KC Johnson

Fall 2015: Thesis Colloquium

Contact Information:

Course Requirements:

  1. Attendance and participation (15%): Attendance is mandatory for this course. Participation is also essential to this seminar.  Your informed response to assigned readings, class discussion, and your colleagues’ ideas is vital to the success of everyone in the room. The autobiographical statement is part of the participation assignment. Unexcused absences will be penalized by one grade shift (A-minus to B-plus, for example) in your final semester grade.
  2. Research log (5%): The research log should record how you are researching (e.g. which search terms in which database), what you are finding (notes from these resources), and your reflections or inspirations (or problems) as you go along.  Your weekly log should be emailed to me each Sunday, by 11.59pm, each week of the semester; extensions are not permitted.
  3. Annotated bibliography (20%): This assignment will allow you to determine the key issues, debates, and approaches relevant to your chosen topic, and to position your ideas into broader scholarly debates.
  4. Research proposal (10%): See the Honors Academy Handbook for Research for more detailed instructions; the research proposal should outline the key questions you will pursue, sources you will use, and structure your thesis will take.
  5. Presentation (20%): At the end of the semester, you will be asked to make a formal (5-7 minute) presentation on your research topic.
  6. Written assignments, including thesis chapter (30%): The chapter will be the culmination of this semester’s work, and is due at end of term. This assignment includes the draft, the completed introduction, and two position papers.

Groups: tba

Due Dates:

  • 17 September: autobiographical statement
  • 29 September: position paper
  • 6 October: draft thesis proposal
  • 13 October: thesis proposal
  • 27 October: draft annotated bibliography
  • 5 November: annotated bibliography
  • 10 November: draft position paper
  • 12 November: position paper
  • 24 November: draft introduction
  • 19 December: chapter draft
  • 26 December: chapter/introduction

All due dates are final. Except for documented family or medical emergencies, no extensions will be given. All papers should be submitted to me via email. All assignments also should be submitted to your advisor.

Required Text:

Course Schedule:

August 28: Introduction

September 1, 3: Individual Meetings with instructor

Sign up for time slot via e-mail.

September 8: Institutional Review Board issues

Review IRB requirements before class

Contemporary IRB-related controversies:

September 10, 15: no class (conversion day, college closed)

September 17: Approaches to Research Problems

  • Reading: Craft of Research, Prologue, Chapters 1-3, pp. 273-6.

Autobiographical Statement due: 2-3 pages. Your statement should focus on how your personal background and intellectual interests have led to your research area. Please speculate on ways to connect with your readers (chapter 2) and indicate what your key questions are at this point (chapter 3).

Submit the paper to me (via e-mail) and your advisor. Each to be briefly presented to class.

September 22: no class (college closed)

September 24: Research Skills & the College Library

  • We’ll meet at Library Room 120 for this class.

September 25: Research Day

  • Use extra time for your research. I will have extended office hours for drop-bys.

September 29: In class workshop: position paper–group 2

  • Reading: Craft of Research, chapters 4-6, and appendix (as relevant for your area).

Position Paper due: 2-3 pages. Indicate your research question and then choose 2-3 relevant sources, provide tentative bibliographical data for each, and engage with the sources as shown in Chapter 6 in light of your research questions. Submit the paper to me (via e-mail), and bring a hard copy to class; be prepared to discuss your findings to the class.

October 1: No class—research day

October 6: In-class workshop: thesis proposal–group 3

  • Reading: Craft of Research, chapters 7-8.

Draft of proposal due: 2-3 pages. Indicate your working claim and outline the main reasons that will support it. Discuss the evidence you will use to support your conclusions, and their significance. Submit the draft to me (via e-mail), and bring a hard copy to class; be prepared to discuss your findings to the class.

October 8: No class—research day

October 13-15-20: Individual Meetings with instructor

Sign up for time in-class.

Complete & submit proposal for NCUR

Thesis Proposal due (via e-mail), along with indication of approval from your advisor.

October 22: In-class presentation: Scholars Program graduate

October 27: In-class workshop: annotated bibliography–group 4

Draft of Annotated Bibliography due: 10 sources minimum. In addition to designating the source’s thesis, annotations should respond to the source’s key arguments in relation to your topic. Submit the draft to me (via e-mail), and bring a hard copy to class; be prepared to discuss your findings to the class.

October 29-November 5: Research Days

Use extra time for your research. I will have extended office hours for drop-bys. Annotated bibliography due by 5 November.

November 10: In-class workshop: Position Paper–group 5

  • Reading: Craft of Research, Chapter 11

Draft of position paper due: 5-7 pages. Outline three of your major claims. Submit the draft to me (via e-mail), and bring a hard copy to class; be prepared to discuss your findings to the class.

November 12: Position paper due (via e-mail)

Research Day : Use extra time for your research. I will have extended office hours for drop-bys.

November 17-19: Individual meetings with instructor

November 24: In-class workshop: Working Introduction–group 1

  • Reading: Craft of Research, Chapters 12-13

Draft Introduction due. Bring in 4-part working introduction (see chapter 12) for peer review in class.

December 1: Individual presentations

December 3: Individual presentations

December 8: Individual presentations

December 10: Individual presentations

E-mail chapter draft to me and to assigned partner no later than 11.59pm, on 19 December.

December 26 @ 11.59pm: Chapter and draft introduction (20pp. or so) due, via e-mail


In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations you must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services at 718-951-5538. The Center is located at 138 Roosevelt Hall.

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct

“Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion, as provided herein.”

– CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity. Adopted by the Board of Trustees 6/28/2004

Please go to <http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/policies/&gt; for further information about the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this year-long course, you will have:

  • facility in reading, summarizing, and evaluating a variety of texts that provide material for your research project
  • the capacity to pose a research question and to imagine and implement methods address this question, including finding credible library and electronic sources
  • competence in crafting arguments using supportive evidence and logic
  • proficiency in the use of quotations, paraphrases, and appropriate documentation for scholarly publication
  • capacity to present your ideas effectively orally
  • a talent for engaging in intellectual conversation about wide variety of topics and academic disciplines
  • skills to give useful and respectful feedback to colleagues on their thinking, writing, and oral presentations

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