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How to Write an Honors Thesis By: Kristin Taylor, Chelsea Bullock, Kindall Scarborough & Lawrence Moore.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Write an Honors Thesis By: Kristin Taylor, Chelsea Bullock, Kindall Scarborough & Lawrence Moore."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Write an Honors Thesis By: Kristin Taylor, Chelsea Bullock, Kindall Scarborough & Lawrence Moore

2 Group Activity Take 3 minutes to create a plan of action for how to write your thesis using the provided topic.

3 Group Activity Select a member from your group to explain your plan in 30 to 60 seconds.

4 How do I Begin? The 3 Cs to Starting an Honors Thesis: 1.) Create a Topic. 2.) Choose an Advisor. 3.) Complete a Thesis Proposal Form & Formal Proposal.

5 Creating a Topic Brainstorming Brainstorming Make a list of possible topics that you might want to explore. Make a list of possible topics that you might want to explore. You can narrow down these ideas later. You can narrow down these ideas later. Talk with your faculty advisor. Talk with your faculty advisor.

6 Creating a Topic Explore topics within your major. Explore topics within your major. Example: If you are a Literature major, dont create a hypothesis on why you think the native African elephant is going extinct. Example: If you are a Literature major, dont create a hypothesis on why you think the native African elephant is going extinct. Take courses that will broaden your knowledge base concerning possible thesis topics. Take courses that will broaden your knowledge base concerning possible thesis topics.

7 Creating a Topic Pick a topic that interests you. Pick a topic that interests you. If you arent engaged in your topic, others wont be either. If you arent engaged in your topic, others wont be either.

8 Creating a Topic Make sure your thesis is do-able. Make sure your thesis is do-able. Dont choose a topic that will take more time to finish the thesis than is given. Dont choose a topic that will take more time to finish the thesis than is given. A successful thesis poses an interesting question you can actually answer within the time available for the project (Lipson 72).

9 Creating a Topic When should I begin thinking about a topic? When should I begin thinking about a topic? Get started early! Get started early! It is recommended that the Honor student enroll in HONS 4001 OR HONS 4002 the first semester of his/her senior year in order to have plenty of time to research, write, and defend the thesis (Honors Handbook). It is recommended that the Honor student enroll in HONS 4001 OR HONS 4002 the first semester of his/her senior year in order to have plenty of time to research, write, and defend the thesis (Honors Handbook). Students should also use Honors Contracts as an opportunity to explore possible thesis topics. Students should also use Honors Contracts as an opportunity to explore possible thesis topics.

10 Choosing an Advisor Make sure you know your advisor. Make sure you know your advisor. Youll want to choose an advisor who you are comfortable working with (Lipson 17). Youll want to choose an advisor who you are comfortable working with (Lipson 17). Its a good tip to have taken a class with the professor of whom you want to be your advisor. Its a good tip to have taken a class with the professor of whom you want to be your advisor. As Dr. Hunt noted in her interview, faculty advisors are helping you as a favor! As Dr. Hunt noted in her interview, faculty advisors are helping you as a favor!

11 Choosing an Advisor Make sure your advisor is knowledgeable. Make sure your advisor is knowledgeable. Although your adviser might not be an authority concerning the specific topic you choose for your thesis, he/she should still be an expert in your area of interest (Lipson 17). Although your adviser might not be an authority concerning the specific topic you choose for your thesis, he/she should still be an expert in your area of interest (Lipson 17). A faculty member in the students major will serve as advisor of the thesis (Honors Handbook). A faculty member in the students major will serve as advisor of the thesis (Honors Handbook).

12 Completing a Thesis Proposal Form What is a thesis proposal form? What is a thesis proposal form? A Thesis Proposal Form is a form that you must fill out before beginning your thesis stating what your topic is, and it must be signed by the student, the thesis advisor, and the Honors Program Coordinator (Honors Handbook). A Thesis Proposal Form is a form that you must fill out before beginning your thesis stating what your topic is, and it must be signed by the student, the thesis advisor, and the Honors Program Coordinator (Honors Handbook).

13 Completing a Formal Proposal What is a Formal Proposal? What is a Formal Proposal? A Formal Proposal is a 5 to 20 page proposal about your thesis. A Formal Proposal is a 5 to 20 page proposal about your thesis.

14 Completing a Formal Proposal Your formal proposal should answer questions such as: Your formal proposal should answer questions such as: What is my topic? What is my topic? What do I plan to discuss in my thesis? What do I plan to discuss in my thesis? How is it interesting? How is it interesting? How does it relate to my field of interest? How does it relate to my field of interest? Do I need to give a brief history of my topic? Do I need to give a brief history of my topic? Have I included a works consulted? Have I included a works consulted? How does my thesis fit in to the discussion of scholars? How does my thesis fit in to the discussion of scholars?

15 Research Managing Time, Sources, and Scope Managing Time, Sources, and Scope START EARLY! START EARLY! While researching your chosen topic of interest, you may always expand and contract your focus as needed. While researching your chosen topic of interest, you may always expand and contract your focus as needed.

16 How Do I Begin? Your thesis advisor will be able to help you find initial sources and provide guidelines of authors to read and avoid. Your thesis advisor will be able to help you find initial sources and provide guidelines of authors to read and avoid.

17 Scope Follow the bibliography trail. Follow the bibliography trail. Keep notes about each source. Keep notes about each source. Create citations as you go along. Create citations as you go along. Saturation Point Saturation Point

18 Sources Maximize your thesis advisor as a resource. Trust his/her judgment on source credibility. Maximize your thesis advisor as a resource. Trust his/her judgment on source credibility. Google versus Galileo Google versus Galileo ILL and GIL ILL and GIL

19 Time Commitment Research is the most time-consuming element of the thesis-writing process. Research is the most time-consuming element of the thesis-writing process. Make sure you pick a topic that will keep you interested. Make sure you pick a topic that will keep you interested.

20 Writing the Thesis Key to Success: Do not procrastinate! Key to Success: Do not procrastinate!

21 Organizing Your Ideas The Dr. Hunt Method The Dr. Hunt Method Group information according to major and minor topics. Group information according to major and minor topics. Use this grouping to form an outline. Use this grouping to form an outline. Write the easiest section, the next easiest, etc. Write the easiest section, the next easiest, etc. More research may be necessary to fill in gaps. More research may be necessary to fill in gaps.

22 Remembering Your Audience Who is my audience? Who is my audience? People in your discipline People in your discipline Helpful Hint: Write to your thesis advisor. Helpful Hint: Write to your thesis advisor.

23 Beginning to Write Remember that the CSU Writing Center can help you in all stages of your thesis-writing experience.

24 Literature Review Not all thesis advisors will require you to write a literature review. Not all thesis advisors will require you to write a literature review. Specifics Vary by discipline. Specifics Vary by discipline.

25 Literature Review What is a literature review? What is a literature review? Informs your reader of what other people have written regarding your topic Informs your reader of what other people have written regarding your topic Lets your reader know where your idea fits into the existing scholarly conversation Lets your reader know where your idea fits into the existing scholarly conversation First section you will write First section you will write

26 Organizing Your Text May vary from discipline to discipline May vary from discipline to discipline Example methods Example methods Continuous, running text Continuous, running text Heading and sub-headings Heading and sub-headings Consult your thesis advisor. Consult your thesis advisor.

27 Keeping a Manageable Workload Be honest with yourself about your work habits. Be honest with yourself about your work habits. You may want to set artificial deadlines with your thesis advisor. You may want to set artificial deadlines with your thesis advisor. Divide the bulk of the writing into small doable projects (Lipson 26). Divide the bulk of the writing into small doable projects (Lipson 26).

28 Avoiding Plagiarism When in doubt, cite! When in doubt, cite! How do I cite? How do I cite? MLA, APA, Turabian (Chicago), et cetera MLA, APA, Turabian (Chicago), et cetera Speak with your advisor about which style is appropriate for your discipline. Speak with your advisor about which style is appropriate for your discipline. Why do I cite? Why do I cite? To protect yourself and your ideas To protect yourself and your ideas To protect others and their ideas To protect others and their ideas

29 Avoiding Plagiarism General Guidelines General Guidelines If you use an authors exact words, enclose them in quotation marks and include a citation [...] (Lipson 47). If you use an authors exact words, enclose them in quotation marks and include a citation [...] (Lipson 47). If you paraphrase another author, use your own language. Dont imitate the original. Be sure to include the citation (47). If you paraphrase another author, use your own language. Dont imitate the original. Be sure to include the citation (47). If you rely on or report someone elses ideas, credit their source, whether you agree with them or not (47). If you rely on or report someone elses ideas, credit their source, whether you agree with them or not (47).

30 Avoiding Plagiarism If you still have questions about plagiarism or source citation, check out the Resources for Writers section of the CSU Writing Center website.

31 Length Requirements According to the Honors Handbook, [t]he length of the thesis will vary according to the nature of the discipline [...] (11). According to the Honors Handbook, [t]he length of the thesis will vary according to the nature of the discipline [...] (11). Sciences: 25 to 35 pages Sciences: 25 to 35 pages Humanities, Business, and Social Sciences: Humanities, Business, and Social Sciences: 40 to 60 pages

32 The Revision Process Editing vs. Revision Editing vs. Revision Editing focuses on lower-order concerns. Editing focuses on lower-order concerns. Revision focuses on higher-order concerns. Revision focuses on higher-order concerns. Revision is a cyclical process. Revision is a cyclical process.

33 The Defense The Purpose of the Defense The Purpose of the Defense Allows you to present and defend your paper to several faculty members Allows you to present and defend your paper to several faculty members Preparation for the graduate school thesis process Preparation for the graduate school thesis process

34 The Defense Preparing for the Defense Preparing for the Defense Have your advisors approval before the defense. Have your advisors approval before the defense. Anticipate questions that faculty may ask. Anticipate questions that faculty may ask. Expect to be asked, What is your main argument or main idea? Expect to be asked, What is your main argument or main idea? Prepare responses to possible criticism. Prepare responses to possible criticism.

35 One-Semester Thesis It is possible! It is possible! Necessitates a tighter schedule Necessitates a tighter schedule Condensing a one-year process into one semester Condensing a one-year process into one semester Organize your class load accordingly. Organize your class load accordingly. Speak with professors (potential thesis advisors) in the weeks before the semester begins about using work completed in previous classes to jumpstart your thesis. Speak with professors (potential thesis advisors) in the weeks before the semester begins about using work completed in previous classes to jumpstart your thesis.

36 Final Thoughts Your support network Your support network Your thesis advisor wants to see you succeed. Your thesis advisor wants to see you succeed. Connect with other students who are writing their theses. Connect with other students who are writing their theses. Maximize your resources. Maximize your resources. CSU Writing Center CSU Writing Center Libraries Libraries

37 Works Cited Works Cited Works Cited Gibson, Danna. Personal interview. 20 March 2007. Gibson, Danna. Personal interview. 20 March 2007. Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Learner. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. 2nd ed. Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Learner. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. 2nd ed. New York: Longman, 2003. New York: Longman, 2003. Honors Handbook. CSU Honors Program, June 2004. Honors Handbook. CSU Honors Program, June 2004. Hunt, Barbara. Personal interview. 2 March 2007. Hunt, Barbara. Personal interview. 2 March 2007. Lipson, Charles. How to Write a BA Thesis: A Practical Guide from Your First Ideas to Lipson, Charles. How to Write a BA Thesis: A Practical Guide from Your First Ideas to Your Finished Paper. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005. Your Finished Paper. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005. Young, Shana. Personal interview. 29 January 2007. Young, Shana. Personal interview. 29 January 2007.

38 This PowerPoint presentation was created by Kristin Taylor, Chelsea Bullock, Kindall Scarborough & Lawrence Moore in partial fulfillment of the requirements of ENGL 3256, Columbus State Universitys tutor-training course. It is our goal that this presentation arms students with the information and resources they need to fulfill the requirements of the Honors Thesis, while also raising awareness about the valuable services offered to students by the CSU Writing Center.


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