|COM 495|| ||
| || ||837-8254
American Psychological Association. (1983). Publication manual of the APA
(3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Author [Latest edition preferred] A summary is available
on line at Writer's Workshop at UIUC.
The Communication Department's faculty believe that seniors in the major should demonstrate
the ability to synthesize research, apply important theories in the discipline,
and demonstrate competence in communication skills, including writing and speaking.
Therefore, we require all majors to produce a thesis, which can be defined as
an independent research project that involves the identification of a question;
the gathering of data, the use of those data to support a conclusion, and a discussion
of the implications of the conclusion. Regardless of the form of the application
(see below) we require all majors to present the project in the form of a 25-40
page paper, and a 20-30 minute oral presentation.
If you are a student with a disability, please make an appointment with
Deborah Cohen at the Disability Services Office located in the Student
Center, room 207 (837-8946). She will write an accommodation letter that you will need
to bring to me. Once you have your letter, please come by my office to
speak to me about your accommodations and any other concerns you may have
such as medical emergencies, arranging a note-taker or arrangements in case
the building must be evacuated. Please bring me your accommodation letter
as soon as possible, even if you think you may not need to use your
Assigned work is due on Wednesdays at the beginning of class: 11 AM
|Week of 1/21
||APA, Documentation and Plagiarism,
Formats, Human Subjects Form and Certification
|Topic Statement Due
|Working Bibliography Due
Copy of Human Subjects Certificate due
||Literature Review Due
||Last date prospectus will be considered
||PAPER DUE by 11:00 Wednesday
All thesis papers will be submitted by 11:00 A.M. on April 21. Specific details about the paper are given below.
Presentations: You must make an oral presentation based on your work in order to complete the course. The order of presentation will be the reverse of the order in which the proposals are approved. The presentation schedule is filled from the bottom up; that is, the first proposals accepted will be the last people presenting. The only way to change the presentation date is to find someone who will agree to swap with you. Please inform me of any such agreements. ATTENDANCE AT ALL PRESENTATIONS OF YOUR CLASS IS REQUIRED. Absences during the presentation period require a doctor's note, and missed presentations will not be rescheduled without one. Because of time constraints, some presentations may be scheduled before the papers are submitted.
The instructor will be available during office hours and class time for the duration of the consultation period. Preference is given to people who make appointments. If you can't keep an appointment, have the courtesy to cancel it. Consultations are also available via e-mail and telephone.
Basic Requirements of the Course
You will have about ten weeks to complete your work.
- 1. You will submit a 50 item working bibliography of potential sources for your project. It is suggested that you request at least two papers from the Thesis Archive and examine their reference pages.
- 2. You will submit a written prospectus before March 10 which identifies what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Missing this date means it will not be possible to complete the course this semester.
- 3. If your research involves human subjects it must be approved by the University Research Committee. The form should accompany your proposal, and no thesis paper involving research with human subjects will be accepted without it.
- 4. You will submit one digital copy on the due date of a 20 to 40 page document that demonstrates your ability to research and critically analyze the data you have gathered on the topic you have chosen. This copy is for grading and comment.
- 5. All successful papers may be published on the World Wide Web and will be included in the Communication Department Thesis Archive. Before the grade will be sent to the Registrar, a corrected digital copy must be submitted. This requirement does not apply to papers that are below a "C".
- 6. You must give an oral presentation of your work. Details are presented below.
- 7. You are required to attend all the presentations made by members of your class.
In general, the people who are most successful in this course consult regularly with the instructor.
You may withdraw from the course without penalty at any time before you submit the paper. All submitted papers will be graded, and a final grade will be given, even if the paper is failing. If you do not submit either a prospectus or a paper by their respective deadlines you will be withdrawn from the course. There will be no incompletes.
The following steps are required to design and complete the research project:
The Paper will be 20-40 pages, word-processed and double spaced, and WILL follow APA style, from the title page to in-text referencing, to page numbers, etc. (See links at the top of the syllabus). I will evaluate the quality of the content, APA format, and writing, including clarity, organization of ideas, spelling and grammar. (You will receive a copy of the evaluation sheet before you begin work.) You will submit one digital copy of the final version of your paper for evaluation. You will submit a corrected digital copy before your final grade for the course is submitted to the Registrar. The digital copy must be submitted as an attachment to an email message, and be in Microsoft Word.
The parts of the paper are as follows (the format may vary somewhat, depending on the type of research, but these are the essential ingredients):
1. TITLE PAGE
3. INTRODUCTION: The research question or objective and its "contexts"
4. PROCEDURES AND RESULTS
- a. A rationale stating of what importance or significance your project is to your particular area of study. Be as specific as you can ("improving humanity" is too vague).
- b. A discussion of the central ideas of the one or two major theorists that apply to your project.
- c. The specific research question or objective.
- d. Definitions of specialized key terms in the research question or objective. Avoid dictionary definitions, unless they come from a specialized Communication Dictionary (e.g. DeVito's Handbook of Communication). Define the terms as they function in your project. Terms that are generally known and are not used in a specialized sense should not be defined.
- e. A literature review, summarizing at least 10 sources that are related to your research question or objective in terms of content, method or both. Sources may include books, journal articles, unpublished theses, material gathered from the Internet, and interviews with experts in the area of theory that your project evolved from. We will go over how to write a literature review, and what a related source is.
- In this section describe in detail the steps you took to collect and organize your data. Present your results, with no editorializing or opinions. Obviously, the kind of data analysis will dictate the form your results take; results may be presented in quantitative form, when appropriate, including frequencies, percentages, graphs, tables, etc. Or they may be presented in qualitative form (people's responses to open ended questions on a survey, themes you perceived in media content, etc.)
5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
6. REFERENCES (Check APA style manual or the link at the top of the page)
- a. Compare and evaluate your results in terms of the theorists and/or related sources you discussed in the first part of the paper.
- b. Explain why you think you got the results you did
- c. Discuss what you consider to be the most important aspects or the implications of your results.
- d. Discuss what you might do differently if you could do the project over; what did you learn?
- e. Discuss ideas for future projects suggested by your work.
- f. Discuss anything else you think is relevant.
7. APPENDIX (If Appropriate)
The oral presentation provides a forum in which you can share your work with classmates, faculty, future Senior Thesis students, and others. It also provides evidence of the quality of the preparation and performance elements of your public speaking skills.
The format is as follows:
- 1. In a 20 minute talk (which will be timed), present a summary of your research question or objective, the essential elements of your application, and your major results and conclusions. An additional 10 minutes for questions and discussion will follow your talk, so you will have a chance to elaborate.
- 2. You may use manuscript or outline speaking methods, but you may not read your paper. You are required to have a Powerpoint component (The Student Technology Training Center gives workshops in Powerpoint on a regular basis), and it is your responsibility to make all necessary preparations including arranging for equipment.
This syllabus was prepared in consultation with Communication Department faculty.