This semester, you will settle on a topic for your senior thesis, learn the basics of research design, develop a research design, a working bibliography, a timeline for the second semester, write a thesis proposal, collect all necessary data for your thesis, and begin writing the middle section of your thesis. The intent is to do all preparation necessary to complete your thesis during the spring semester.
The point of writing a thesis in conjunction with this seminar is to reap the benefits of going through the process with your peers with the structure that the course schedule provides. I will insist that you dedicate yourself to your project, but I also expect that this will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for you.
You will each be required to find a faculty member to serve as your thesis advisor who specializes in your area of interest. If you have already made a connection with a faculty member who has agreed to advise your thesis—fantastic. If not, you should immediately begin seeking out a faculty member who does work in your area of interest. You will each turn in a thesis advising agreement form during the fifth week of class that will serve as a contract between you, your substantive advisor, and myself. My role in your thesis adventure is to guide you through the process of designing a research project, conducting the research, and writing the thesis. (This is slightly different than the “second reader” role described in the Lipson book.)
Requirements: The main requirement of this seminar is an approximately 75 page senior thesis that you will turn in the last day of class in May 2015. (You will agree upon a length with your substantive advisor.) During spring semester, you will also be required to participate in either the L&S Honors Program Senior Honors Thesis Symposium or the Undergraduate Symposium. For this semester, you will complete a thesis proposal, a pre-writing of your results, and a timeline for the second semester. In addition, you will provide constructive critiques of the work of other seminar participants. See the calendar below for more details.
You should plan on completing all necessary data collection by the beginning of the second semester. In the past, many students have used winter break to conduct interviews, archival research or fieldwork in the United States or abroad, and other data-gathering activities.