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Click here for EDUC 499A, B, C Guidelines
1. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
a) Students not already in the Honors Program (as Track I or Track II) at the start of their junior year (or with 3 to 4 semesters remaining) must have a 3.50 cumulative GPA or higher to be eligible to begin a senior honors project as a Track III honors student.
b) Students must have a 3.25 GPA in the major in order to be eligible to write an honors thesis. Students must have a 3.25 in the major at the time they register for the A phase and they must maintain this 3.25 GPA while working on the honors thesis. The honors thesis advisor will verify that each student's GPA meets these requirements before allowing them to register for 499(A, B, C) each of three semesters. If a student's GPA falls below 3.25, his/her committee will review the student's progress on the thesis and reserves the right to terminate the thesis process at that point.
c) Ideally, students in teacher education programs should have completed EDUC 360 prior to beginning the thesis.
2. COMPOSITION OF COMMITTEES
a) 499A students must meet with the honors thesis coordinator no later than the first week of class to define their topic and establish a committee.
b) Because serving on an honors thesis committee requires a commitment for at least three semesters, only faculty in tenure, tenure track, or renewable term agreement positions shall be eligible to serve in this capacity. However, we encourage students to consult with those one-year/adjunct faculty members who have expertise relevant to the student's thesis.
c) Honors thesis committees are comprised of three faculty members. The chair must be a member of the College of Education possessing a terminal degree. No more than one member may be from outside the college.
d) The honors program liaison will serve as a resource in helping students select faculty members with expertise appropriate to the thesis topic. It is particularly important that the thesis advisor have methodological and substantive expertise that will allow the student to successfully complete his/her research. It is acceptable (and, in fact, often helpful) if one member of the committee does not have expertise in the subject and is able to view the material as an "outsider."
e) When honors students and thesis advisors initiate the thesis committee member selection process, they are responsible for notifying the appropriate honors program liaison. The program liaison will keep a record of theses assignments in order to provide thesis committee members updated information on honors program and policies and to monitor thesis committee members' obligations and opportunities to serve. The liaison will notify the Honors Program when a thesis advisor is identified.
a) Any incomplete received for one phase of the honors thesis course series (EDUC 499 A, B, C) must be completed by the time class begins for the next phase or the student will not be allowed to continue.
b) Barring extraordinary circumstances, students will not be allowed to take the A and B phase of the colloquium simultaneously.
c) EDUC 499 grades will be assigned by the thesis advisor in consultation with the committee.
4. CONTENT AND ORGANIZATION OF THE THESIS
Although theses will vary in precise structure and number of chapters, every thesis must contain the following sections:
a) Abstract: The title of the thesis must be followed by a one-paragraph (maximum 300 words) abstract that summarizes the research question, theoretical argument and/or hypotheses, research approach, and results.
b) Introduction: This section identifies the question the researcher is posing and explains why that question/problem is an important topic. The introduction should also provide a brief overview of the paper's structure.
c) Literature Review: This section summarizes all of the major theoretical contributions by researchers in this field. The purpose of the literature review is to demonstrate that the student has mastered the prevailing theories, and is familiar with how researchers measure, examine, or analyze the relevant concepts. A literature review is not a long string of direct quotations from various authors; rather, the student must demonstrate their own understanding of this material by summarizing, analyzing, comparing, organizing, and critiquing this work in their own words. It is particularly important to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, insight, and utility of current research on this topic, rather than simply reciting others' works. Are there gaps in the literature? Unresolved controversies? Poorly defined concepts? In short, a thorough literature review will not only describe but critically assess the current state of the literature. If the thesis involves an empirical test of hypotheses, these hypotheses must be justified based on this literature and formally stated in this section.
d) Research Design: The length and precise content of this section will vary based on the nature of the research question being posed. However, this section must specify in detail the methods the student will use to investigate the research question. The thesis is not a book report. The student must make an original contribution to the discipline, and this requires having a research question that can be tested or evaluated in a systematic manner. This section details those systematic methods. For empirical theses, this involves specifying the operational measures of each variable, data sources, and statistical techniques (or qualitative methods), and evaluating the reliability/validity of key measures and the internal and external validity of the overall design. Qualitative methods will include use of triangulation and established procedures for specific qualitative designs such as case studies, phenomenology, ethnography, etc. For normative theses, this involves specifying the analytical methods, sources, and standards of evidence the student will employ to answer a theoretical question, prove the credibility of a particular interpretation, or examine and test a new understanding of a specific text, concept or principle.
e) Analysis: One chapter will present the results of the data analysis, case studies, or application of the model/theory. For normative theses, at least one chapter should focus on drawing reasoned conclusions based on the theoretical analysis of the question raised. This might involve the recognition of more than one credible interpretation. The parameters for this analysis should be clearly established in the preceding section (research design). Students must follow the requirements of the Honors College and the preferences of their thesis committee regarding the display of tables and figures, if these are to be used.
f) Conclusions: This section summarizes the results of the analysis and discusses the implications of these findings. Where relevant, students should tie their findings back to the theoretical arguments and controversies highlighted in the literature review. Depending on the research topic and methods used, the conclusions section may include conditional forecasts, suggestions for further research, or policy recommendations.
g) References: The bibliography will only contain works actually cited in the thesis. It must demonstrate a thorough review of the literature.
5. OVERLAP BETWEEN THE THESIS PROJECT AND OTHER CLASSWORK
a) Students may not turn in, for credit in other classes, portions of the thesis that are substantially unaltered.
b) Students may, with the permission of their thesis adviser and the professor teaching the course in question, turn in for course credit material that is related to the thesis project but differs substantially from the material contained in the thesis. For example, a senior seminar student may do a paper on the same general topic as their honors thesis, but must undertake a substantially different literature review (with a different focus than the thesis), develop new hypotheses, and conduct new data analysis.
6. GRAMMAR AND STYLE
a) All work must be edited before being submitted to the student's thesis committee.
b) The thesis is a formal project. Therefore, students will spell out numbers under ten, avoid contractions, and make sure all sentences are complete.
c) Any tables, charts, or figures reproduced in the paper must include information about the original source within the table/chart/figure. Similarly, if the student produces tables, charts, or figures on their own, any data source used to create these items must be cited as part of the table/chart/figure.
d) Unless otherwise specified by the student's committee, the citation style in the thesis must conform to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed. (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001).
7. GENERAL RESEARCH GUIDELINES
a) Because the purpose of the literature review is to portray the state of research on the topic, it will consist primarily of academic sources. An academic source is a book or article whose primary audience is academics, rather than the general public. (This typically means articles that appear in peer-reviewed journals and books published in academic or other scholarly presses). Magazines, newspapers, and books written by non-academics are not considered academic sources. A dataset is not an academic source, in that it contains no theory or analysis. Datasets must be cited in the references according to the preferences of their copyright holders.
b) Students should know the identity and qualifications of all persons cited in their thesis. Further, persons cited in the thesis should possess the appropriate qualifications for whatever claim they are making. While using the internet is an acceptable strategy for conducting research, students must adhere to the same rules for other sources when using the internet. This means that websites hosted by unknown individuals, such as Wikipedia, will not be cited, or used, in a thesis.
c) It is not appropriate to use the works of one author to summarize the work of another author. Rather than relying on Gordon Ziniewicz's characterization of John Dewey's research, for example, the student should read Dewey and cite the original work. Thesis chairs may consider exceptions if the work is obscure and unavailable, not in English, or otherwise unobtainable by the student.
 "Original contributions to the discipline" could include (but are not limited to): testing an existing theory using new data, measures, or cases; synthesizing existing theories to create a new theoretical framework and then testing hypotheses drawn from this new framework; examining a fresh interpretation of a specific text, concept or principle.