HP 391: Masters Thesis

HP 391 Thesis Guidelines

The thesis should make an original contribution to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field. Since there are no regularly scheduled class meeting times for this tutorial course, each student arranges regular meetings directly with their thesis advisor in advance. HP 391 Thesis is a 6-credit course. Advance permission to enroll in this course is required by applying to the UVM Historic Preservation Program director and to the UVM Historic Preservation faculty member who will serve as the thesis advisor. The thesis advisor should send an email message to the program director confirming approval of the thesis application. Thesis applications should identify the topic to be researched and include a written research plan that includes the research topic, a preliminary bibliography, a description of intended primary source materials, a discussion of the research goals and methods and the intended schedule with dates specified for regular meetings with the course instructor, the draft manuscript submission and the final paper manuscript submission. Any changes to this research plan should also be submitted for review by the thesis advisor in advance. The final draft of the thesis manuscript must be submitted at least three weeks before the defense to allow time for faculty review and for any subsequent additional research and writing. The final paper manuscript of the thesis is to be submitted to the Graduate College in compliance with their guidelines and deadlines. HP 391 may not be taken for extended credit. Although the structure and organization of the thesis can vary depending on the topic chosen, certain commonalities should be observed.  The thesis should begin with an introductory chapter that: (1) carefully defines the scope and range of the research project with respect to period or subject matter, or both; (2) succinctly summarizes the existing body of knowledge that provides a context for the research being conducted, citing and summarizing in narrative form the leading works in the field, when appropriate; (3) summarizes the original or new knowledge being provided; (4) identifies areas where continued research is needed; (5) explains the methods of research employed, citing principal primary sources in narrative form; (6) and explains the system of organization developed in remaining chapters. Methods for organizing subsequent chapters also will depend on the topic selected, but each chapter should be carefully developed around a specific theme, trend, period, or other device that offers opportunity for logical and contained discussion.  An introductory segment should explain each chapter’s principal theme and sub-themes and explain that chapter’s system of organization.  A concluding segment should restate, briefly, the principal contribution of each chapter to the larger work.  As subsequent chapters are developed, efforts should be made to establish continuity throughout the entire work by linking each chapter’s themes or sub-themes to the principal contributions of the study.  Some form of concluding chapter also should be developed, whether epilogue, discussion of suggested future research, or restatement of your conclusions. When relying heavily on secondary sources, that material should be summarized or paraphrased in narrative form rather than incorporated as quoted text in your work.  Short, three or four-line quotations may be included as indented, single spaced, italics text.  Very short quotations, no more than a short single sentence, may be developed as part of your narrative but should be italicized.  If large segments of text from secondary sources are useful, they should be added as appendices.  All illustrations should contain numbered captions identifying, at the very least, the principal importance of the image and its source. Permission must be obtained for the use of applicable images if the intent is to seek publication of the paper. The length of the final manuscript should be substantial, for example in the range of 150-200 pages of text, depending on the type of research being conducted. All writing must be authored directly by each student and all sources of information and ideas that are not common knowledge must be identified through attributions in the text or citations using notes. Plagiarism is not tolerated. For guidance on this see "Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It" and related topics at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml. All sources should be cited with endnotes or footnotes according to the Chicago Manual of Style. The thesis manuscript should have a title page, page numbers, table of contents, a list of figures and a bibliography and be formatted as required by the UVM Graduate College. See the Graduate College's guidelines for writing a master's thesis and schedule deadlines.