas.

Additionally, using biometrics can reduce the cost associated with guards. At Yeager Airport in

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 12

Charleston, WV, biometric hand readers were incorporated with a PIN or credential and video

surveillance system to control access to certain areas of the airport. By installing this system,

individuals are able to quickly gain access to authorized areas and the airport has saved

thousands of dollars. Prior to installing the system, the airport was required to keep a guard 24-

hours a day at a cost of $25 per hour, but after installing the $17,200 system, they no longer

needed the guard (Dubin, 2011). Scott Air Force base also installed hand recognition systems

and saved over $4,000 in guard costs (Alhussain & Drew, 2009).

Biometrics are also used to keep track of personal interactions to ensure that only

authorized individuals are receiving benefits or that no one is abusing the system. For example,

biometrics are used for e-voting to ensure that no one is voting more than once (Alhussain &

Drew, 2009). Biometrics are also used for candidate verification purposes to identify or verify

an individual in order to receive benefits. Biometrics are used in the healthcare field to verify the

individual’s identity in order to avoid health insurance fraud and ensure the correct medical

records are being used (Allan, 2013). Additionally, biometrics are used in some places to ensure

the correct student is taking a test instead of having an imposter stand-in (Alhussain & Drew,

2009).

Additionally, in some countries that do not have strong identity architecture, biometrics

are used to verify eligibility for benefits. For example, most people in India do not have birth

certificates or other ways to identify themselves, but India has established a nationwide biometric

database that is used to verify an individual’s identity and, subsequently, their eligibility to

collect benefits and aid (Schneider, 2013). In some Latin American countries, low income

families use biometrically enabled automated teller machines (ATM) to withdraw a government

stipend used to send their children in school. The use of biometrics ensures that only the

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 13

authorized individual is retrieving the money for their children and also saves time and money

for the bank. The families do not access the ATM any other time except to withdraw the stipend

and, prior to biometrics, would often forget their personal identification number (PIN) or

password. The bank would then have to reset the information so the family could access their

funds (Zalud, 2012).

In addition to using biometrics to access ATMs for government aid, biometrics have been

used to withdraw money from ATMs and other financial applications in several countries. Some

banks in Turkey, Brazil, and Poland use vein scan biometrics at their ATMs. Additionally,

almost 80,000 ATMs in Japan use vein scanning biometrics (Furlonger, 2013). Some banks in

Latin America use fingerprint scan biometrics at their ATMs which reduce identify theft and

other problems associated with PIN enabled ATMs. Additionally, using biometrics reduced the

number of people with multiple accounts under different identities (Zalud, 2012). An additional

benefit to using biometrically enabled ATMs is that during disasters or other exigent

circumstances, an individual may not have their identification or bank cards, but they will always

have their biometrics. So, they would be able to access their account and withdraw funds

without their identification because they are their own identification (Furlonger, 2013).

Biometrics have also been used commercially in lieu of credit cards or cash. The biometrics at

point of sale locations verify the person’s identity and authorize the payment to the company

(Allan, 2013). Fatima lists several instances where banking frauds have occurred in electronic

banking for amounts over $10 million and recommends that using existing biometrics systems

could protect against those types of attacks (2011). By using a two or three factor authentication,

with biometrics being one of the factors, banks and individuals would protect their assets

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 14

because criminals would no longer be able to gain access by stealing information such as user

names, passwords, or PINs (Fatima, 2011).

Biometrics systems are used by employers for a number of reasons. As previously

discussed, they are used for access systems, but they are also used for time and attendance

systems to ensure the correct individual is working and to prevent another employee from

fraudulently clocking the individual in (Allan, 2013). In Saudi Arabia, government employees

use fingerprint biometrics to ensure that the correct times are recorded for when they start

working and when they end (Alhussain & Drew, 2009). Even fast food restaurants are using

biometrics for employee accountability and security. At a Kentucky Fried Chicken in West

Lafayette, Ohio, employees must use their fingerprints to access the register which ensures that

only the appropriate employees have access to the registers and ensures that employees will not

clock-in for each other (“Biometrics researchers,” 2013).

Biometrics can also be used in lieu of passwords. The use of biometrics instead of

passwords can improve security and also save money and man hours. Many passwords are

currently complex combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters that are continuously

getting longer and more complex. Combined with the complexity requirements of the passwords

and the requirement for most passwords to be changed periodically, forgotten passwords can

reduce productivity and increase costs associated with maintaining a help desk to reset

passwords (Jefferson, 2010). Additionally, due to the complexity of passwords and the sheer

number of passwords to remember, many people write down their passwords which counteracts

any security benefit of having a password. Biometrics can solve the issue of passwords because

it is something that the individual always has with them and it is also very difficult to steal

(Jefferson, 2010).

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 15

There are many other purposes that biometrics are used for. According to Nelson in her

book American identified: Biometric technology and society, “Biometric identification is also

part of a body of forensic systems used to identify missing children, determine parentage, and

more generally investigate crimes” (2010, p. 2). Another function that biometrics can enable is

scanning crowds to identify persons of interest on watchlists containing terrorists, criminals, and

other people. This function is usually used in conjunction with facial matching, gait analysis or

other stand-off biometrics (Allan, 2013). Casinos have been using facial recognition software

for years to identify excluded gamblers or other unwanted individuals. The system is more

accurate than having guards identify individuals or checking identification and it is automatic

(Robson, 2011). Facial recognition biometrics were also used during Super Bowl XXXV to scan

the faces of individuals as they entered the stadium in order to identify terrorists or criminals

(Tavani, 2013). Other biometrics like face topography and keystroke analysis are being used to

continuously authenticate an individual while using a system. For example, biometrics can be

used while a person uses a computer system and can identify when the individual walks away or

when someone else sits in front of the computer. This technology eliminates the need for the

system to “timeout” and offers several forms of security (LeHong & Fenn, 2013).

Previous Surveys

Several studies and surveys have been conducted concerning biometrics and acceptance

of the new technology. Some of the studies evaluated different biometric modalities while others

evaluated biometrics use for certain situations. This paper will briefly discuss the previous

studies, their methodology, and the results.

In 1995, Deane, Barrell, Henderson, & Mahar conducted a survey of 76 people for their

paper, Perceived acceptability of biometric security systems, to determine the participants’

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 16

attitudes toward biometrics as well as their perceptions of different biometric modalities. Deane

et al. discovered that biometrics were rated less acceptable than passwords (Riley, Buckner,

Johnson, & Benyon, 2009). In 2001 and 2002, Opinion Research Corporation (ORC)

International (as cited in El-Abed, Giot, Hemery, & Rosenberger, 2010), conducted two different

phone surveys of 1017 and 1046 adults living in the United States to determine their acceptance

of biometrics systems. More than 75% of the participants felt that biometrics were acceptable

for United States law enforcement authorities to verify identity for passports, for airport check-

ins and to obtain a driver license. Also, 77% of the participants felt that fingerprint biometrics

could protect individuals against fraud. However, greater than 85% of the participants worried

about their personal information being misused (El-Abed et al., 2010).

In 2004, another survey was conducted to determine the attitude toward biometrics in the

context of air travel. The BioSec 2004, survey had 204 participants from Finland, Germany, and

Spain. Most of the survey participants had positive attitudes towards biometrics for air travel but

over half were afraid of losing their privacy. Additionally, 25% were concerned about health

risks from using the biometric technology and 20% worried about the hygiene of the systems

(Riley et al., 2009). In 2005, the UK Passport Service conducted a biometrics enrollment trial

(as cited by Riley et al., 2009) with over 10,000 participants from multiple locations in the

United Kingdom. This study determined that most participants had a positive attitude toward

using biometrics in conjunction with national passports, but almost 25% of the participants were

concerned about the effect of the technology on their civil liberties (Riley et al., 2009).

In 2007, Nelson conducted a national telephone survey of 1,000 individuals in the United

States of America to gather public opinion of privacy and biometric technology. The

participants ranged in age from 18 to 93 years old with 57.6% female and 42.3 male

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 17

participation. The average age of the participant was 51 years old. Ninety-two percent of the

participants were high school graduates and 39% held at least a 4-year college degree. The

topics of the telephone survey included the importance of protecting personal information,

threats to information privacy, comfort level with privacy protection measures, and attitudes

toward biometric technology (Nelson, 2010).

In addition to the telephone survey, Nelson conducted a study using focus groups to

“understand the views of biometric users and nonusers on a variety of issues related to how

private information is protected and used by different institutions and to understand how

biometric technology can potentially safeguard that private information and provide security”

(Nelson, 2010, p. 19). Nine focus groups from 55 participants were created with biometric users

being grouped with other users and non-users grouped with non-users. The focus group study

was conducted as a mixture of a survey and a moderated in-depth discussion following the

survey to further explore participants’ attitudes and opinions (Nelson, 2010).

As cited by El-Abed et al., the results of a NIST survey on biometrics usability of

fingerprints was published in 2007 (2010). The NIST survey was conducted by 300 adults

consisting of 151 women and 149 men ranging in age from 18 years old to over 65 years old.

This survey was conducted to identify users’ acceptance of fingerprint biometric systems. The

majority of the participants were in favor of using fingerprint biometrics to verify identity for

passport purposes with 77% saying they agreed with the use in that situation. Additionally, 2%

of the participants were concerned about the cleanliness of the devices that they would have to

touch to use (El-Abed et al., 2010).

A 2008 survey conducted by Unisys (as cited by “Are we learning,” 2008), determined

that the majority of United States citizens were comfortable with biometrics for authentication.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 18

Over 70% of the participants would trust government agencies and banks to use their biometric

data to verify their identity and fingerprints tied passwords as the primary preferred method of

authentication. The Unisys Security Index survey also determined that 62% of Americans were

very concerned about the safety of their personal information and 60% were very concerned

about credit card fraud. Additionally, the survey determined that American citizens were less

supportive of blood vessel scans with only a 43% acceptance rate as compared to the 73%

acceptance rate of fingerprint biometrics. Men and women were also determined to have similar

acceptance rates for using biometrics to verify their identity, but women were less willing to use

advanced biometric methods like eye scans and hand scans (“Are we learning,” 2008).

In 2009, Riley et al. conducted a survey of quantitative and qualitative questions to

determine people’s attitudes towards biometrics in three different countries, India, South Africa,

and the United Kingdom. The survey was written in English and administered electronically.

The study had 581 participants with 202 from India, 202 from South Africa, and 177 from

United Kingdom and almost an even divide between male and female participants. The

questions on the survey asked about “perceived privacy, safety, usability and acceptability of

biometrics” (Riley et al., 2009, p. 299). Additionally, an open-ended question was included in

the survey to allow the participants to expand on their opinion of biometrics. About half of the

participants answered that question. The survey had limitations associated with how it was

administered. It was administered in English and, while many people in the countries speak

English, it is not their first language. Additionally, the participants from India and South Africa

were compensated for their participation and that could impact the responses. Riley et al. also

note that the requirement to be proficient in English introduced sampling bias into the survey

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 19

which means that the results of the survey would apply to a subset of the population and not

necessarily the general public (2009).

In 2009, Alhussain & Drew described their study in their paper Towards user acceptance

of biometric technology in E-government: A survey study in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Alhussain & Drew conducted interviews of 11 managers in different management levels and

conducted a questionnaire of 101 employees in the Saudi Arabian government to determine

perceptions of biometric authentication in the workplace. The managers were asked five open-

ended questions to get a qualitative result. The questions asked about if there was a perceived

cultural gap for their employees and if the managers felt a level of responsibility for narrowing

that gap. Additionally, they asked about any difficulties and barriers to implementing

biometrics. The survey that was given to the 101 employees was answered quantitatively on a

five point scale. The employees were asked how important they thought biometrics were to the

organization, if they thought that biometrics meant that their employer mistrusted employees,

and if they thought there should be an awareness of biometrics before implementation (Alhussain

& Drew, 2009).

In their paper A study of users’ acceptance and satisfaction of biometric systems, El-Abed

et al. discuss their study they conducted to study perception of biometrics to improve the

usability of biometric systems (2010). The study used 70 participants consisting of 71.4%

students and 28.6 employees from different countries to answer survey questions after using two

different biometric systems. The participants used a keystroke verification system and a face

verification system. Then, they answered 23 survey questions about their demographic

information, general perception of biometrics and their perception of the tested biometric system.

Their study found that 33.3% of the participants did not trust the face verification system and

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 20

23.2% did not trust the keystroke verification system. Additionally, the participants were much

more concerned about their privacy when using the face verification system as opposed to the

keystroke system. Additionally, the participants felt that the keystroke verification system

performed better than the face verification system with 89.9% of participants satisfied with the

keystroke biometric and 81.1% satisfied with the facial biometric. Even though the keystroke

biometric outperformed the facial biometric, participants preferred the facial biometric for

certain applications. For logical access, 56.5% of the participants prefer keystroke verification

systems while 26.1% prefer face verification systems. For physical access, 36.2% prefer to use

face verification systems and 14.5% prefer to use keystroke verification systems. If they had to

choose one system for both applications, 31.9% of the participants would prefer to use face

verification systems while 26% would prefer to use keystroke verification systems (El-Abed et

al., 2010).

In 2013, Miltgen, Popovic, & Oliveira wrote about the study they conducted to determine

what the key determinates of end-user acceptance of disruptive information technology like

biometric systems are. The survey was scenario based and was administered electronically to

326 European participants between the ages of 15-25 years old. The majority of the participants

were students in a range of education levels. The scenario was written as a friend has an

opportunity to use iris scan biometrics to identify himself or herself before a driving test. The

iris scan will allow the friend to bypass a line and will automatically assign a machine for him or

her to use. Based on the scenario, participants were asked to answer questions on the perceived

usefulness, compatibility, perceived risks and other aspects of the biometric technology (Miltgen,

Popovic, & Oliveira, 2013). The survey has several limitations including that it only focused on

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 21

one biometric modality, only had participants between 18-25 years old, and only had European

participants.

Concerns About Biometrics

Concerns and objections to using biometrics can be based on many different things.

Someone may object to using biometrics based on the situation in which the technology is being

used. In this example, the person objects to the purpose for the biometrics, but not the

technology itself. Other concerns about biometrics stem from opinions or beliefs of the

individual revolving around loss of privacy, health risks, hygiene, and lack of trust in the

technology. In other cases, the individual may not object to the technology or the purpose of the

use, but they may not trust the government or organization that is using the biometrics. The

individuals may be afraid that their information is not being used appropriately.

The distrust of the government or the organization using the biometrics combined with

current events has the potential to sway the views of individuals. For example, during the survey

conducted by Riley et al., there was a proposal for a national identity card in the United

Kingdom that would be a mandatory requirement and would require the collection of biometric

data. This proposed identity card received a lot of negative media attention around the time of

the survey and the researchers believed that negative attention could have accounted for the

lower than expected level of acceptance in the United Kingdom (Riley et al., 2009). The recent

media attention on the National Security Agency (NSA) and their domestic spying program has

caused more attention and negative feelings to be directed to a DHS facial recognition program

in development called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS) (Gonsalves, 2013).

This recent attention to misuse of private information by the government and the violation of

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 22

trust by U.S. citizens has the potential to impact the results from the survey conducted in this

study.

Lack of trust in the government is not a new phenomenon. The National Biometric

Security Project reported that the three government agencies that use biometrics to protect

against terrorism are also the three government agencies that are the least trusted by American

citizens. The Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Central

Intelligence Agency were the three government agencies that participants of a poll ranked as

least trusted to protect their personal information (2006). The National Biometric Security

Project also highlights another reason that American citizens may not trust biometrics and central

databases containing their information. Their report states,

The very existence of a central database concerns people who recall times when the

government used databases of information on people for purposes far beyond their

original intent. Examples of reported misuses include the use of confidential information

from the Census Bureau during World War II to locate and intern Japanese-Americans

and the use of confidential information from the National Crime Information Center to

monitor people opposed to the Vietnam War. Both of these reported misuses of

information contained in confidential databanks took place when the country was at war.

Accordingly, during today’s time of instability when fears of future terrorist attacks

abound, it is not unreasonable to anticipate that some people will be concerned that in the

future, biometric data gathered to screen for terrorist could be used for other purposes or

associated with other data about the individual.

(National Biometric Security Project, 2006, p. 81)

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 23

In addition to citizens having low acceptance to centralized biometric databases due to mistrust

in the government, individuals do not trust the centralized databases due to the potential for their

personal information to be compromised (Riley et al., 2009). Respondents worry that if

biometric template data in the database is compromised, the information will be compromised

forever without a solution (El-Abed et al., 2010).

A major concern that many participants in previous studies had with biometrics is the

potential loss of privacy associated with biometrics use. Miltgen et al. state that privacy

concerns are source of public aversion to biometrics. They go on to say that the privacy

concerns can be linked to the personal nature of biometrics because there is a link between an

identity and the individual’s body (2013). The privacy concern varies by the location in which

biometrics are used and the purpose for their use. Views on privacy differ drastically between

the United States and European countries. Rosen illustrates the difference between American

views on privacy and European views when he states, “Americans tend to be much more

concerned about government surveillance while Europeans tend to be more concerned about

privacy invasions by the private sector” (2007, p. 295). Rosen goes on to suggest that, although

Americans have privacy concerns, they may give up their rights to privacy for individual

purposes when he states, “A society where citizens refuse to respect their own privacy is not one

where privacy will be long respected; and the American experience suggests that citizens in an

individualistic market democracy may perceive too many market rewards for exposure to respect

their own privacy for long” (Rosen, 2007, p. 299).

Other concerns with biometrics that are commonly stated by participants in studies

involve the misuse of their personal data, health risks associated with the use of biometrics, and

hygiene issues associated with use of the technology. Riley et al. reported that individuals were

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 24

concerned that their biometric information could be used for marketing or other commercial

purposes (2009). Another concern noted by Riley et al. is that function creep could cause

biometric information to be used in situations and functions other than it was originally agreed to

be used for (2009). Many people have concerns that use of biometrics devices can pose health

hazards. These concerns are especially relevant with advanced biometrics like iris or retina

scanners. When biometric devices were used in Saudi Arabian government buildings, some

employees were concerned that the devices could cause skin cancer (“Careful with,” n.d.). El-

Abed et al. also noted that previous studies found that some users complained that hand

geometry biometric devices could dry out their hands and some military aviators were concerned

that retinal scanners could damage their vision (2010). The 2004 BioSec survey (as cited by

Riley et al., 2009) noted that 20% of the participants had concerns about the hygiene of

biometrics systems that required contact. The ability for some biometric technologies, like

retinal scans, to disclose disease or health issues is another reason that some users to do not

approve of the technology (Nelson, 2010).

Cultural issues and attitudes play a major role in concerns and acceptance of biometrics.

During a discussion with a developer of biometrics technology, the developer stated that cultural

attitudes were a driving factor in changing the color of the illuminated fingerprint platen on their

biometrics device. The original fingerprint reader was illuminated in red, but many users

reported that, due to language differences and lack of interaction with technology, some

individuals were afraid of the red platen due to misconceptions that it would be hot or other

reasons. The developer changed the color from red to green and there were fewer concerns.

Other cultures may have an aversion to touch with public sensors and having to place a body part

on a biometric device may be unacceptable (El-Abed et al., 2010). There are many factors that

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 25

determine a culture’s acceptance of biometrics. Experience and acceptance of other technology

in a culture generally increases biometrics acceptance. South Africa has a high rate of violent

crime and, subsequently, many individuals from that country have a fear that their biometric

identifiers will be removed for criminal purposes and they will be harmed (Riley et al., 2009).

Lack of trust in the biometrics system and the accuracy of the technology is another

major impediment to acceptance. Many participants in the study conducted by Riley et al.

expressed concern about the reliability of the biometrics equipment and the potential

consequences to the individual if the technology failed (2009). Additionally, some individuals

have problems using some biometric modalities due to their physiological characteristics.

Gartner finds that a few individuals out of a thousand experience problems using fingerprint

biometrics for authentication (LeHong & Fenn, 2013). This fact does not build trust in the

system reliability. Biometric systems can also be spoofed using several different methods. Modi

describes several methods to spoof biometrics systems including using false fingers out of

silicon, transferring a latent print to a piece of tape and using that in place of a finger, using high

resolution photos to trick face recognition software, using contact lenses to fool iris recognition

devices, using plaster molds of a hand to spoof hand geometry systems, and using vein patterns

printed on paper to fool vascular pattern recognition devices (2011).

Mitigating Measures to Address Concerns

Much of the literature written has identified some solutions to mitigate the concerns

individuals have about biometrics. To prevent spoofing, many biometrics systems have

countermeasures built in. For example, many biometrics that contact the individual use heat

sensors and other liveness detection methods to ensure there is an actual live person touching the

machine. Other biometric modalities use features like eye detection and examination of the skin

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 26

properties to detect masks of other methods of deception in facial recognition (Modi, 2011).

Liveness detection measures also address concerns by some individuals that their biometric

identifier could be forcefully removed and used. The liveness detection would detect that the

biometric was no longer “alive” and would reject it.

Many of the concerns that biometrics can cause health problems can be discounted. Iris

and retinal scans do not cause damage to the eyes because they use low output light emitting

diodes (LED) to illuminate the eye with near infrared light in order to take a photograph of the

biometric features of the iris or the retina. The output of the LED is low to minimize any risk for

damage to the eye (National Science and Technology Council, 2006b). Biometrics systems are

designed and tested to minimize any health risks to individuals. Additionally, health concerns

from the hygiene of the biometrics device can be addressed by using contactless biometric

systems like iris recognition or vascular pattern recognition. Contactless systems can also

minimize objections due to cultural aversion to touching public sensors (El-Abed et al., 2010).

Although there may be privacy concerns with biometrics use, the technology can provide

more security of personal information than other security alternatives. Allan states, “Because

biometric traits are more difficult to copy or share than passwords and tokens, biometric

authentication can provide a higher level of accountability than any alternatives, and may be

used alone or in conjunction with other technologies when individual accountability is

paramount” (2013, p. 8). Additionally, to address concerns about compromised biometric

templates, there are several methods for protecting templates and identifying compromised

templates. Biruntha et al. state that steganography, watermarking, and cryptography can be used

to protect templates and detect compromises (2012). Biometrics templates can also protect

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 27

against fraud because if they are compromised, they can be revoked and replaced with a new

template (Jefferson, 2010).

To address concerns of biometrics systems not working correctly or not accepting an

individual’s biometrics, multi-modal biometric systems can be used. Utilizing multiple

modalities when enrolling individuals in the databases maximized the searchable biometric data

and reduces the number of individuals that cannot be enrolled or searched due to missing or poor

quality biometric characteristics. Additionally, using multi-modal capable biometrics systems to

search or verify individuals allows for the system to take the best quality biometrics to verify

against the database (Dessimoz, Richiardi, Champod, & Drygajlo, 2007). Also, the accuracy of

the system increases with each added modality. Using multi-modal systems with reduce the

number of false matches and in turn would improve trust in the accuracy.

Actions to Improve Acceptance

In order to improve acceptance of the technology, the concerns of the population need to

be addressed. As previously mentioned, many of the concerns individuals had revolved around

the loss of their personal information, their information being used for purposes other than what

they agreed to, potential health concerns, and the potential that the biometric device is not

accurate or inoperable. Many of the concerns stemmed from lack of knowledge of biometrics

technology and the mistrust of the agencies conducting biometrics. The mitigating factors to

their concerns mentioned earlier can be used to relegate their concerns.

One action that can be taken to improve acceptance of biometrics is to improve

knowledge of biometrics and their use. The research has shown that, generally, the people that

know the most about the technology feel more comfortable with it and are more supportive of it.

In the BioSec 2004 survey (as cited by Riley et al., 2004), the German respondents were the most

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 28

knowledgeable about biometrics and, subsequently, had the most positive attitudes toward the

technology. Another thing that technology developers can do to improve acceptance of their

product is to identify sources of resistance early in the research and development process.

Mitchener-Nissen recommends that developers engage the public early in the design process to

identify concerns and translate those concerns into design requirements to minimize social

resistance “before it coalesces and becomes synonymous with the technology being developed”

(2013, p. 3). LeHong & Fenn claim that increased user experience and increased assurance of

the accuracy of the technology combined with lower cost and improved convenience features of

biometrics will improve acceptance of biometrics technology (2013).

To address the concerns that the biometrics and personal information will be used for

purposes other than their original purpose including tracking individuals can be addressed by

conducting privacy assessments and making those documents publically available (Jefferson,

2010). The privacy impact assessment for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s

biometric database, IDENT, is publically available on the DHS website and details the purpose

for the biometrics system, who can use the system, who biometrics can be collected from, why

biometrics may be collected, any privacy risks associated with the system and steps taken to

mitigate those risks, as well as other information that the public would want to know (U.S.

Department of Homeland Security, 2012). Similarly, the FBI makes the privacy impact

assessments for their biometrics systems publically available on their website for many of the

same reasons as DHS. The FBI IAFIS privacy impact assessment describes the background for

why the biometrics system is needed, how it will be used and what protections individuals have

in addition to other information an individual may want to know. The privacy impact assessment

also describes partnerships with other agencies and databases (The Federal Bureau of

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 29

Investigation, 2012). Individuals can read the privacy impact assessment and see that their

information is being used for specific purposes and that it is being protected within the bounds of

the privacy impact assessment.

However, if individuals do not trust the government, agency or corporation that is using

biometrics, any document published by that organization will not appease many of the concerns

of the individuals. Then, the only way to improve acceptance of the technology is to show the

public that the organization can be trusted and gain the trust of the individuals. The other way to

gain acceptance of biometrics is to use the technology for reasons that improve convenience for

the public. For example, by using biometrics in the place of passwords, individuals would not

have to remember multiple, complex passwords that have to be changed periodically (Jefferson,

2010). Additionally, programs like CBP’s Global Entry program can build acceptance for

biometrics because it uses the technology to provide a convenience feature that allows

individuals to more quickly check into customs and avoid long lines (U.S. Customs and Border

Protection, 2014).

Remaining Questions

The research and associated literature have identified many factors in individuals’

attitudes towards biometrics technology and their acceptance of their use. However, some of the

research is dated and needs to be revisited periodically to determine if the findings are still

relevant. One question that needs to be answered is, “How have the attitudes of the individuals

changed in the past few years?” With every year, technology becomes more and more embedded

in the everyday life of individuals. With the influx of technology, people become more

comfortable with technology and in-turn more comfortable with biometrics. However, recent

current events and media coverage have the potential to change the opinion of the American

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 30

public. Recent media coverage of the National Security Administration’s actions has caused

many citizens to be concerned about their privacy. Similar to the UK’s biometrics results in the

study conducted by Riley et al., if surveyed now, citizens of the United States may not trust that

their information would be protected and used appropriately which would negatively impact

acceptance of biometrics.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 31

Methodology

Data Collection Technique

The study was conducted in two parts. The first part of the study was an intensive

literature review of the existing biometrics literature to learn what other researchers have

identified as impacts to biometrics acceptance. Additionally, the literature review identified

previous surveys that researchers had conducted and those surveys and their results were used to

develop the second part of the study.

The second part of the study was an anonymous online survey that was designed to

collect and analyze participants’ opinions of biometrics and their thoughts on acceptable uses of

the technology. The survey was created and administered using Google’s forms functionality on

Google Docs. The survey consisted of five demographic questions, 19 multiple choice

quantitative questions, and four fill-in-the-blank qualitative questions. The results of the survey

were compiled in Google Docs using their spreadsheet functionality. A copy of the survey

questions is included in this report as Appendix A.

The five demographic questions were multiple choice and designed to gather information

such as the age of the participant, level of education, gender, and experience with biometrics.

This data was used in the analysis to identify differences in opinions based on demographic

characteristics. Additionally, the demographic information was used to compare the sample

makeup to the overall population of the United States in order to validate the results of the

survey. The 19 quantitative questions were divided into five separate groups of questions

designed to gather data for different aspects of the study. Each question had five answers for the

participant to choose from. The first section consisted of four multiple choice questions

designed to measure the participants level of comfort with using biometrics technology in the

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 32

different situations in each question. The participants chose between the five answer options of

very comfortable, somewhat comfortable, unsure, somewhat uncomfortable, or very

uncomfortable. The second section consisted of five questions with the same options for the

participants to choose from as the first section. This section was designed to measure the

participants’ level of comfort with different biometric modalities. The third section consisted of

four questions designed to measure the participants’ acceptance with different uses of biometrics.

The participants chose between the five answer options of very acceptable, somewhat acceptable,

unsure, somewhat unacceptable, or very unacceptable. The fourth section consisted of four

questions with the same answer categories as the third section. This section was designed to

measure the participants’ level of acceptance with different implementations of biometrics

technologies. The fifth section consisted of two questions designed to capture the participants

overall opinion of biometrics and their roles in security and convenience. To answer these

questions, the participants chose between the answer options of very significantly, somewhat

significantly, unsure, very little, or none.

The four qualitative questions were designed to gather any suggestions that the

participants had without being constrained by the limit or format of the multiple choice options

of the quantitative design. Additionally, they were designed to capture the general attitude and

opinion of the participants in their own words. The first narrative question aimed to identify

locations where biometrics would be beneficial. The second question was designed to identify

instances and situations where biometrics were needed for a specific purpose. The third question

aimed to identify specific criteria that needed to be met in order to use biometrics technology in

an acceptable manner. The fourth question was designed to gather criteria for the unacceptable

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 33

use of biometrics and identify when biometrics collection would be objectionable to the survey

participants.

Subjects and Setting

The survey participants were solicited from a small population of people known by the

author and the faculty advisor. Participation was solicited through the use of notifications on the

social networking site, Facebook, and emails sent to faculty and students of American Military

University as well as co-workers, friends, and family of the author. The notifications and emails

explained the purpose of the survey, requested their participation, and provided the link to the

online survey. There were no identification numbers assigned to the survey links and no way of

identifying who participated in the survey as it was completely anonymous with the exception of

the demographic information which had little to no identifying information.

The solicitation on Facebook was conducted as a status message with a request for the

author’s “Facebook friends” to complete the survey with a link to the survey location. Of the

almost 300 acquaintances on Facebook, it is expected there was a five to ten percent participation

rate in the survey. The 300 individuals ranged from over 18 years old to over 80 years old, in a

variety of occupations, with varying levels of education, and geographically located all over the

United States. The author’s co-workers are all employed by the United States Coast Guard,

located in Washington, D.C., between the ages of 25 years old and 60 years old, and most have

at least a Bachelor’s degree. There were less than 30 co-workers that were asked to participate in

the survey. The students and faculty of American Military University were all well-educated

with all of them having at least a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, they were all over 24 years

old, employed in many different occupations, and geographically located all over the United

States.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 34

Statistical Analysis

For the quantitative portion of the study, each question had five choices of answers. Each

of those answers was converted to a value between one and five. Additionally, each of the

questions was assigned a question number for easier charting and analysis. Then, the results of

the survey were placed into an Excel spreadsheet where they were studied and analyzed. First,

the average of each question was calculated. Then, the standard deviation and variance were

calculated. Once those values were calculated for the entire population, the spreadsheet was

used to filter the results by demographic characteristics and the same calculations were

conducted for the different characteristics. Those results were compiled and placed in tables

where they were subsequently graphed. The researcher compared the results in each category

against the overall average and against the other categories to develop assumptions about the

demographic subsets. Additionally, the researcher considered the number of participants from

each category when considering the significance of each subset’s average. If the category had a

small number of participants, its results were not given the same regard as a category with many

participants because the average of the smaller category could be more greatly impacted by the

answers of one or two participants. This would not lead to a fair and accurate categorization for

those demographic subsets.

Limitations of the Study

The study was limited by the amount of time available to complete it and the number of

participants that completed the online survey. As the study was conducted in order to complete a

thesis to fulfill a requirement for a Master’s degree program, the author was constrained by the

amount of time available in the course and in order to complete the study in time, the author used

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 35

a small population of participants that would respond quickly. For this study, the survey was

open for two weeks and had 69 participants complete the questionnaire.

Another limitation in the survey was the potential lack of diversity in the participants and

the disparity with the larger population of the United States of America. The participants of the

study were predominately male with only 33% of the participants being female. According to a

2012 census study, almost 51% of the population of the United States was female (United States

Census Bureau, n.d.c). Additionally, an overwhelming number of the participants in the study

had obtained a higher level of education than the national average. Forty-one percent of the

participants had obtained a Master’s degree and 20% of the participants had obtained a Doctorate

degree while the national average in the United States was that 8.41% of the population had

obtained a Master’s degree and 1.68% had obtained a doctorate. Additionally, 35% of the survey

participants had obtained a Bachelor’s degree which was higher than the national average of

20.09% (United States Census Bureau, n.d.b.). Another disparity between the survey sample and

the population of the United States was the number of military members that participated.

Almost 28% of the participants in the survey were military which was much higher than the

national average of less than 1% of the population (National Public Radio, 2011). Also, the age

dispersion of the survey participants was not as varied as the population of the United States.

There were over three times the percentage of 25-34 year olds represented in the survey than in

the population of the United States. People between the ages of 25 and 34 comprise 13.4% of

the population of the United States. However, they made up 43% of the participants for the

survey. Similarly, 28% of the survey participants were between the ages of 35 and 44 years old,

but only 12.9% of the population of the United States are in that age range. The percentage of

survey participants between the ages of 45 and 64 years old was very close to the percentage of

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 36

the United States population with 23% of survey participants and 26.5% of the U.S. population

falling in that range. Survey participants 65 years old and older were underrepresented in the

survey with only 6% of the participants falling in that age range when the national average is

13.4% of the population is 65 or older (United States Census Bureau, n.d.a). These limitations

can be attributed to the sample populations chosen for the survey and the method used to gather

data. Because the survey participants were solicited using online social media to reach out to

acquaintances of the author and emails were used to reach out to co-workers of the author and

students and employees of the American Military University, there was not much diversity

present in the participants.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 37

Results

Demographics and Response Distribution

The study had 69 participants complete the survey. Of those participants, 67% were

male, 43% were between the ages of 25 and 34 years old, 41% held a Master’s degree, 20% held

a Doctorate degree, 58% were employed for wages (other than military), 28% were active duty

military, and 55% had some experience with biometrics but would not consider themselves to be

very experienced. The number of participants from each demographic group are reported in

Table 1. Additionally, the distributions of each demographic group are illustrated in Figures 1-5.

Figure 6 shows the number of times each answer was chosen for each quantitative

question on the survey. As previously stated, the terms used for the answers on the quantitative

questions were converted to values between one and five for analysis. Depending on the section,

an answer with the value of one would correlate to the terms, Very Uncomfortable, Very

Unacceptable, or None. Likewise, an answer with the value of five would correlate to the terms,

Very Comfortable, Very Acceptable, and Very Significantly. Additionally, for the purpose of

analyzing and graphing the results, each quantitative question was assigned a question number.

Table 2 lists the quantitative questions and their assigned question numbers.

The answers for each qualitative question were reviewed and placed into categories with

similar answers. Those categories were then tallied and graphed. The number of results could

be further minimized by placing them in fewer, broader categories. The results of the qualitative

study can be seen in figures 7-10. There are more qualitative answers than there were

participants because some participants listed multiple answers for each question. For the

question that asked the participants to list locations where biometrics would be most beneficial,

14% listed locations that have restricted access control, the next two highest answers were

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 38

airports and banks with 11% and 9% respectively. The results from this question can be seen in

figure 7. The question that asked participants to list instances where biometrics are needed had a

closer distribution of answers. The answer chosen most often was for restricted access control

with 10%. Boarding a flight, identity verification/authentication, and medical were the next

three popular answers with 9%, 9%, and 8% of the answers. The next eight answers ranged from

4% to 6%. The results from this question can be seen in figure 8. When participants were asked

to list acceptable uses of biometrics, almost twice as many responses were for restricted access

control than any other answer. The next three highest responses for this question were national

security, same as above, and hospital access or medical identification with 8%, 8% and 7%. Due

to the aggregate nature of the responses, the researcher was not able to correlate the “same as

above” answers to any of the answers for the previous questions. The results for this question

are located in figure 9. When asked to list unacceptable uses of biometrics, the participants were

overwhelmingly against using biometrics for marketing, commercial purposes, or selling data to

third parties with over 40% of the responses. The next two most common responses for

unacceptable use were “routine use or common daily activities” and “large spectator events or

sporting events” with 8% and 7% respectively. The results from this question are in figure 10.

Table 1

Number of Participants by Demographic

Gender Age Education Employment Experience

Male 46

25-34 30

Some college, no

degree 2

Employed for

wages 40

No Experience 23

Female 23 35-44 19 Associate Degree 1 Self-employed 1 Some Experience 38

45-54 7 Bachelor’s Degree 24 Homemaker 1 Very Experienced 8

55-64 9 Master’s Degree 28 Student 1

65+ 4 Doctorate Degree 14 Military 19

Retired 7

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 39

Figure 1: Gender Distribution of the Sample Population

Figure 2: Age Distribution of the Sample Population

Figure 3: Education Distribution of the Sample

Population

Figure 4: Employment Distribution of the Sample

Population

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 40

Figure 6: Response Distribution by Question

Figure 5: Experience Distribution of the Sample

Population

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 41

Table 2

Quantitative Questions

Question

Number

Question

1
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following situations [How comfortable are you with

providing biometrics to log into your personal computer or phone?]

2
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following situations [How comfortable are you with

providing biometrics to board a flight?]

3
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following situations [How comfortable are you with

providing biometrics to “clock-in” for work?]

4
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following situations [How comfortable are you with

providing your biometrics to withdraw cash from an ATM?]

5
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following biometric types [Given that you agree with the

purpose or reason for biometrics use, how comfortable are you with providing a scan of your iris? ]

6
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following biometric types [Given that you agree with the

purpose or reason for biometrics use, how comfortable are you with providing a scan of your fingerprints?]

7
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following biometric types [Given that you agree with the

purpose or reason for biometrics use, how comfortable are you with providing a scan of your palm prints?]

8
Please indicate your level of comfort with the following biometric types [Given that you agree with the

purpose or reason for biometrics use, how comfortable are you with providing a scan of your face?]

9

Please indicate your level of comfort with the following biometric types [Given that you agree with the

purpose or reason for biometrics use, how comfortable are you with allowing a scan of your veins for vein

pattern recognition?]

10
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part I) [Your biometrics are captured and

transmitted in an unencrypted format.]

11
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part I) [Your biometrics are captured and

transmitted in an encrypted format.]

12

For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part I) [Your biometrics are stored in a

secured government database and can only be accessed for approved reasons such as homeland security or

law enforcement.]

13
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part I) [Your biometrics are stored in a

database and can be accessed by commercial companies for targeted advertising.]

14
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part II) [Using biometrics to screen

individuals at a public event.]

15
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part II) [Using biometrics to replace

passwords.]

16
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part II) [You were informed of the

implementation of biometrics three months prior to it becoming required.]

17
For the following scenarios, choose your level of acceptance (Part II) [You were not informed that

biometrics would be required.]

18 Based on your understanding of biometrics…. [How much does the use of biometrics improve security?]

19
Based on your understanding of biometrics…. [How much does the use of biometrics improve

convenience?]

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 42

Figure 7: Qualitative Question #1 Responses Figure 8: Qualitative Question #2 Responses

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 43

Fi

gure 9: Qualitative Question #3 Responses

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 44

Figure 10: Qualitative Question #4 Responses

Impact of Education

Those participants with advanced Masters or Doctorate degrees answered lower than the

average answer on almost all of the questions of the study. Those participants that Bachelor

degrees averaged the same or higher than the average response on almost all of the questions.

Due to the low number of participants with an Associate Degree or some college, but no degree,

the results of their questions were not used to formulate the opinion of how education impacts

biometrics acceptance. Participants with Bachelor Degrees had an average answer of 1.1 while

participants with Doctorate Degrees and Masters Degrees had an average answer of 1.4 and 1.5

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 45

respectively which was higher than the overall average response of 1.3 for question number 13

relating to commercial use of biometrics. Although close with averages within 0.2, the responses

from the participants with Masters Degrees were higher on average than those with Doctorate

Degrees with the exceptions of questions number 4, 7, and 11. Participants with Bachelor

Degrees averaged at least 0.4 higher than the average participant on questions number 3, 6, 7,

and 12. Figure 11 shows the difference in the average answer by participants in each education

level.

Figure

11: Impact of Education on Biometrics Acceptance

Impact of Different Modalities

This survey had 5 questions that asked participants to choose their level of comfort with

the following biometric modalities, iris scan, fingerprint scan, palm print scan, face scan, and

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 46

vein pattern recognition. Those modalities correlate to questions 5-9 on the survey respectively.

As seen in Figure 11, the average response for iris scans and facial scan, question 5 and 8, was

3.6 while the average scores for fingerprint scans and palm print scans, question 6 and 7, were

4.2 and 4.1. Vein pattern recognition, question 9, had the lowest average score with 3.3.

Impact of Gender and Age

There were slight differences between the results from the male participants and the

female participants in this study. The questions with the largest difference were question 17 with

a difference of 0.6, question 8 with a difference of 0.5, and questions 2, 3, and 9 with a

difference of 0.3. Males had higher responses than the average for questions 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 13, and

17. Females averaged higher than the average answer for questions 4, 5, 12, 14, and 18. The

responses separated by gender can be seen in Figure 12.

The participants in the 45-54 years old group had answers that were at least 0.4 higher

than the average for questions 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 14, and 15. The participants in this age group had

answers at least 0.4 less than the average for questions 12 and 16. The participants over the age

of 45 were far less accepting of having biometrics stored in a government database to be used for

homeland security or law enforcement with answers at least 0.9 less than the average for

question 12 which was 35-55% lower scores than the participants between 25-44 years old. The

participants over the age of 65 years old had answers that were less than the average answer with

the exception of questions number 10 and 19 which were 0.3 and 0.1 more than the average. The

overall average of all of the answers from participants over the age of 65 years old was 2.7. The

average for the other age groups were at least 0.6 higher with most being 0.9 higher. The three

age groups between 25-54 years old all had overall averages of 3.6. The responses separated by

age group can be seen in Figure 13.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 47

Figure

12: Impact of Gender on Biometrics Acceptance

Figure

13: Impact of Age on Biometrics Acceptance

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 48

Impact of Experience with Biometrics

Those participants that were very experienced with biometrics had answers that were

higher than the average answer for questions 1, 2, and 4 relating to logging into a computer,

boarding flights and using ATMs. Additionally, the very experienced participants had scores

that were 0.4 higher than the average answer for question 5 and 19 relating to iris scans and

convenience features. Very experienced participants had scores that were 0.9 higher than the

average for question 17 relating to unannounced biometrics than the other participants. Likewise

very experienced participants had answers that were 0.4 lower than the average for question 15

related to using biometrics to replace passwords. The participants with no experience with

biometrics had scores that were 0.5 less than the average answer for questions 14 and 19 relating

to screening individuals at public events and convenience features. On average participants with

no experience had answers less than the average score, but their answers for questions 7, 8, and 9

were over 0.2 higher than the average. Participants with no experience had an overall average

answer of 3.4 which was less than the average answer of 3.6 for both participants with some

experience and very experienced participants. The results showing the responses based on

experience level are in Figure 14. Only 11% of the participants were very experienced with

biometrics. 55% of the participants had some experience with biometrics.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 49

Figure

14: Impact of Experience on Biometrics Acceptance

Impact of Employment Status

Due to the low numbers of participants in the self-employed, homemaker, and student

demographic subsets, their responses will not be used to characterize opinions for the whole

subset. Military participants were about 10% less accepting of vein pattern recognition than the

other participants and were 10% less convinced that biometrics improve convenience. However,

they were about 20% more accepting of biometrics being stored in a government database for

use in law enforcement or homeland security and were about 10% more accepting of biometrics

after being notified. Retired participants answered lower than the average for all questions

except questions 9, 10, and 17. Retired participants were over 5% more accepting of vein pattern

recognition and 10% more accepting of transmitting unencrypted biometrics. Retired

participants were least accepting of biometrics use with an overall average answer of 3.2 and

military participants were most accepting with an overall answer of 3.6. . The results showing

responses separated by employment status are in Figure 15.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 50

Figure 15: Impact of Employment Status on Biometrics Acceptance

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 51

Discussion

The survey reviewed and confirmed many of the assumptions developed during the

literature review. Additionally, the survey was used to test the nine hypotheses of the study. In

addition to the quantitative analysis of information, a qualitative study was conducted to gather

information about the participants’ opinions that were not constrained by the limitations of

quantitative questions. The qualitative results helped to support and further emphasize the

results of the quantitative study.

Due to low numbers of participants in several demographic categories, those categories

were not used for analysis within the demographics. However, the results were factored into the

overall aggregate to be used for the average of all participants. The categories that were not used

for the analysis of how education impacts biometrics acceptance were Associate Degree and

some college, no degree due to low representation. For the analysis of how different

employment categories impact acceptance of biometrics, the categories of self-employed,

homemaker, and student were not specifically considered. These categories were not used

because they had low representation and the researcher felt it would be an inaccurate

characterization for the category if there were only one or two participants due to the increased

impact of their responses. Also, while the qualitative results were helpful to support the

quantitative results, some of the answers were skewed due to the participants misunderstanding

of the purpose of the questions. There were some answers that did not belong with the question

such as locations when the question asked for situations. Additionally, some answers were not

considered because the participants wrote, “same as above” or “same as previous answer” which

would work if the researcher analyzed each participant’s responses separately. However, due to

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 52

the aggregate nature of the responses for analysis, those types of responses were not helpful

because the researcher had no way to reference the previous answers.

Through the study and subsequent analysis it was determined that education impacts the

acceptance of biometrics. Participants with Bachelor Degrees had an average answer that was

almost 10% less for question number 13 than the average answers from those with Masters

Degrees or Doctorate Degrees. Although all of the answers were less than 1.5, indicating

disproval, the results indicate that those participants with higher degrees are more accepting of

the possibility of biometrics being used for targeted advertising than the average participant. The

participants with Bachelor Degrees were at least 10% more receptive than the average to using

biometrics for workplace accountability through clocking in and for use by the government for

law enforcement or homeland security. Likewise, those with higher degrees were between 5%

and 22% less accepting of biometrics for those purposes. Additionally, those participants with

Bachelor Degrees were much more accepting of fingerprint and palm print biometrics than those

with higher degrees with more than 15% difference and an average score of 4.5 out of a possible

5 indicating high levels of comfort. Those participants that had higher degrees were less

accepting of biometrics than those that had lower degrees with those participants with Bachelor

Degrees having a 13% higher average answer than those participants with Doctorate degrees.

Conversely, experience with biometrics affects the acceptance of the technology in the

opposite way. Those participants that were very experienced with biometrics were more

accepting of the technology than those with less experience. The very experienced participants

were 22% more accepting of unannounced biometrics than those with less experience.

Additionally, the very experienced participants were more accepting of using biometrics for

logging into computers, boarding flights, using ATMs and were over 10% more comfortable of

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 53

iris scans than the other participants. However, the experienced participants were 10% less

accepting of using biometrics to replace passwords. Participants with no biometrics experience

were less accepting of biometrics than those with some experience or those that were very

experienced with an overall average answer that was 5% less than the other two groups. This

aligns with the research by Riley et al. that describes the relationship of familiarity with

biometrics and acceptance of the technology (2004). Surprisingly, the participants with no

biometrics experience were over 5% more accepting of palm print, facial scan, and vein pattern

recognition modalities than the overall average. However, they were over 10% less accepting of

using biometrics for screening individuals at public events and were less convinced that

biometrics improve convenience than those participants with some or a lot of experience with

biometrics.

The biometric modality being used also has an impact on acceptance. The more

traditional biometric modalities of fingerprint scan and palm print scan were determined to be

more acceptable by the participants with average answers of 4.2 and 4.1 respectively. These

modalities have an average answer between 12.5% and 22.5% higher than the other modalities of

iris scan, facial scan, and vein pattern recognition. It is believed that the reason there is a

difference in acceptance rate between modalities is because of comfort and recognition. Most

people have seen traditional fingerprint capture and many have probably had their fingerprints

taken before. Although, this modality requires contact with the device, it is more familiar to

many people than other modalities like vein pattern recognition. The researcher assumed iris

scan, facial scan, and vein pattern recognition averages are lower for two reasons. One reason is

that participants may be worried of health risks associated with using the technology and, as

previously mentioned, they are not as familiar with the modality as with fingerprints.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 54

There were subtle differences between males and females with biometrics acceptance.

However, they were very similar in their answers. This aligns with the research from “Are we

learning to love biometrics” which stated that men and women have similar acceptance rates as a

whole, but women were less willing to use advanced biometrics like eye scans and hand scans

(2008). Contrary to that research, the female participants in this study were about 5% more

accepting of iris scans than the male participants. However, females were significantly less

accepting of the other advanced biometric modalities, face scans and vein pattern recognition,

with a 12% and 7% lower acceptance rate than males. Additionally, the female participants were

less accepting of unannounced biometrics usage, using biometrics for boarding flights, and

clocking in for work than the male participants. However, the female participants were 5% more

accepting of biometrics usage for law enforcement or homeland security and for screening

individuals at public events than the male participants

Age of the participants was determined to have an impact on their acceptance of

biometrics. The participants between the ages of 45-54 years old were more accepting of

biometrics use for security and convenience functions like boarding flights, using ATMs,

clocking in for work, replacing passwords and screening individuals at public events.

Additionally, this age group was more accepting of advanced biometrics such as iris scans and

vein pattern recognition than other age groups. Conversely, the participants younger than 44

years old were significantly more accepting of having their biometrics stored in a government

database with answers between 35-55% higher than the participants older than 44 years old. The

participants over the age of 65 years old were consistently much less accepting of biometrics

with an average response over 22% less than other age groups. Although there were only four

participants over the age of 65 years old, the researcher determined to accept their responses as a

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 55

valid characterization of this demographic subset. While it has been determined that age does

impact acceptance, it is not a linear relationship where younger participants are more accepting

and older participants are less accepting. Instead, it varies based on age group and purpose of the

biometrics use. Additionally, over 71% of the participants were under 45 years old which could

impact the average response as that age group was more accepting of biometrics. This could

skew the results when comparing individual groups against the average response.

Employment status had some impact on the acceptance of biometrics. However, it is

believed that many of those impacts are related to other factors. Participants that were retired

were less accepting of biometrics than other participants. Over 75% of the individuals that were

65 years old or older were also retired. Therefore, many of the characteristics of that age group

could have been transposed on the retired subset. Military participants were more accepting of

having biometrics stored in a government databases and were more accepting of fingerprint

scans and palm print scans. These higher acceptance rates could be influenced by the military

participant’s experience with biometrics through operations and through access management.

The hypothesis which stated “there is no significant evidence that the trust that personal

information will be protected impacts acceptance of biometrics” (H1) was proven to be false.

The average acceptance rate of transmitting unencrypted biometrics was 75% lower than

transmitting encrypted biometrics. Additionally, the average acceptance rate of having

biometrics stored in a database that can be accessed by commercial companies was almost 58%

lower than the acceptance rate of having biometrics stored in a database which could only be

used for approved purposes such as law enforcement or homeland security. Also, when asked to

list unacceptable uses of biometrics, the participants overwhelmingly listed commercial uses and

other uses where the information would not be protected. These results indicate that American

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 56

citizens are concerned about their personal information and will have higher acceptance rates if

they trust their information will be protected.

The hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that the act of

socialization and public consultation prior to implementation impacts the acceptance of

biometric technology” (H2) was proven to be false. The average acceptance rate of the

participants that were notified three months in advance that biometrics would be implemented

was almost 48% higher than the average acceptance rate of not being notified in advance. The

hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that the age of an individual

has an impact on the acceptance of biometric technology” (H3) has been proven to be false.

While not a linear relationship, age does impact the acceptance of biometrics as referenced

above.

The hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that desirable

convenience features, such as the elimination of the need for passwords or expedited security

screening, have an impact on the acceptance of biometric technology” (H4) was proven to be

true. While there was some difference between convenience features and security features, it

was very small and determined to be insignificant. The average acceptance rate for using

biometrics to log into a computer or phone was 4.0, the use of biometrics to withdraw cash from

an ATM was 3.6, and the use of biometrics to replace passwords was 4.3. Similarly, the use of

biometrics to board a flight and to clock into work were both 3.7. There was only a 7%

difference between the convenience average acceptance rate of 4.0 and the other acceptance rate

of 3.7.

The hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that the use of

biometrics impact American citizens’ perception of security” (H5) was proven to be false. The

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 57

participants’ average answer was 4.1 when asked how much biometrics improve security. This

means that the participants believe that biometrics somewhat significantly improve security. The

hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that the increase in the level

of security impacts acceptance of biometric technology” (H6) was proven to be true.

The hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that the level of

education obtained by an individual impacts acceptance of biometric technology” (H7) was

proven to be false. As previously stated, those participants with higher levels of education had

lower acceptance rates of biometrics than those with lower levels of education. The hypothesis

that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that an individual’s gender impacts

acceptance of biometric technology” (H8) was proven to be inconclusive. Generally, gender

does not impact acceptance of biometrics as a whole. However, the genders do differ on

acceptance of different modalities.

The hypothesis that stated “there is no statistically significant evidence that the use of

different biometric modalities impacts acceptance of biometric technology” (H9) was proven to

be false. As previously stated, the advanced biometric modalities of iris scan, face scan and vein

pattern recognition had a lower acceptance rate than the other modalities of fingerprint scan and

palm print scan. The advanced biometrics had between 15% and 22% lower acceptance rates

than the other modalities.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 58

Summary

Through the literature review and survey, the study aimed to detail existing biometrics

modalities, biometrics uses, privacy concerns and mitigating actions to improve acceptance.

Additionally, the study was conducted to determine the overall acceptance of biometrics by

American citizens and factors that impact acceptance of the technology.

The study determined that there are several factors that impact acceptance of biometrics

including the type of modality used, the purpose of the biometric usage, and several demographic

characteristics. The literature review determined that factors such as physical contact with the

biometric device and experience with biometrics impact acceptance and comfort with the

technology. The survey captured significant data that was used to validate some of the

assumptions developed during the literature review and to test the hypotheses.

The study showed that American citizens were generally accepting of biometrics and

their use but that factors such as demographic characteristics and the purpose of the use could

impact the level of acceptance. Trust that personal information would be protected and that the

biometric data will be used for an acceptable purpose impacts acceptance of biometrics as does

prior notification that biometrics will be conducted. Age and education levels were also found to

have an impact on biometrics acceptance. However, convenience features of biometrics were

determined to have no effect on their acceptance rate. Convenience features were generally

ranked as generally acceptable, but there was little statistical data to show that the absence of

these features would decrease acceptance. The biometric modality used was also found to have

an impact on acceptance with the more standard modalities of fingerprint and palm print having

the highest acceptance rates.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 59

The knowledge gained during this study can be used to further improve acceptance and

implementation of biometrics technology. Understanding how different demographic features

impact acceptance as well as knowing acceptable and unacceptable uses of biometrics will be

beneficial in developing a roadmap for future developments.

.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 60

Recommendations

Leaders in the biometrics industry should focus on uses and modalities that are highly

acceptable to the public in order to increase their knowledge, understanding, and experience of

biometrics. Meanwhile, they should begin researching on how to legally capture, store, and

utilize biometrics for many purposes including homeland security, restricted space access, and

transportation screening while maintaining security during transmittal and storage. Based on the

literature review and the results of the survey, it is recommended that companies and

organizations research using highly acceptable modalities such as fingerprint or palm print scans

for computer/device access and restricted area access control then evaluate using advanced

modalities and expanding to other purposes. Additionally, companies and organizations would

benefit from an increased focus on security and an educational/public affairs campaign to

increase the understanding of biometrics and the security features that will protect the data.

Due to the expedited nature and small sample size used for this study, there should be

another, larger survey conducted to gather a better estimation of the attitudes and opinions of

American citizens. The survey would take the knowledge gained during this study to develop

better focused questions in order to determine how the current global climate and the influx of

technology in the daily lives of American citizens has impacted their views on biometrics. The

future survey should have considerable participation with industry and government organizations

involved in biometrics development and implementation in order to get the greatest benefit.

BIOMETRICS IN THE UNITED STATES 61

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Appendix A

Survey Questions

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Appendix B

Survey Summary

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School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

MS in Information Technology

The thesis for the master’s degree submitted by

Joshua D. Brandt

under the title

Biometrics In The United States: Balancing Privacy, Security, And Accessibility

has been read by the undersigned. It is hereby recommended for acceptance by the faculty with

credit to the amount of 3 semester hours.

(Signed, first reader) __________________________ (Date) ______________

(Signed, second reader, if required) _______________________ (Date) ______________

Recommend for approval on behalf of the program

(Signed) ______________________________ (Date) _______________

Recommendation accepted on behalf of the program director

(Signed) ______________________________ (Date) __________________

Approved by academic dean

Date ______________________

I, _Joshua D. Brandt_, owner of the copyright to the work known as _Biometrics in the United

States: Balancing Privacy, Security, and Accessibility_ hereby authorize

_____________________________ to use the following material as part of his/her thesis to be

submitted to American Public University System.

Page Line Numbers or Other Identification

_________________________________

Signature

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

4 March 2014

Dear Joshua Brandt,

The APUS IRB has reviewed and approved your application # 1-2014-6 (submitted 2/26/2014).

The approval covers one calendar year. Should you need an extension beyond the one year

timeframe, an extension request will have to be submitted. However, this does not mean your

research must be complete within the one year time frame. Should your research using human

subjects extend beyond the time covered by this approval, you will need to submit an extension

request to the IRB.

Sincerely,

Patricia J. Campbell

Chair, IRB

This capstone has been approved by Dr. Novadean Watson-Stone for submission, review, and

publication by the Online Library.

Author’s name: Joshua D. Brandt____________________________________________

Title: Biometrics in the United States: Balancing Privacy, Security, and Accessibility___

Professor: Dr. Novadean Watson-Stone_______________________________________

Second reader, if required: _________________________________________________

Program: Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Digital

Forensics_______________________________________________________

Pass with Distinction:

YES NO

Keywords/Descriptive Terms: biometrics, privacy, security, accessibility, technology

acceptance

[ ] Contains Security-Sensitive Information

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