How to write a Thesis proposal template

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Published Date:01-07-2017
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THINKING THESIS GUIDEBOOK Honors College Thesis Requirements There are several forms that need to be completed along the way. They are as listed: 1 Honors Mentor Declaration Form 2 Thesis Proposal 3 Thesis Completion Form Here is an example timetable for a two semester Thesis done over the course of Senior Year. THESIS STEP DATES FOR SPRING DATES FOR A THESIS FALL THESIS st Honors Mentor Declaration 1st Friday in May 1 Friday in December Form Do Preliminary Research May-September January Meet with Honors Mentor During Fall Semester During Spring Semester weekly/bi-weekly nd nd Thesis Proposal 2 Friday in October 2 Friday in March Outline and Annotated Friday before Finals Friday before Finals Bibliography Continue Research and Start October-January March-June Writing st Completed 1 Draft February September Completed Final Draft By the end of March By the end of October Present and Defend Thesis During April During November st Thesis Completion Form Last Friday in April 1 Friday in December Bolded Item must be turned into the Honors Office on South in O’Leary 300 or the mailbox on North Campus in Southwick 308 If you need to deviate from this two-semester thesis guideline you need to contact either Elizabeth Donaghey or Jim Canning. How to Pick an Honors Mentor Picking a Honors Mentor can be an intimidating task, but don’t get discouraged if the first person you ask says no. It is better to have a fully committed faculty member on your side than someone who is too busy to give you the time you need. The following are guidelines to help you successfully choose an Honors Mentor. 1 Be proactive in your search. It is your responsibility to reach out and connect with faculty in your department in order to find the best match for you 2 Do your research on faculty. a Does he/she answer emails/phone calls in a timely manner? b Will he/she be available during breaks? c Has he/she been an Honors Mentor before? d Is he/she an expert in the part of the field you want to research? e Are his/her work habits compatible with your own? f Take a class with him/her. 3 Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, schedule a meeting to discuss: a Ideas for a topic b Expectations of thesis content and structure c How it will be defended d How often will you meet for advising If you find someone who can’t fulfill the time requirements but is an expert in the research you will be doing ask him or her to be a committee member. (Foss and Waters 2007) How to Pick a Topic Deciding on a topic is possibly the most difficult part of doing research. If you're not sure how to start, talk with your professor, ask a librarian, or follow these steps to get started on your own. Our research librarians suggest these steps: 1 Think about a topic that will keep your interest. 2 Do some background reading from a textbook or subject encyclopedia. 1 Narrow your topic to something manageable. You may need to rework it several times as you research. 4 Once you have an idea, write it out as a sentence or question about your chosen subject. From your chosen sentence or question choose key words to use to search for more information on the subject. 5 Use the library databases and catalogs to get more information on your topic. For more great information and help on picking a topic go to our library’s site: Steps to Writing a Thesis Proposal Researching Before you start writing a proposal you must have done your research. You need to be able to have a refined topic to propose and know what questions you want to attempt to answer through your research. Format of the completed Proposal Cover Page The cover page should have its own sheet of paper and should have the following information centered in the middle of the page. ● Title ● Name ● UMS ● Honors Mentor Name ● Department Introduction This should be where explain your what you plan on researching. You need to clearly explain your topic and the questions that you plan on answering. You should have at least two to three paragraphs in the introduction. Brief Description of Materials, Methods, Products, and Presentation This section should include three to four paragraphs explaining what your thesis will consist of and explain what the final Thesis or Project will include. For example you might explain how it will include a written paper along with a working model of the design that you engineered. You can also outline items you will need in order to complete your product. You should also mention what how you will go about completing the thesis. This is where you also mention where and how you plan on presenting your thesis. Timeline This should outline meetings with professors, due dates, presentation dates, and any other milestones along the way. The outline should be almost one page long. Annotated Bibliography Here you need to list at least 5 sources and write a few sentences about how you plan on using each one. Here is an example: Cleveland, Barry. “Features: Recording - Trevor Rabin.” Guitar Player. February 2009. Vol.43, Iss. 2: p.42. 29 April 2009. This article gives great ideas for unique miking techniques. I can use some of these ideas in the recording process in order to get slightly different sounding recordings. This also gives some great ideas on how to best pick up acoustic string instruments that I will consider while recording the violas. Resources UMass Lowell Library Databases- UMass Lowell Library Research Resources- Good place to get ideas on other Resources- Qualitative vs. Quantitative- Part Three Research If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? Albert Einstein Librarians If you don’t know where to begin your research you should visit the either O’Leary Library or Lydon Library. There are research librarians at each library that can be a great resource for you whether you are just starting your research or if you get stuck and need some new ideas. Here is a list of the librarians by campus: North Campus: Business Donna Mullin 978-934-4579 Accounting, Business, Computer Science, Management, MIS, RESD Engineering and Sciences Margaret Manion 978-934-3211 Civil, Chemical, Electrical Environmental, Industrial, Mechanical, Nano-manufacturing, Nuclear, Plastics, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics Mathematics, Earth Science, Environment, Polymer Science South Campus: Social Sciences Rosanna Kowalewski 978-934-4580 Education, Psychology, Sociology Ronald Karr 978-934-4590 History, Political Science, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, American Studies, Census, Religion Arts and Humanities Richard Slapsys 978-934-4593 Music, Art, English, Philosophy, Film Studies, Language Health Sara Marks 978-934-4581 Health, Nursing, Medicine, Work Environment Database guide The library also has a plethora of resources that explain the databases that they offer to you for free. They are always adding and refining them so check their site for the latest ones. (To access the full links please find the Thinking Thesis Guidebook online at ● Art, Film, & Music ○ Graphic Artists Guild ○ Masters of Photography ○ ArtOnline ○ Netlibrary ○ Academic Search-Use this index to find critical reviews of historic or current films and movies. ○ Naxos Music Library- An on-line library of more than 75,000 tracks of music from the catalog of Naxos, a leading classical music label, and selected additional labels ○ Oxford Music Online ● Biology ○ Biological Sciences- Best database for biological information. Includes "Deep indexing" providing graphs, charts and diagrams from articles ○ ScienceDirect- Full text of about 2000 Elsevier journals from 1995- ● Business ○ Business & Company Resource Center (Gale - Infotrac)- Business and Company Resource Center is a fully integrated resource bringing together company profiles, brand information, SWOT, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies and periodicals. ○ Business Source Premier - Enhanced Company Information- Business searching interface. Includes Company Profiles, Country Reports, Industry Profiles, Magazines, Market Research Reports, SWOT Analyses, Trade Journals, Working Papers ● Chemistry ○ ChemNetBase- Collection of major chemical handbooks with properties and references to literature ○ Knovel-database of over 900 e-books, with many chemistry and chemical property manuals ● Computer Science ○ UML E-Journal List- Search this list by journal name to see if we have access to a specific article you need. ○ Scopus- World’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research ● Criminal Justice ○ LexisNexis Academic - Choose "Legal Research" for full text access to U.S. and State codes of law; Supreme Court, Federal, State, and some lower court opinions; law review articles; and government news. ○ THOMAS: Legislative Information on the Internet - makes available a wide range of federal legislative information starting in 1989 (101st Congress). For legislative histories use the Legislation, Congressional Record andCommittee Information databases. ○ Massachusetts Attorney General- Official website with informational links in the area of consumer protection, fraud, civil rights violations, health care, crime victims and insurance issues. ○ Bureau of Justice Statistics ● Earth Science ○ Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules- Three-dimensional models of minerals, elements and chemical compounds ○ One Geology- International open-source online resource sharing world geologic information ○ EngNetBaseGeology- 21 books and texts on Geological topics ● Economics ○ ABI/Inform combined search (Proquest)- Search all three mostly full-text ABI/INFORM business, finance, and management databases ○ EconLit (Ebsco)- The American Economic Association’s electronic database, world’s foremost source of references to economic literature. The database contains more than 785,000 records from 1969-present. EconLit covers virtually every area related to economics ● Education ○ Education Acronyms & Glossaries- Education acronyms and glossaries for specialized terms used in different aspects of education. ○ EducatiON-Line- A free British database of full text conference papers, working papers and electronic literature supporting educational research, policy and practice ○ Free Education E-Journals- Aera's compilation of links to free online journals ● Engineering ○ SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts)- SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts and Medline) are now available on the web ○ Compendex PLUS- Contains over 9 million bibliographic records and abstracts plus references to over 5,000 international engineering sources including journal, conference, and trade publications ○ IEEExplore- Electrical- IEEE publications including journals, conference proceedings, and standards ○ Engineering Village (incl. Compendex)- Major engineering index which cover all areas of engineering ○ Wiley- Covers approximately 400 engineering and science journals from 1996 to present ○ Polymer Library- Major rubber and plastics database ○ OVID- Medical database, useful for any medical or health aspects of engineering ○ Science Direct- Scientific, medical and technical information online from over 1,200 full-text, peer-reviewed journals along with hundreds of book series, handbooks and reference works ● Health/Nursing ○ Portal to the Web sites of a number of multi-agency health initiatives and activities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other Federal departments and agencies ○ The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine- Includes information on more than 1,600 medical disorders and concepts. Each article includes in-depth discussion of causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, procedures, and other related topics. Written for a general audience with an authoritative tone. ○ The Medpedia Project-The Medpedia wiki is a collaborative encyclopedia and resource for information about health, medicine and the body ● History ○ AdAccess (Ad images 1911-1955)- The AdAccess Project, funded by the Duke Endowment "Library 2000" Fund, presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. AdAccess concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II, providing a coherent view of a number of major campaigns and companies. ○ American Memory Project- American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning. ● Literature & Foreign Language ○ Literature Resource Center- Find biographical and critical essays on major authors. SEARCH by author name or title of the literary work ○ Academic OneFile- When using author and title as your search terms be sure to check the SUBJECT radio button. SEARCH STRATEGY: Hemingway and bell tolls ○ Online Literary Criticism - The ipl2 Literary Criticism Collection contains critical & biographical websites about authors & their works browsable by author, by title, or by nationality & literary period. ● Mathematics ○ Integer Sequences- Encyclopedia which features all integer sequences ○ Polyhedra Encyclopedia- Encylopedia of shapes, with graphics ○ Mathematical Physics Preprints- Free website with full-text of papers in mathematical physics ● News & Current events ○ New York Times (historical)- Searchable from 1851 up to 2006. Retrieves the picture of the article as it originally appeared in print ○ Newspaper map- 10000+ online newspapers in the world, translate with one click ○ Lexis Nexis (News)- Search hundreds of media including national and regional newspapers, magazines, wire services, and transcripts. Highlights: New York Times from 1980 to date; Washington Post from 1977 to date; National Public Radio from 1992 to date ● Philosophy ○ Sage eReference- Search across 50 encyclopedias and 80 handbooks. ○ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ○ Western Philosophy- The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy ● Physics ○ Compendex- Engineering database with much good material in fields related to physics. Includes good indexing for IEEE materials. Links available via Engineering Direct to full content of Elsevier journals. ○ IEEE Explore (IEL)- This service indexes all IEEE journals, conference proceedings and IEEE standards. We have FULL-TEXT access to everything in this database. Back files are being added by the publisher and will be part of our subscription. ● Political Science ○ Ageline- Focuses on issues and concerns of the elderly. E.g. Medicare, nursing homes, AARP lobbying, etc. ○ America History & Life- Find articles relating to historical political events and issues, e.g. McCarthyism, presidential election, US foreign policies, etc. ○ CQ Researcher- Valuable because this resource give you the Pro and Con positions regarding many issues. ● Psychology ○ PsycInfo- Search for topics such as: Disabilities and attitudes; disabilities and "self image"; "learning disabilities", etc. ○ Medline- Use Medline when a behavior has a biological basis e.g. schizophrenia; involves drug therapy e.g. ADHD, or results in medical treatment e.g. risk taking resulting in injury ○ Cultural Studies- Articles & bibliographies that combine sociology, literary theory, film/video studies, and cultural anthropology to study cultural phenomena in industrial societies ○ Human Rights Library ○ International Text Archive- Provides access to full text material dealing with sociological issues Interlibrary loan Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows users to request that books or journal articles not available at the University Libraries be borrowed from other libraries. ILL services are available at both Lydon and O'Leary Libraries. Although the best method for discovering and requesting books is WorldCat Local. The Massachusetts Virtual Catalog (MAVC) is another method to find and request material. If you already know what source you want it is best to use ILLiad to request the book or article you want. Most requests are filled in 2-14 days, but depending on the availability of the material requested more time might be necessary. Most loans can be kept for about 3-4 weeks, but each institution that you borrow from determines its own policy. Grammar The following Grammar Guidelines for effective writing were found on the following website: These rules outline basic yet critical guidelines for structuring the sentences of written document. Be sure to keep these tips in mind for when writing the Honors College Thesis. The website listed above also provides other grammar/writing tips that will assist students in their writing adventures. Rule 1 Use concrete rather than vague language. Vague: The weather was of an extreme nature on the west coast. Concrete: California had very cold weather last week. Rule 2 Use active voice whenever possible. Active voice means the subject is performing the verb. Active: Barry hit the ball. Passive: The ball was hit. Notice that the responsible party may not even appear when using passive voice. Rule 3 Avoid overusing there is, there are, it is, it was, and so on. Example: There is a case of meningitis that was reported in the newspaper. Correction: A case of meningitis was reported in the newspaper. Even better: The newspaper reported a case of meningitis. (Active voice) Example: It is important to signal before making a left turn. Correction: Signaling before making a left turn is important. OR Signaling before a left turn is important. OR You should signal before making a left turn. (Active voice) Example: There are some revisions which must be made. Correction: Some revisions must be made. Even better: Please make some revisions. (Active voice) Rule 4 To avoid confusion, don't use two negatives to make a positive. Incorrect: He is not unwilling to help. Correct: He is willing to help. Rule 5 Use similar grammatical form when offering several ideas. This is called parallel construction. Correct: You should check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Incorrect: You should check your spelling, grammar, and punctuating. Rule 6 If you start a sentence with an action, place the actor immediately after or you will have created the infamous dangling modifier. Incorrect: While walking across the street, the bus hit her. Correct: While walking across the street, she was hit by a bus. OR She was hit by a bus while walking across the street. Rule 7 Place modifiers near the words they modify. Incorrect: I have some pound cake Mollie baked in my lunch bag. Correct: In my lunch bag, I have some pound cake that Mollie baked. Rule 8 A sentence fragment occurs when you have only a phrase or weak clause but are missing a strong clause. Example of Sentence Fragment: After the show ended. Example of Sentence: After the show ended, we had coffee. If you need help writing a technical thesis, the library has some good resources on their site at Format and Style Most students will likely be familiar with the particular style they will be writing in, e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. An individual thesis or project will be written in the style preferred by the student’s department. If any students have questions regarding which format and citation style to use for their theses, they should defer to the judgment of their Honors Mentor. The following website contains various sources of on how to use, format, and cite with the various style standards. A student’s Honors Mentor will determine the specific writing format of the paper. An Honors Thesis or Project is designed to be a substantial professional paper or product that reflects your knowledge, research, and experience of a particular topic. A simple trick is to format a thesis in the style that other professionals in that field publish their research in. It may also be of some help to see the final written products of other Honors students of a particular department. Copies of previous Honors Theses are available in the Honors Office in O’Leary 300A for viewing. Preparing Preparing for your presentation is crucial to proper execution. 1. Decide how you will be presenting. There are many way you can present your thesis and research, from a small, personalized presentation to presenting at a larger venue at UMass Lowell or at another presentation convention. Different departments may have their own research symposiums, as well as other universities, such as UMass Amherst, which hosts an annual Honors Symposium. Discuss with your Honors Mentor or someone in the Honors Office to decide what works best for you presentation wise. Be sure to coordinate with your Honors Mentor, committee members, and someone from the honors office so that the defense panel can attend your presentation. 2. Take some time deciding how you will format your presentation. Will you be utilizing a PowerPoint? Do you want visual aids? Will you be reading your paper? Discuss these questions with your Honors Mentor if you are not sure how best to format your presentation. 3. Check to see if there are any limiting factors. For instance, do you have a time limit for the presentation? Establish a time minimum as well, and construct your presentation. 4. Look for feedback. Do mock presentations in front of your Honors Mentor, other professors, friends or family. Talk to other Honors Students who are working on their presentation and offer support and advice for each other. Get others opinions on your presentation and use feedback to fine-tune your work before presentation. 5. Practice. Practice. Practice. Rehearse your presentation until you are totally comfortable with the material you are presenting. Then practice some more. Know that you may be asked questions, so be prepared to diverge from your presentation script if questions are asked. 6. Most importantly, remember to be confident. You already wrote your thesis, and you have done all the research at this point. You should know the material backwards and forwards. As long as you give yourself adequate time to fully prepare for a presentation, try not to panic about presenting your thesis. You have the support of your Honors Mentor, committee members, and the honors staff who believe in your performance. Use your presentation to show how hard you have worked on your Honors Thesis What to wear Dress for your thesis presentation does not need to be overly fancy or complicated business casual is best. Make sure the day of your presentation you are clean and well put together. Tips for Public Speaking 1. Know your material. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say. 2. Practice. Practice. Practice Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary and work to control filler words. Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected. 3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers. 4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids. 5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. ("One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm. 6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confidant. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence. 7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you. 8. Don’t apologize. Do not apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it. 9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience. 10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment. Visual Aides Keep your visual aids: ● Visible ● Simple ● Colorful, but don't let them upstage you ● Justified by the content not too many or too few slides For effective PowerPoint shows: ● Don't read the slides to your audience ● Make your text large. ● Choose colors that make the text easier to read. ● Use bullet points instead of full sentences. ● Don't let the text or graphics fly around too much. ● Avoid charts and diagrams that are hard to see. Most Importantly - Remember, you control the presentation; don’t let it control you. PowerPoint should be a “visual aid” – not the entire show. Final turn in of the Completed Thesis 1. Thesis Completion From 2. Formatted Title Page (as shown in the appendix) 3. Thesis Content 4. Appendices (if applicable) All of these things should be clean copies. They should not be stapled, hole-punched, on colored paper (except for the thesis completion form), or have any grading marks on them. The Format of the Title Page for the Commonwealth Honors College Thesis By John Q. Doe Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Commonwealth Honors College University of Massachusetts Lowell (Year) Honors Mentor: Professor Jane J. Smith, Department of English _________________________________________________________________ Date: ___________ Author’s Signature _________________________________________________________________ Date: ___________ Honors Mentor’s Signature Signatures of Committee Members (at least one): _________________________________________________________________ Date: ___________ _________________________________________________________________ Date: ___________ 61 Wilder Street, O’Leary Library 3rd Floor Lowell, MA 01854 Tel: 978.934.2792 Fax: 978.934.2065 Email: Honors Mentor Form Before you complete 84 college credits you must file this form. If you complete 84 or more credits and you do not submit this form into the Honors Office, you will be withdrawn from the UMass Lowell Honors College. Name: ________________________________________ Date: _______________ Semester and year you intend to graduate: __________________________________ Majors(s) and minors(s): ________________________________________________ Print the name of your Honors Mentor: ___________________________________ Honors Mentor Signature: ______________________________________________ Note: If your Honors Mentor is not a full-time faculty member at UMass Lowell, please attach their resume/vitae to this form. I am going to complete a (circle one): 3-credit/6 month Honors Project (H8) 6-credit/12 month Honors Project (H7 and H8) 6-credit/12 month Honors Thesis (H7 and H8) If you have not yet identified your Honors Mentor, please explain why and provide a date by which you will identify your mentor and then re-submit this form. Use the back of this paper if necessary. Approval Signature of Honors College Dean: _______________________________ Please complete this form and return it to the Honors Office on South in O’Leary 300 or the mailbox on North Campus in Southwick 308. If you have any questions contact us at 978.934.2797 or email us at Honors Thesis/Project Proposal Form This form and your proposal must be turned in to the Honors Office by the date specified by the Honors College the semester you start your research. Student Name: _________________________________ID Number: ________________________ Expected Semester and Year of Graduation:_____________________________________________ Local Address:____________________________________________________________________ Phone Number:_______________________ Email:______________________________________ Major(s):________________________________________________________________________ Honors Mentor:__________________________________________________________________ Committee member(s) (at least one):__________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Duration of Project (1 or 2 semesters):_________________________________________________ Course Name and Number (including section number):____________________________________ Please attach a proposal as approved by your Honors Mentor and Committee Member(s). Proposal should be approximately 2 pages with a 1-page timeline. (See Handbook.) Student’s Signature: ______________________________________________Date:_____________ By signing below, I endorse my approval for the attached proposal and I agree to my role as Honors Mentor or committee member for this student’s Honors Thesis/Project. Honors Mentor’s Signature: _______________________________________Date:_____________ Committee Member’s Signature: ____________________________________Date:_____________ Committee Member’s Signature: ____________________________________Date:_____________ Honors Director/Coordinator Signature: _______________________________Date:_____________ Please complete this form and return it to the Honors Office on South in O’Leary 300 or the mailbox on North Campus in Southwick 308. If you have any questions contact us at 978.934.2797 or email us at Honors Thesis Completion Form Name: _____________________________________________ UMS Number: ____________ Honors Mentor: ______________________________________________________________ Project/Thesis Title: ___________________________________________________________ Course Name Course Number (XX.XXX.XXX) Grade Date and Place of Public Presentation:____________________________________________ Student's Signature: _________________________________________ Date: ____________ I, ___________________________, certify that this student has satisfactorily completed his/her honors project and has given a public presentation on the date listed above. Honors Mentor's Signature: ___________________________________ Date: ____________ I, as a committee member for ________________________, certify that they have satisfactorily completed their honors project and they have given a public presentation on the date listed above. Committee Member(s) signature(s): ________________________________________________________ Date: _____________ ________________________________________________________ Date: _____________ Please complete this form and return it to the Honors Office on South in O’Leary 300 or the mailbox on North Campus in Southwick 308. If you have any questions contact us at 978.934.2797 or email us at