KC Johnson

Scholars Program Senior 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 (due 8 September) is part of the participation assignment.
  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 except for 4 September and 2 October. (Your 9 October log should cover everything you’ve done for the previous 14 days.)
  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.

Due Dates:

  • 8 September: autobiographical statement
  • 27 September: position paper
  • 6 October: draft thesis proposal
  • 11 October: thesis proposal
  • 25 October: draft annotated bibliography
  • 1 November: annotated bibliography
  • 8 November: draft position paper
  • 10 November: position paper
  • 22 November: draft introduction
  • 4 December: chapter draft
  • 20 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, at the address above. All assignments also should be submitted to your advisor.

Required Text:

Course Schedule:

August 30: Introduction

September 1: Envisioning the Thesis

September 6:  In-class presentation: Institutional Review Board & Oral History (Prof. Napoli)

Review IRB requirements before class.

September 8: 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), your advisor, and post in comments section on website.

Here’s the link to all the autobiographical statements.

September 13 15: Individual Meetings with instructor

Sign up for time slot in-class.

September 20: Research Skills & the College Library

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

September 22: Research Day

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

September 27: In class workshop—position papers

  • 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.

September 29: No class—college closed

October 4: No class—transition day

October 6: In-class workshop: thesis proposal

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

October 11-3: Individual Meetings with instructor

10.45: Pamela B

11.00: Igor

11.15: Jacqueline

11.30: Myrodati

11.45: Juliane

12.00: Sunny

2.30: Mariana

3.15: Joe

4.00 Daniel

Thurs, 12.30: Ricky

12.45: Liz P

1.00: Jessica

1.30: Anup

1.45: Lizzie

3.15: Sabine

3.30: Rianna

3.45: Sherine

4.00: Fatima

6.30: Jennifer

6.45: Isabel

Sign up for time in-class.

October 18: In-class presentation: Scholars Program graduates

October 20: Research Day

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

October 25: In-class workshop: annotated bibliography

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 27-November 3: Research Days

Use extra time for your research. I will have extended office hours for drop-bys. Annotated bibliography due by 1 November.

November 8: In-class workshop: Position Paper

  • 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 10: Position paper due (via e-mail)

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

2.00: Juliane

2.15: Jessica

2.30: Sunny

2.45: Marina

3.30: Jackie

4.00: Igor

November 15-7: Individual Meetings with instructor

Sign up for times in-class.


2.45: Ricky

3.00: Myrodati

3.15: Rianna

3.30: Daniel

4.00: Joe


1.00: Pamela

1.15: isabel

1.30: Anup

1.45: Lizzie

2.00: Sabine

4.00: Fatima

6.30: Jen

November 22: In-class workshop: Working Introduction

  • Reading: Craft of Research, Chapters 12-13

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

November 24: No class—Thanksgiving

November 29: Individual presentations:




December 1: Individual presentations





December 6: Individual presentations





December 6: Individual presentations





December 13: Individual presentations





E-mail chapter draft to me and to assigned partner no later than 11.59pm, on 4 December; be prepared to discuss your findings to the class.

December 20 @ 11.59pm: Chapter and draft introduction (20-25pp.) 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

One Response

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  1. Pamela Branch said, on September 5, 2011 at 10.27am

    Pamela Branch
    SPCM 3185 Autobiographical Statement

    Learning how people conform or go against the dominant ideas of society has always interest me. For other research classes, I’ve focused on minorities and how they are negatively portrayed in the media through stereotypes. However, I learned that it’s not only ethnic minorities who have negative stereotypes. Homosexuals are seen as foreign objects that don’t quite fit into society and the norms of everyday life. I wanted to focus more on how they form their identity as a homosexual and how it may contradict society standards of what men and women should be.
    I became aware and made contact of a gay male when I was in high school. He was one of my closest friends and was always depressed, because he felt no one would accept him because of his sexuality. My friend was afraid that his family wouldn’t understand and would shun him, so he kept his sexuality a secret. It wasn’t until he came out as a gay male, that everything was easier for him. He felt comfortable with his sexuality and learned that his real friends would support his decision to be gay, regardless of their religion and other beliefs. From this experience, I wanted to learn how and why homosexuals learn from a young age to be fearful and ashamed of their sexuality. How do children know if they are gay and at what age? Why do they have to keep everything a secret to make others feel comfortable around them? Do they feel like they have to emulate homosexuals that are on sitcoms like Will and Grace or soap operas like All My Children? These questions lead to my other set of ideas that I would like to research for my paper, such as what is the true definition of homosexuality, who determines whose gay or not? Are heterosexuals defining who’s gay and how they should act through representations in media whether it’s print, television, or film? Are homosexual characters in sitcoms or films being written by heterosexuals, and in turn is that a right representation of one’s sexuality? From my experience with helping my friend to feel comfortable with his sexuality, I want to write about how others cope with the same dilemma and how this can be changed into an easier transition without people feeling like their life is over or to think in terms of suicide.
    Being that I am not an expert in this field of study, I have to research and compare and contrast different scholars to really find conclusive evidence for my paper. However, I know that I shouldn’t just repeat the same ideas but I need to contribute something new in my field of Television and Radio. Learning how people are perceived in the media is extremely important because that’s how others form ideas of different groups whether they are minorities or homosexuals. The information is being sent to millions of people in the United States and all over the world. How people perceive others can affect how they treat them. In any way I can, I want to bring a topic that people view is bad due to religion or other views and say that even if they are not the same as everyone else, they are still human beings.
    Knowing the audience who is reading your work is extremely important. I know that I have to connect with my readers who may be experts in the field or just a typical college student who doesn’t know anything about the topic. I know that my paper is going to be read by professors who know about this topic along with parents and others who are not familiar with homosexuality and difficulties they face. I feel that I need to be careful in making sure I’m not talking down to my readers who may be experts and feel like I didn’t need to include certain information. However, I don’t want to leave out information and explanations that may be helpful for someone who never approached the topic before. I want to be fair to my readers and keep them interested in reading my work. That is why it’s essential that I love my topic. By being interested in my topic, it will be reflected in my paper which my readers would see and eventually respect and want to read it.
    I feel that by following the steps in conducting research like writing notes on information that I come across, asking questions and debating on evidence that scholars conducted and always keeping my readers in mind, I can be successful. I have to let my readers know what perspective I’m writing from and why it’s important for them to be interested in my work. Through my personal experience and information I’ve came across, I feel that I am on the right path.

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