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Nature and Purpose of the Senior Honors Thesis

The last two semesters of the Psychology Honors Program provide a unique opportunity for students to learn from faculty mentors in an individualized setting. Students are led by mentors into research on particular subject areas of interest to both the student and professor. The two-semester project begins with a Directed Research course, and the final product in the last semester is the Senior Thesis.

The purpose of the Senior Thesis is to learn the process of conducting research in psychology. Students will learn how to (1) read and evaluate the research literature; (2) derive and state hypotheses; (3) collect and/or organize data using accepted methodologies; (4) analyze data using appropriate statistical techniques; (5) draw logical conclusions from data analysis; (6) relate these conclusions to the research literature; and (7) present a thesis orally and in writing. These goals may be achieved regardless of whether the Senior Thesis produces statistically significant support for the stated hypotheses or makes an original contribution to the research literature.

The Senior Thesis project will typically consist of an empirical data-collection study that is conducted by the undergraduate honors student in collaboration with the mentor and his/her laboratory participants. In some cases where large data sets have previously been collected, or in which the student could not collect the type of data needed, the project may be carried out on existing data. In this case the student should be heavily involved in the data analysis and thoroughly understand the procedures used. Whichever type of project is chosen, the honors student should contribute creatively to the research. A high standard of intellectual engagement and time commitment is expected throughout the two-semester sequence.

Click Directed Research/Senior Thesis Guidelines to view a complete set of guidelines for the Directed Research/Thesis Proposal/Senior Thesis sequence. Click Senior Thesis Proposal Form for a copy of the required thesis proposal form. In preparing the finished thesis, use this format for the Senior Thesis Title and Signature Pages.  When the thesis has received final committee approval, visit Instructions for Binding of Senior Honors Thesis for binding information.  If you have questions, please contact the Honors Program Coordinator.

Honors Program Coordinator
Melloni Cook

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Last Updated: 1/23/12