Governors State University College of Arts and Sciences
Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
BA Program in History
SENIOR CAPSTONE II: THESIS HIST4920, Spring, 2017, 3 Credits
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00-12:15, Rm. C3380
Instructor: Dr. David Hamilton Golland, Office C3370
Office Hours: click HERE
Online Course Guide
Course Description: Second half of the senior capstone experience. Focuses on writing and presenting a major history-based paper resulting from extensive research in primary sources during HIST4910. Students work closely with the instructor throughout the semester. Must be taken in the senior/final year of the degree or by permission of the instructor.
Rationale: History seeks to understand and to explain the story of human experience since the past provides the only laboratory of human experience actually lived. Historical study complements and builds on the foundational courses in the core through its appreciation of the complexity of humankind, recognizing in the men and women who make history the spiritual and material, the intellectual and the emotional diversity of the human condition. History further advances the goals of the core curriculum through an interdisciplinary methodology that seeks to reconstruct our collective past. It is the story of individuals, the story of individuals in society, and the story of the political, religious, economic, and social ideologies and institutions they create in their search for identity, purpose, and value. History recognizes both the commonality of the human experience and the reality of cultural, class, racial, and gender distinctions that enrich that experience.
Intended Audience: Required of all History majors as the second part of the senior capstone experience.
Instructional Modality: Lecture/Discussion.
Student Learning Objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
Acquire, develop, convey, and integrate knowledge and information; use assigned citation style accurately and consistently; interpret history as a reader, a writer, and a presenter; explain specific historical content and historical themes.
Use quantitative/qualitative analysis skills and think critically about and integrate the theoretical and/or practical knowledge that they have acquired throughout their undergraduate careers.
Evaluate data collected and conclusions; improve one’s knowledge of the profession or discipline; and explore and expand personal, civic, and professional knowledge and skills.
Reflect on the ethical issues implicit in the conduct and design of historical research; communicate, in written and verbal form, thesis-driven arguments about the past; and think critically.
Course Components:(Top) There are five components to this course:
Thesis Topic/Advisor or Internship Assignment/Director
Thesis or Internship Report
The mathematical scores will strictly translate into letter grades as follows:
90 or higher: A
80 or higher: B
70 or higher: C
60 or higher: D
Less than 60: F
Note: all students will receive the exact grade they have earned, and grades will NOT be rounded up. For example, a student with a mathematical score of 89.999 will receive a B; a student with a mathematical score of 59.999 will receive an F.
Explanation of Course Components:
Discussion Questions and Participation. Upon completion of each reading assignment, each student will post (in the appropriate forum on the "Discussion" page at the course's BlackBoard site) three questions inspired by the reading. These should not be "yes/no" or simple factual questions but rather must represent an informed consideration of the topics covered by the chapter and should be posed so as to lead to further discussion (in fact they will form the basis of class discussion). These questions are due by 12:00 Noon every Wednesday when there is an assigned reading for the next day's class. When there are readings from multiple sources, no more than two of the questions can pertain to a single source. Students are also expected to log in to the forum between Noon and the start of class the next day to read the questions posted by other students. Each student is expected to actively engage in discussion and activities during every class session.
Thesis Topic/Advisor or Internship Assignment/Director. Each student must have identified a thesis topic and secured a thesis advisor or secured an internship and identified an internship director by the deadline. Note that this is a HARD deadline. Students who do not have a thesis topic and advisor, or approved internship and director, by the deadline WILL FAIL THE COURSE. Students are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to begin the process of identifying a thesis topic and securing an advisor, or applying for an internship and getting approval, well before the deadline. Any student who cannot meet this deadline should withdraw from the course and try again next year.
Plagiarism Quiz. This brief quiz is based on "Avoiding Plagiarism," which can be found below. Students must take the quiz at the University of Indiana School of Education Plagiarism Test Site. Successful completion of the test will result in a certificate, which you should print, complete, sign, and deliver to Prof. Golland by the deadline. Note: No written assignments will be accepted from students who have not successfully completed the plagiarism quiz.
Presentation. During the second half of the semester, each student will deliver an oral report of their research or internship in class.
Draft. Every student will submit a complete rough draft of the thesis paper or internship report.
Thesis or Internship Report. To successfully complete the senior capstone in history, a student can write a thesis or a detailed internship report. There is no additional college credit for this activity, as it is part of the six-credit capstone sequence. The capstone writing project, whether it be a thesis or an internship report, is a major written undertaking, combining primary and secondary sources, analysis, and critical evaluation and should be at least 25 pages in length (double-spaced, standard font/margins). Your grade for this component will be assigned by the capstone course professor in consultation with the thesis advisor or internship director.
Terminology: Academic advisor: advises the student on which courses to take in order to graduate.
Thesis advisor: students who write a thesis to complete the senior capstone experience will have a thesis advisor who will work closely with the student to develop the thesis paper. This can be anyone on the faculty with a scholarly interest coinciding with the intended thesis topic.
Capstone course professor: teaches capstone courses, including themes related to historical research and writing, and assists the student in identifying a thesis topic and finding a thesis advisor or securing an internship.
Internship: How an internship is used depends on the student. If taken for credit, it can be a history track selective (if it corresponds to the student's track) or elective. An internship can also be taken wthout credit. Whether taken as a selective, elective, or without credit, an internship can provide the basis for the capstone project. However, students who complete an internship for credit are usually required to do a brief report as part of the internship "course." The capstone internship report cannot be simply a rewrite of that brief internship course report, but must make significant use of primary and secondary sources to demonstrate the value of the internship as a valid capstone experience.
Academic Honesty(Top) Students are expected to fulfill academic requirements in an ethical and honest manner. This expectation pertains to the following: use and acknowledgement of the ideas and work of others, submission of work to fulfill course requirements, sharing of work with other students, and appropriate behavior during examinations. These ethical considerations are not intended to discourage people from studying together or from engaging in group projects.
Avoiding Plagiarism by Good Paraphrasing, Quoting and Documentation, By Prof. Timothy C. Gsell Give credit to your sources, because they deserve it. Many students inadvertently plagiarize the intellectual work of others, and run the risk of receiving an F. It is easy to plagiarize, especially with all the information on the web! Simply fail to give credit where credit is due, and you are a plagiarist. That is all there is to it. But how can one know when credit is due, you ask? Read this carefully:
Document your source if you paraphrase or quote. Failure to do so is an act of plagiarism, even if it is innocent. It is easy to plagiarize even though one does not intend to steal another?s work. Therefore, it is very important to understand the essentials of paraphrasing and quoting discussed below.
If in doubt, consult a handbook on good writing or contact me. I strongly recommend this if your are not sure about documenting written material. The following quotes are from the Prentice-Hall Handbook for Writers, 10th edition. Chapter 45 (The Research Paper). But there are other good handbooks with similar words of wisdom:
A paraphrase is a restatement of the source material in your own words, syntax, and style but preserving the tone of the original?. and of approximately the same length (not as summary). A paraphrase uses the original author?s idea and presents it in your own language. Since in paraphrasing you borrowing someone?s thoughts, you must document the source when you use the paraphrase in your paper (page 470).
A direct quotation records exactly the words of the original source (as well as the exact punctuation and even any spelling errors). Like summaries and paraphrases, direct quotations require citations in your paper crediting the source from which you copied them. In general, use direct quotations only for particularly telling phrases or for information that must be rendered exactly as you found it (page 470).
Plagiarism consists of passing off ideas, opinions, conclusions, facts, words (intellectual property) of another as your own. Plagiarism is dishonest and carries penalties not only in academic environments but in all professions, as well as copyright law (page 470).
Long word-for-word quotations are rarely appropriate to a paper or particularly to a lab report. Use of all or most of a single sentence or an apt figure of speech without acknowledgment from another source is also dishonest and considered plagiarism (page 470).
Even if you acknowledge the source in a citation, you are still plagiarizing when you incorporate in your work faultily paraphrased or summarized material from another author in which you follow almost exactly the original?s sentence patterns and phrasing. Paraphrasing and summarizing require that you fully digest an author?s ideas and interpretations and restate them in your own words. It is not enough simply to modify the original author?s sentences slightly, to change a word here and there (page 472).
A research report or paper loaded with quotations or consisting of long quotations stitched loosely together with brief comments will almost always be an unsatisfactory paper (page 474).
Make use of paraphrases and summaries instead of quotations in most cases where sources are cited. Frequently, the point can be made better in your own words, with proper citations, than in the words of the original (page 474)
Wikipedia Research Policy, by Prof. Alan Liu Click HERE for the article.
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Contact Information:(Top) David Hamilton Golland
Associate Professor and Coordinator of History and Social Sciences
Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
Governors State University
Office Location: C3370
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