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Honors Thesis: Proposal

A LibGuide to inform Butler Honors' students about the thesis writing process

"All thesis writers must submit a proposal to the Honors Office (JH153D) in March a year before they intend to graduate. The Honors Board of your college will review your proposal and either approve it or return it for revision. It can take up to two weeks for the Honors Board to review your proposal. Honors Boards generally meet weekly and notify students as their theses are reviewed. If you are in the Honors Program, your thesis adviser will assign a grade for you in HN 397/8 when your proposal is approved."

Your proposal consists of several parts:

  • Title
    • Try to keep it short (12-16 words is ideal). Include keywords that indicate your paper's topic, argument, and possibly methodology. If you were searching for an article like yours on Google what words would you use? Avoid acronyms if possible; spell them out if not.
  • Thesis Description and Method/Documentation
    • Review the guidance offered on the thesis proposal page for your area. Use the background information you've gained from reference sources to write a focused thesis statement on the question or problem you will address in your thesis. If you're having trouble writing it as a statement, try writing it as a question instead and then turning it around.
  • Background
    • Scholarship is a conversation. How does your work fit into the existing conversation about your topic? You will likely complete the Background and Bibliography sections simultaneously. You will need to conduct a fairly thorough literature review on your topic, so brush up on your search skills. When you find a good source, look at its bibliography to find other good sources that might be helpful for your background and bibliography sections. Review articles are particularly good for this! How do you find a review article? Easy! Most databases have an "Article Type" menu from which you can select "review." You can also add the word "review" to your searches.
  • Schedule
    • Setting reasonable dates for each stage of your project will help keep you on track. Make sure you mark everything down on all of the calendars you use, whether it's your planner, your Google Calendar, or a wall calendar in your dorm.
  • Bibliography
    • Your bibliography should be pretty expansive by the time you're done with your literature review. Keep track of everything using a citation manager. Bonus: it will help you format your bibliography!

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You are welcome to reuse the content of this Guide as long as you attribute Butler University Libraries.


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