Graduating seniors try to alleviate fears about thesis

Dr. Procopio poses with a few of her Comm. 498 students at colloquium.

For communication majors the word thesis strikes fear in their hearts. Press club tried to alleviate that fear Nov. 29, by holding an informational meeting about the senior thesis. Students and professors involved in the 498 class spoke about the basics of the class and gave advice for future students.

Dr. Claire Procopio, the current advisor for communications 498, outlined the basics of the paper. The paper should be written in APA 6th edition style and must consist of at least 20-25 pages. On the due date, you must submit five hard copies to Procopio.

According to Procopio, the paper consists of an introduction, literature review, hypothesis, methodology, results of testing, appendices and references. At colloquium, students will be expected to present their paper within a 10 minute time frame.

Fay Boudreaux, a graduating senior who took Communication 498 in the fall, placed an emphasis on the Communication 291 class is required by the communications department. She calls it the “baby thesis class” because it is a thesis worked on as a group, instead of individually.

Communication 291 teaches the basics of how to write a research paper. In the class you learn the research theories you may use in your senior thesis. Boudreaux tells students who haven’t taken the class yet to pay attention and keep the book.

Boudreaux focused on the annotated thematic bibliography in her presentation at the meeting. The annotated thematic bibliography is the citation of the source with a summarization of the article and arranged by theme. The sources can be found through the library’s database of scholarly articles. Boudreaux advises not waiting until the last minute to do the bibliography because it will help you do your literature review.

According to Boudreaux and other students who have completed the class, students are given around two months to complete the thesis with a portion of the thesis due every few weeks. The first part due is the research question, topic, and hypothesis. The students were then given about a month to work on the bibliography, which must consist of at least 20 scholarly articles. Shortly after the bibliography is due, the methodology must be turned in.

Boudreaux finally advised students to talk to Procopio and your faculty advisors if you are having trouble. Pick a professor who will know the most about the subject you are working on.

Megan Mosher and Chris Brannon, winners of Best Paper, pose with their awards.

Megan Mosher, another graduating senior who took Communication 498 in the fall, focused on the Institutional Review Board. The Institutional Review Board is a committee that makes sure research involving human subjects does not harm the subjects involved. Mosher had to get permission from IRB for her thesis because she was exposing subjects to graphic images and asking personal information about the subjects.

Mosher said there are a few things you have to do to get IRB’s permission.
• Complete an online research survey
• Fill out a form explaining why the topic needs to be researched and include your methodology
• IRB committee meeting where you defend and clear up any questions the committee has for you

Mosher says there are many positives to going through IRB. Even though it is more work, she says, it allows more innovative research and better quality report. She says don’t be afraid to go through them if it is necessary.

Angela Fontenot, who also took Communication 498 in the fall, said, she wanted to do a survey for her topic, but because she had never heard of IRB, she switched to a content analysis. Fontenot advises students to don’t be afraid to allow others to edit and read your paper.

Dr. Joesph Mirando, who is the faculty advisor for the summer course, talked about a few things that are different from the regular semester course. Mirando requires everyone to get IRB approval. The class meets everyday and has a little bit longer time to complete the thesis. You also don’t have a faculty mentor like you do in the fall and spring.

Mirando say, the presentation takes place before the class, alumni and faculty. There is no large crowd, but the people attending the presentation will know your paper because they most likely have read the paper.

Lastly, Mirando and the senior thesis students gave a few last minute tips:
• Don’t panic, but don’t be over confident
• Hit your due dates
• Make sure you have ink and paper in your printer
• Make sure you have prints at the library
• Have a plan a, plan b all the way through plan z
• Know where a heavy duty stapler is or have binder clips
• Foresee possible problems
• Have a good support system

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