SENIOR THESIS GUIDE
Introduction to the Senior Thesis
Senior Thesis- Structure
Writing a Literature Review
Example 1: Literature Review from an Academic Article
Review of the Literature and Statement of the Problem
Taking on the Role of Writing as a Professional
The Process of Writing a Thesis: Beginnings
Selected List of Anthropological Journals at Union
*Statement of Professional and Ethical Responsibilities
Union College Statement of Plagiarism
Thesis Loan Contract
Departmental Equipment and Data
Points to Consider Before Writing Your Thesis
Steve’s Pet Peeves in Writing (helpful hints)
AAA Style Guide
**Anthropology Department Sr. Thesis Questionnaire
* Sign and turn in by week 2 of the first term of your thesis ** Fill out and return to the Anthropology secretary by the end of the second term of your thesis.
Introduction to the Senior Thesis
The research and writing of a senior thesis is the most important project for completing your major in Anthropology. Since the thesis demands a great deal of independent thought and expression, it is a fitting culmination to your undergraduate education. More than any other project you have undertaken, the senior thesis will be your work. Most importantly, it is your choice as to how seriously you take the responsibility for research and writing. Your advisor may inspire, guide, cajole, and threaten, but you must ultimately make the commitment to excellence for yourself. You have chosen a major that requires that you will be able to some day say that the thesis was your best work.
The pages that follow provide guidance regarding the rules for writing your thesis. I. Choosing a Topic
The selection of a topic need not be a painful experience if you recognize several key facts:
1. Topics Evolve. Virtually no topic springs full-grown or perfectly-formed from the head of the advisee in May of the Junior year. Usually, the basic idea comes first, followed by gradual refinements that may take hours, days, or weeks to develop. The objective should be to have a well-defined topic before you return to campus in September of your senior year.
2. Define Anthropological Topics Broadly. Union students have written on an array of subjects over the years. In past years anthropology seniors have examined such things as: cultural beliefs among teen mothers in Albany, views of menstruation at Union, models of success among small business owners in Schenectady, attitudes towards gambling casinos on Oneida reservation, homeopathic medicine in Schenectady, and so on.
3. Favor Your Own Interests. One of the best ways to start your search for a thesis topic is to think about your interests and social concerns. If your interests and concerns coincide with a topic relevant to Anthropology then you have a natural starting point. Something in your own background may provide you with a topic you care enough about to want to investigate in depth.
4. Methods Matter. Another thing to consider when choosing a topic is the kind of research methods you wish to use such as questionnaire surveys, in-depth Interviews, participant observation, case studies, etc. Different topics lend themselves to different kinds of research methods, so it makes sense to think about what methods you'd enjoy using the most, what kinds of data you'd be best at interpreting.
5. Think In Terms of a Place. Often it is easiest to have a specific location or organization that you are studying. It makes the domain easy to define, and it gives you a place to go regularly for observation. In the past students have studied at women's shelters, senior citizens' housing, Indian reservations, etc. We encourage you to choose a topic that can be researched in the Schenectady area, but outside the Union community. Anthropology terms abroad offer ideal opportunities for thesis topics with a strong cultural component. In a few...
Citations: In citations, commas separate works by a single author (Smith 1990,1991:1,1992);
semicolons separate works by different authors (Smith 1990, 1992; Thomas 1992)
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