Thursday, January 21, 2010

Science Social Databases

Some useful Databases can be found on:

To determine if your topic is policy relevant, search for Congressional Universe at the Stanford Library database.

To find out if the article was published. Go to SciSearch:

To find lists of publications on a specific topic go to EconLit:

To obtain references, look at the Social Science Citation Index:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tips

University of Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What kind of questions one ought to ask himself to assess if his thesis statement is strong? One should ask:

1) Do I answer the question?

2)Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose?

3)Is my thesis statement specific enough?

4)Does my thesis pass the "so what" test?

5)Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering?

6)Does my thesis pass the "how and why?" test?

You should have a Time Table to manage your Honor Thesis. The Writing Center at University of North Carolina, offers the following time table


Early exploratory research and Brainstorming - Junior Year
Basic statement of topic; line up with an advisor - End of Junior Year
Completing the bulk of primary and secondary research - Summer/ Early Fall
Introduction Draft - September
Chapter One Draft - October
Chapter Two Draft - November
Chapter Three Draft - December
Conclusion Draft - January
Revising - February to March
Formating and Final Touches - Early April
Presentation and Defense - Mid to late April

Tips on Note-taking

File sources with plenty of information about them.
1)Complete bibliographic citation
2)Basic Notes: facts, citations, and arguments.
3)Interpretation of source: don't merely record the facts, make it explicit how you are interpreting them. Explain context and significance of each source.

This Guide provides a Road Map of all stages on how to write an Honors Thesis:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stanford Key Information to Literacy

Evaluate the validity of authors, dates, and publishers.

Who's who is a good website to research for authors, their previous work, etc...Also use the Bibliography Resource Center:

Evaluate the motive of the publisher. When using a magazine or journal article, see if that periodical has a statement of the objective on the masthead or inside the front or cover.

Ask the librarian for relevant sources on the topic. The Scout Report ( rates pages for their quality. The Librarians' Internet Index ( is a well-regarded subject directory.

The Stanford Honor Code is the guide for ethical research:

Style Guides:

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA style is often used by students in the social sciences.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
The MLA (Modern Language Association) style is often used by students studying English Literature or Languages..

A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
This commonly-used style by Kate Turabian is a student version of a longer guide, The Chicago Manual of Style.

Style guides are in the collection of the Green Library Information Center or in other library reference collections.

Bibliographic Tools: RefWorks is a bibliographic management software provided to Stanford Students:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Research Grants

The UAR website offers 3 different types of grant:

Quarterly Grants ( limit $3000) are provided for smaller independent student projects. Applications due:
January 4, February 1, March 1, April 1 and May 3

Angel Grants are conceded to creative projects such as, movies, exhibitions, etc...

Major Grants (limit $5600) support substantial, in-depth projects. Recipients become members of a research and mentoring community that includes preparation for a capstone project or honors. Applications due
March 1

info drawn from UAR website

Friday, January 8, 2010

Writing And Presenting Your Dissertation Thesis by S. Joseph Levine

According to Levine, these steps are important when one is approaching the thesis/dissertation stage:

1)Be inclusive with your thinking
2)Write down your ideas
3)Try not to be overly influenced at this time by what you feel others expect from you
4)Don't begin your thinking by assuming that your research will draw international attention. Instead, be realistic. Make sure your expectations are tempered by:

...the realization that you are fulfilling an academic requirement
...the fact that conducting the research may be just as important (or more important) than the outcomes of the research

5)Be realistic about the time that you are willing to commit to your research. Make a timeline.
6) Take a leave of absence after you are done with the Thinking About it stage and ready to jump into the Writing part
7)Do a Preliminary Research

Levine offers the following checklist:

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you are ready to start your research:

I am familiar with the other research that has been conducted in areas related to my research project.
I have a clear understanding of the steps that I will use in conducting my research
I feel that I have the ability to get through each of the steps necessary to complete my research project
I know that I am motivated and have the drive to get through all the steps in the research project

8) Read someone else's research proposal.
9) Make sure your proposal has a comprehensive review of the literature. The literature review should be done before the actual research.
10) When you read something that is important to your study, photocopy the relevant article or section. Keep your photocopies organized according to categories and sections.
11) A good proposal consists of the 3 first chapters of the dissertation. It should begin with the statement of the problem/background information (Chapter I). Then move to a review of the literature (Chapter II), and conclude with a defining of the research methodology (Chapter III). Turning a good proposal into the first chapters of your dissertation, consists in changing the future tense to the past.
12)Focus your research very specifically
13) Incude a title. The title must have the most important words; it must limit the use of ambiguous confusing words; if it contains too many words, it must have a subtitle; it must include keywords that will help researchers in the future find your work.
14) Organize your research around a set of questions that will guide it. These questions will establish the link between your research and other research that preceded you. Don't make the questions too narrow.
15) Other remarks: For many students there's the expectation that you will return to your "home" to conduct research. Conducting a research project away from home is important. When at home, students are expected to fulfill other obligations.