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Guide to Writing the Schreyer Honors Thesis for Schreyer Honors Scholars in the College of Education

Schreyer Honors Thesis Guide Scholars through the College of Education

(Draft 9/28/2016 by Jason Whitney)

Introduction to this Guide

The Schreyer Honors College’s website contains information about the Honors Thesis, including a Project Guide, a Formatting Guide, and a Submission Guide.  It also contains information about the Outstanding Thesis Award.  Students should also take a look at past theses that have been compiled in the Honors Thesis Archive, taking special care to find work that has been completed in their own subject areas.

Author’s note:  This guide is meant to provide a resource to Scholars.  It is not intended to override the guidance of Honors Advisers in our College, who are entirely entrusted with overseeing their advisees’ theses.

I would like to acknowledge the Department of History and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for their trailblazing thesis guides; both have proven very helpful. 

This guide is meant to be a work in progress, and if anyone in the College of Education would like to offer input or to make any suggestions, feel free to contact Jason Whitney at

The Thesis

The Schreyer Honors College defines the thesis as a scholarly piece of writing in which the writer is expected to show a command of the relevant scholarship in his (or her) field and contribute to the scholarship. It should confront a question that is unresolved and push towards a resolution.

Since scholars in the College of Education engage in a wide range of programs and courses of study, this guide is preliminary and does not attempt to encapsulate the needs of all the programs that the COE offers:  In the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, students major in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English/Communication, Languages (French, German, Latin, Russian, or Spanish), Mathematics, Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Environmental Education, General Science, or Physics) and Social Studies.  The Department of Education and Public Policy offers a Bachelor of Science in Education and Public Policy.  The Department of Rehabilitation and Human Services offers a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Human Services.  The Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education offers a Bachelor of Science in Special Education as well as a Master’s of Education and a Master’s of Science.  The Department of Education, Theory and Policy offers a Master’s in Educational Theory and Policy.  Each of these programs has its own research traditions, and the Scholar’s adviser can best speak to what type of research is the best fit for a project. 

Be sure to meet with your faculty thesis adviser to discuss accepted guidelines for your thesis area.

“It should confront a question that is unresolved…”

Past Scholars in the College of Education have approached a wide range of questions.  Sometimes, they are exploring a wondering.  At other times, they are responding to a conflict that exists within the research literature.  Often, situations arise in their teaching practice that they proceed to investigate.  In some cases, they find some issue deeply troubling that they hope to understand better, or they seek a means of enacting meaningful systemic changes.  The range in topics and methodologies represented in the 18 examples below is extraordinarily vast, and a testament to the many varieties of educational research.  In addition, faculty have nominated a few truly outstanding theses as outstanding, and those appear near the end of the list, under “Outstanding Theses.”


Hannah Mincemoyer (SECED) in her “Collobaration Practices and Attitudes Among Peers in Cyber Charter Classrooms” administered a survey to students in a cyber charter science courses and found that there is much room for improvement in creating positive peer-to-peer interactions in this online environment.

Eric Tarosky (SECED), in his “Recruitment and Retention of Highly Qualified Teaching Candidates for At-risk Populations,” discussed the circumstances in urban schools that make them less desirable places to work and detailed strategies that have been implemented to combat attrition, and he analyzes the effectiveness of various strategies to recruit and retain qualified faculty to staff inner-city schools. 

Catherine Johnson (EDTHP), in her “Bringing Autonomy Back to the School Level:  A Descriptive Analysis of the Philadelphia School Redesign Initiative,” used interview data to explore the strategies used by the redesign team help three Philadelphia schools reach various goals.

Amy Norton (SECED), in her “Teacher, Writer, Person:  How Teacher Identity Informs Writing Instruction,” she explored how her own experiences -- in life, in writing, and in teaching, revealing the identities that people bring with them to the classroom.  She distills these lessons into three “rules” for writing instruction to be successful:  you must write what is on your heart, you must write the truth, and you must struggle in your writing.

Dan Snare (SECED), in his Bridging the Gap:  “Providing Effective Instruction for English Language Learners in the ELL Classroom” conducted an extensive literature review bolstered by interview data.  He found that the best way to support ELLs in the Social Studies classroom is by increasing the accessibility of the social studies content, placing an emphasis on culturally relevant pedagogy, and creating a classroom environment that welcomes learners of all levels and backgrounds.

Abigail Reinhard (SECED) wrote “Exchanged,” a work of fiction following the life of a young Irish-American teenager who attempts to solve a mystery and unlock the secrets of her past – she prefaced her piece with a discussion of her writing process and the inspiration for her fiction.


Katharine Gillen’s (SECED) “Identity and Empowerment: An Educational Philosophy Manifesto” asks how she as a teacher can use literature to best help her students create “their own definitions of and theories about the way the world works.” 

Aaron Ingham’s (C & I) “The Los Olmos Project:  Benefits for Today, Costs for Tomorrow” attempts to predict various costs associated with a massive irrigation project in Peru.

Sarah Krepps’ (SECED) “Computers:  Engaging or Just for Entertainment” examined the impact of using computers in two Advanced English 10 classrooms.  By collecting a variety of data, including teacher observations, journal reflections, and results of student activities, she analyzed the effect of classroom computers on student engagement.

Jeffery McMahon’s (SECED) “Problem-solving Abilities Among First-Year Undergraduate Students with Qualifying AP Calculus Exam Scores” examined “the problem-solving abilities of first-year undergraduate students who achieved qualifying scores on the AP Calculus AB Exam in order to determine to what extent and in what combination the problem-solving influences of adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, and established experience are employed in task solving.”

Hannah Nellis’ (C & I) “The Effects of Whole Brain Teaching Strategies in the General Education Classroom” explored the effects of WBT (Whole Brain Teaching) strategies on teachers and students in the general education classroom, specifically regarding on-task behavior during whole-group instruction and recall of information after the lesson.

Emma Pebley’s (EPP) “Standardized Testing in the 1960s and 1970s: Exploring the Impact on Today’s Educational Climate” looks into the historical roots of standardized testing, and their “social and political contexts” as a basis for examining “the testing situation of today’s (2010) education” and examines if, how, and to what extent conditions have changed.

Heather Schooley’s (C & I) “Student-Centered Instruction in the Elementary Classroom” arose out observations she made student-teaching in Sweden and how her experience related to current (2012) research on student-centered learning in the elementary classroom.

Heather Smith’s (C & I) “High Stakes Educational Testing in the United States: Trends, Consequences and Issues” examines the affordances and liabilities associated with standardized testing.

Cecelia Tang’s (SECED) “Creating a Problem-Based Learning Unit: How Curriculum Development Affects Science Teacher’s Understandings of Reform-Based Pegagogies” “contributes to work in creating a practice-based definition of inquiry science teaching.”  In interviews with subjects and through an analysis of problem-based biology curricula, she sought “to understand changes in teachers’ goals for and perceived limitations of PBL,” and she analyzed the curricula “for alignment with inquiry-science pedagogies.”

Leanne Walter’s (SECED) “Technology in High School Classrooms and Preparation for College Mathematics” “examines the correlation between technology students identify as having been used in their high school mathematics classrooms and self-reported performance and confidence of calculus students at the university level.”

Jane Buck’s (K-ELEM) “Make a PAWS-itive Difference: Exploring Service-Learning in Kindergarten” describes “the processes of service-learning within a kindergarten setting and discuss whether my current group of kindergarteners found success with service-learning.”

Sarah Bunch’s (PK-K) “Support Services for At-Risk Students in Rural Schools” reviewed relevant literature to analyze the presence and effectiveness of support services for at-risk students in rural schools across the nation and world.

Kristin Burnett’s (SECED) “Art-Integrated Social Studies Method: Integration of Art in the Social Studies Classroom through Adaptation of Discipline-Based Art Education” examines art-integrated social studies methods adapted from the Discipline-Based Art Education method (DBAE).  Art-integrated social studies is concerned with how to apply art history, art criticism, and aesthetics to historical study.

Cameron Butler’s (SPLED) “Intrinsic Motivation on Mathematics Achievement for Struggling Students” studies the intrinsic motivation of students struggling with math, and “attempts to link achievement to differing factors that effect intrinsic motivation.”

Chelsea Cameron’s (EDPSYCH) “A Taxonomy of Instructional Representations in History Instruction” examines how “already available” textbooks can be adapted to serve the demands of inquiry- based history instruction.

Sarah Coletta’s (EDPSYCH) “Technology Use in Secondary Mathematics Education: Is There a Socio-Economic Status Divide?” “examines whether there are differences in instructional technology choices in Pennsylvania secondary mathematics education based on school poverty-level and pressure to succeed on state standardized assessments.”

Christine Crain’s (EPP) “The Purposes of Education in the United States: Origins, Conflicts, and Common Ground” examines the dynamic interaction of the academic, economic, democratic and societal purposes of education, as well as the influence of policy on those purposes.

Katherine Curran’s (SECED) “How To Create Authentic Writing in the Classroom: A Comparative Study of American and Swedish Public School Students” explored how the theory of Penny Kittle and James Burke might help her better practice “teaching strategies that will improve student writing in every sense: the desire to write, the enjoyment of writing, the act of revision, and the final product.”

Since Scholars sometimes pursue interdisciplinary courses of study, consider the following interdisciplinary thesis:

Kathleen Buckley’s (SECED/ History): Segregation in U.S. Public Schools: The Legal Dismantling of the "Separate but Equal" Doctrine by Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans “seeks to examine the historical forces that justified the “separate but equal” doctrine established by the 1896 Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson and shows how “through durable bonds among lawyers, community groups, and parents of school-age children, the precedent-setting cases of Mendez v. Westminster and Tape v. Hurley as well as other lesser-known state- and federal-level cases, successfully dismantled segregation in U.S. public schools in 1954 with the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education.”

“the writer is expected to show a command of the relevant scholarship…”

Any thesis requires a review of the literature surrounding the topic in order to position findings within a (preexisting) research context.  PSU’s Writing Center offers a how-to about writing Literature Reviews.  The guide contains helpful information about the purpose of a lit review and some characteristics of an effective lit review.  It outlines the steps of an effective lit review process.  It helps you plan the type of lit review you are going to write, and provides guidelines as to which materials to use.  It makes a distinction between writing a summary and a synthesis, and it shows ways to compare and critique studies.  It offers suggestions about how to balance summary with analysis of concepts, and different patterns you might use to organize and conclude your lit review.  Lastly, it provides guidelines for how to make appropriate citations, showing how to use in-text citations and showing proper ways of employing paraphrase and direct quotations.

A good place to begin finding relevant research is by identifying the key words and search terms that are associated with the project.  Sometimes this requires taking a question and identifying how to phrase the question in terms that are searchable in library databases, by breaking the question into its components and experimenting with synonyms of concepts.

While gathering research, students planning to cite a large number of works may find it worthwhile to familiarize themselves with Zotero, a research tool that automatically senses content on your browser, allowing you to add it to your “library” of personal content with a single click.  Later, this also helps generate lists of works cited (in a variety of formats, such as APA) very quickly.

“it should push toward a resolution…"

“Pushing forward” can mean a number of things.  A “resolution” need not create a generalizable set of laws that hold true across time or isolate variables or claim to have been conducted experimentally under laboratory conditions, etc. Frequently the qualitative nature of educational research means that few studies claim that their findings are unchallengeable.  Some studies even acknowledge that the results were disappointing or the methodology flawed to such an extent that the thesis is not especially successful; even if this were the case, the thesis could possibly be “saved” (and made useful) by a well-reasoned explanation of how the researcher might approach the project differently if given the chance.  Many of the better inquiry-based projects have ended in just such a way.  Even those theses that are experimental in nature and which employ quantitative methods often acknowledge that their findings are known imperfectly, and they express various limitations of their findings and their study.  Regardless, all theses should under no circumstances “doctor” their data or force an argument that just isn’t supported by the evidence.  Also, responsible scholarship involves acknowledging various weaknesses that are present in the thesis (through bias, small sample sizes, errors in data collection, and so forth).    

Here are some examples of writings by Scholars that exemplify a “push toward a resolution:”

Sarah Coletta’s abstract signals that she has verified her initial hypothesis, though notice she proceeds tentatively (with language like “suggests” and “may be”): “Overall, this [thesis] suggests that there may be some instructional differences in technology use in Pennsylvania secondary mathematics education based on school poverty level and locale.” 

In her abstract, Kate Gillen concludes her “manifesto” with a lively position statement:  “As educators, we must remember that learning is an active verb, and therefore it is our responsibility to ensure that every student has a variety of opportunities to engage with the world in which we live, and therefore grow into successful people.”

In his abstract, Cameron Butler acknowledges that he has made a beginning but that there is more to be uncovered:  “This study calls for more research on the subject and is the beginning of the conversation as to how intrinsic motivation may effect achievement differently for students who struggle in mathematics versus the traditional focus groups of standard achieving students.”

Kristen Burnett’s piece is explanatory, and thus her abstract ends by explaining that “the [art-integrated social studies] method is intended to provide more tools to strengthen the use of systematic, evidence-based reasoning focusing on historically significant questions and universal themes in the pre-collegiate classroom.”

Sarah Bunch’s piece is an extended literary review, and thus her abstract announces the main commonalities in the articles that she analyzed:  “Three support services were prevalent throughout all six studies. These support services are the use of parental involvement, involvement in and connection between school and community activities, and the recruitment and support of highly qualified specialized teachers.”

In her abstract, Leanne Walter announces that she has discovered a correlation between her variables, advances some possible implications of that finding, while also announcing that she has only made a beginning, and that more study will be needed to further test her findings:  “Correlations between technology use in high school and self-reported confidence or performance were calculated and an ANOVA was performed on the three groups of technology users and their scores in the areas of confidence and performance. The results show there are instances when the technology in high school could be beneficial to university students and other instances when perhaps it is not. Much more research needs to be done, however, to give any weight to the findings in this study.”

Sample Sections of Honors Theses:

Although most theses differ slightly in their presentation, notice that within the genre of an Honors thesis there are logical sequences and several features that they have in common.  When writing the thesis, authors employ a range of ways of conceptualizing each section, so the terminology that writers employ varies considerably.  Perhaps you may find this outline useful to organize your thesis, and you would be wise to consult with your advisor about his/her expectations for each of the following sections.

  1. Introduction (Some call this a “statement of problem,” others call this “background, context, and need for study.”  Some employ personal reflection, asking themselves how they got interested in their project, by identifying who they are and in what context they are working (classroom, summer reading camp, etc.) and which relevant experiences in their backgrounds informs their study.  They seek to answer the question, “What is the problem or area of interest I have identified, and why is this inquiry important to understand?”)  Some call this “writing the rationale.”
  2. Literature Review (sometimes writers choose to place the research question here.  This section answers the question, “What relevant research better helps one understand the problem/ are of interest?”  Above all, this section contains a review of the chosen sources that the author is employing, thus “locating the problem/ area of interest within a research context.”  For nontraditional theses, authors present research that might increase the justification for the approach that they are using.
  3. Methods (Called variously “methods used,” “methodology,” “procedures and methodology,” “approach/methodology,” this section asks you to detail how you went about investigating/ intervening in the problem/ area of interest and what sorts of data were collected.  In nontraditional theses, such as personal manifestos, this is usually where the author argues for the legitimacy and need for nontraditional thesis/ nontraditional methodology/ nontraditional form of representation (i.e. autoethnography, graphic novel, personal manifesto, collection of artifacts, etc.), and explains how thesis comprises a scholarly pursuit befitting the mission of the SHC.
  4. Findings (Some call this “results minus findings,” “data analysis,”  “analysis of the results of the sustained inquiry into the problem/topic,” or simply “data collected.”   In some nontraditional theses, this section is some sort of presentation.
  5. Conclusion (Authors sometimes choose between calling this “conclusions,” “reflection of significance of findings,” “discussion of results,” “interpretation of results,” or “implications/ shortcomings/ continued wonderings surrounding the project.”  In nontraditional theses, a discussion of the implications of the findings and the value of the project/ form of representations the project used.  In any case, the section explores the project’s significance.  Most authors will discuss the limitations of their study, and some will declare their project an outright failure, but some of these can nonetheless be very successful if they identify more appropriate research questions and/or more appropriate methodology, and they demonstrate the “push to understanding” that is part of the definition of the Honors thesis
  6. List of Works Cited
  7. Appendix/ Appendices  These sections are typically where writers include such additional material as charts and tables, artifacts of student work, photos and other illustrations, etc. that if placed in one of the above sections would detract from the reader’s experience.

Sample Timeline(s):

Since the College of Education has so many majors with so many different courses of study, a timeline would need to be written for each Department within the College.  Should any College wish to create such suggested timelines for Honors Scholars, we would publish it in this section. 

Many majors in the College of Education must engage in a period of student teaching or similar practicum, usually in their final semester(s) of the program.  Since this is an extraordinarily busy (and exhausting) time, it is strongly advised to enter such a semester having made significant headway on the thesis.  For that reason, the College offers a Thesis Writing Course in the fall, with details below.

Outstanding Theses Examples

(faculty: please suggest additional examples)

All the following theses are outstanding in the opinion of an Honors Faculty member.  This is not to detract from other theses that are not on the list.  Consider this list an attempt to simply provide a short list of quality examples. 

  • Dodd, C. (2013). "Will" power:  engaging reluctant 21st century readers with Shakespeare.Retrieved from
  • Fitzgerald, M. (2007) Competing Voices of Student Writing: Creative and Academic.  (Honors Thesis).  Retrieved from ?? (a year-long field-based action research study, with the following description:

Maura Fitzgerald’s Competing Voices of Student Writing, Creative and Academic (2007) was written in the secondary PDS at State High (SecEd/ Communication) and was nominated for the Douglas and Regina Evans Award for Research Achievement.  She undertook a year-long, field-based action research study which impacted over 100 students that participated in her teacher research.  Ms. Fitzgerald’s research is itself marked by a unique combination of creative and academic voices, and her self-reflective understanding that her own writing is bound by the same rhetorical issues as her students’ writing is one of the unique strengths of her thesis work.  This bond between teacher and students within the struggle to write well, and to write meaningfully, contributes to her success as a teacher researcher.  She wants so much for her students to develop their own unique voices and to discover what each finds important to say about the world, not just in creative writing genres, but most importantly in essay and academic genres that account for the vast majority of writing in school and society.  She also realizes the importance of convention, and the reliance on standardization that provides the basis for large-scale national and state assessments of student writing abilities.  Her thesis explores all of these contextual issues as it examines how to build a rhetorical context for student writing instruction that doesn’t sacrifice either the creative or academic voices. )

Suggested Reading List for Thesis Writers, Suggested by Honors Faculty in the College of Education

(Faculty: please feel free to add to this list)

  • Chiseri-Strater, Elizabeth, and Bonnie S. Sunstein. What Works?: A Practical Guide for Teacher Research. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006. -- suggested by Dr. Jamie Myers, Professor of Education, Secondary Education, English; Director, English PDS at State High, for its strength in detailing inquiry and that process.
  • Goodson, Patricia. Becoming an Academic Writer: 50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful Writing. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, 2013 and Shagoury, Ruth, and Brenda Miller Power. Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher-Researchers. York, Me: Stenhouse Publishers, 1999. -- suggested by Dr. Anne Whitney, Associate Professor of Education, SecEd English/ LCS
  • Shagoury, Ruth, and Brenda Miller Power. Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher-Researchers. York, Me: Stenhouse Publishers, 1999.

Suggested by Anne Whitney, Associate Professor of Education, Secondary Education, English/LCS

  • University of Missouri-Columbia Science and Mathematics Academy for the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers (SMAR2T); Action Research Project Requirements. (2009).  Retrieved from ??

A good guide for those interested in action research --Suggested by Dr. Fran Arbaugh, Associate Professor of Education, Secondary Education, Mathematics

Consider taking the College of Education’s Thesis Writing Course:

Offered Fall Semesters (as of 2016): CI 497C: IUG And Honors Thesis Writing Workshop, Currently in line for Curricular Affairs Approval of new courses, if approved will be CI 444H.

Unique to the College of Education are courses that are designed to support Schreyer Scholars in their undergraduate research.  Periodically an undergraduate-level Introduction to Educational Research is offered (probably in Spring).

Consider enrolling in this thesis writing workshop during Fall semester, where regularly scheduled assignments help take you through the process of creating a draft of your thesis.  The course asks questions such as.

Syllabus CI 497 (CI 444H)


CI 497:  Special Topics: Writing for IUG and Honors Scholars

Fall 2016

Instructor:  Jason Whitney

Purpose:  The purpose of this course is to support IUG/ Reading Specialist MEd students in writing their Masters theses as well as Schreyer Honors Scholars writing their Honors theses. 

The course provides an overview to the conventions of academic writing, and divides a major task into manageable sections.  This class walks students through each section, provides models, and engages students in the actual practice of writing.  Substantial working time is dedicated to writing the thesis.  Students often have more faith in their ability to structure writing time into their week than is actually warranted.  This course provides structured writing time, and students work in close proximity to other writers and to instructor feedback.

Philosophy:  This class is designed to be non-evaluative of students’ writing, and emphasizes process over product.  Performance is based largely on how well students use the time provided each week, and how well they meet scheduled deadlines for sections of their paper.  The course is entirely formative in its assessment, and the summative assessment is based on the steadiness of the aggregated formative events.  The class is meant to provide conversations in support of writing, and as such calls for students to be generative and not constrain their writing processes by too much perfectionism too early in the process.  When one section is covered, students move on and leave the previous section behind, with the goal of producing a highly imperfect and partial draft.  The affordances of this non-evaluative spirit is mainly in the generation of writing, and the quality of the revised final products is often vastly superior to those of students who write their theses without support.

Evaluation and Grading:

Evaluation is based on 90 points total for the completion of a draft for each section plus 10 points that evaluate your feedback and citizenship in workshop: 

Draft 1:  Developing topics and research questions.  (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)

Draft 2:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)

Draft 3:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)

Draft 4:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review plus methodology/data collection section (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)

Draft 5:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review plus methodology/data collection section plus findings/discussion section (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)

Draft 6:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review plus methodology/data collection section plus findings/discussion section plus conclusion and references (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)

10 points=  Points evaluating participation

8/24 -- Crafting Questions and Proposing a Project


What kinds of experiences have we had as writers? 

What are some models of IUGs and Honors theses?

Thesis Guides                      

Name game

Course overview. 

Workshop “work time” expectations.

Brainstorm and clarify rough proposal.   Generate a list of areas:  What educational  topics are you wondering about, or interested in, or that trouble you?

In groups, Trying out new strategy:  What personal experiences give rise to your areas of interest?  What were the “critical instances”?  Is it a “wondering” or an aggravation?  Can you voice an aggravation angrily enough to find out what exactly is bothering you within the topic?

3.  Generate additional questions about your areas of interest, examine those questions (Pair/share)

4.  Force yourself to recraft your inquiry question as a how or what question. 

DUE for 8/24:  Nothing -- first day of class.


8/31 -- Looking at models

How long are these theses?

What arguments are made?  Who is the audience?  What voice are they using?  

Are they in APA format?  Do they have sections?  How many readings are cited?  What types of sources are they citing?  Where are these citations?

1.             Discuss theses: What can we learn from these models?

2.             Looking at the Outline and delineating sections.

3.             Considering topics in depth, beginning to think about introductions, explaining who we are and how we came to care about our topics.             Both IUGs and SHC Scholars read several model theses that are provided (a separate list for Schreyer Honors Scholars and IUGS will be available on Canvas) and decide which thesis is closest to the type of work you might want to do.  Outline that one thesis’ content for an in-class activity. 

DUE for 8/31:  Find three example IUG Masters papers or Honors Theses to analyze as models and read them through before class. 


9/7 -- Learning about writing, writing introductions – in class, finish writing topics and research questions, submit at end of class

How do we get independent academic work done?

How do we deal with negative self-talk?

Discuss Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird 116-121 “Radio Station KFKD” and 21-26 “On Writing Shitty First Drafts” (on Canvas)

Discuss negative self-talk

2.  What are Goodson’s strategies for academic writing?

3.  Re-emphasize the nonevaluative setting and conversations in support of writing.

4.  Discuss Goodson chapter seven and her advice on introductions, constructing the rationale, the theoretical frame, etc.       

DUE on 9/7:  

By beginning of class: 

Read Patricia Goodson’s Becoming an Academic Writer:  50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful Writing Chapter 2 (On Canvas)

Read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird 116-121 “Radio Station KFKD”

Read:  21-26 “On Writing Shitty First Drafts”

Read Goodson Chapter 7 (On Canvas)


9/14 -- Work on introductory section in class

Due before class on 9/14 [TURN IN:  Draft 1:  Developing topics and research questions.  (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section) – submit to folder on Canvas]


9/21 -- Finding sources for Lit review

How do we read in a way that is inquiring and synthesizes understandings?  How do we locate our inquiry within a research context?

How might we shape our inquiry questions?  How do we find readings on our topic?  1.     Research skills:  In class we develop search terms (pairs) then find readings. 

Jason circulates as sources are discovered and helps locate resources for topics.

2.  Before beginning lit review, considering signal phrases and active verbs in lit review.    (See handout on Canvas)

3.  Citation resources (for APA 6th) Follow the “Locating Sources” guide on Canvas.  Locate sources and work on lit review.

Due by end of class:  List of sources

Due before class on 9/21 [TURN IN:  Draft 2:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)]  -- submit to folder on Canvas]


9/28 -- Reading and summarizing for lit review

How do we make an argument vs. “just saying some things”?

Work time is spent acquiring additional sources and writing the lit review as Jason helps    Continue to work on lit review.

Due for 9/28:  Read articles and books and summarize to stay on pace to complete the lit review. 


10/5 -- Writing the lit review       

Due for 10/5: Read articles and books and summarize to stay on pace to complete the lit review. 


10/12 -- Writing the lit review

Due on 10/12 Read articles and books and summarize to stay on pace to complete the lit review. 


10/19 -- How do we write the data collection/methodology section?   Start writing data collection/ methodology section

2. Write the context section of your practicum or other situation in which you will collect or have collected your data.

3. Work time:  Write data methodology section and take turns consulting with Jason.            

Due before class on 10/19: TURN IN: Draft 3:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review (graded 1-25 points, based on completion of section)


10/26 -- Writing the data collection and methodology section

Due on 10/26:  Continue to write the data and methodology section to stay on schedule.


11/2 -- How do we write the results/findings/discussion section? Discuss Goodson reading. Questioning the results/findings.  Begin writing the Findings/Discussion section

4.  New strategy:  Connecting the dots:  Other research pps.  187-88

5.  New strategy: Guide your reader into the future pp. 192-4 10 min plus discussion

6.  New Strategy:  Confess your limitations

Work time:  Write your Results/ Findings/ Discussion sections   Read Goodson, Chapter 10 “Exercises for Writing the Discussion or Conclusion Section” 

Begin writing the Findings/ Discussion section

Due before class on 11/2 TURN IN:  Draft 4:  Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review plus methodology/data collection section (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)]


11/9 -- Continue to work on Results/ Findings/Discussion section

Due on 11/9 Work on results/ findings section to stay on schedule. 


11/11 -- How do we write a conclusion?  Begin writing conclusions

Due on 11/11 before class TURN IN:  Draft 5: Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review plus methodology/data collection section plus findings/discussion section (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)]


11/18 -- Writing conclusions

Due on 11/18:  Continue to write conclusions to stay on pace.




11/30 -- Citations and references/proofreading in class

Due on 11/30 Write conclusions and check references list to stay on pace


12/5 -- Last day to work, Final Drafts due at end of class

Due at end of class 12/5:  Draft 6= COMPLETE DRAFT= Developing topics and research questions plus writing an introductory section plus writing the lit review plus methodology/data collection section plus findings/discussion section plus conclusion and references (graded 1-15 points, based on completion of section)]



Attendance at course sessions is expected.  Students who know that they will need to miss a class session should contact the instructor in advance.  Multiple absences may reduce a final course grade.  Religious observances are not counted as absences, though observing students should inform the instructor ahead of time that they will not be present.

Statement of Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act:

If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services website at In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see the documentation guidelines at If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with the instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester.

Academic Integrity:

This course adheres to University Senate Policy 49-20: “Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner, serving as a basic guiding principle for all academic activity. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.” Unless explicitly directed otherwise by the instructor, all assignments are expected to be the student’s own original work completed individually without collaboration. Violations of this code of conduct can result in reduced grades and can be reported to the College or University for further action.  For further information, see:



Blachman, N. and Peek, J. (2014) Selecting Search Terms. Retrieved from

BMB Honors thesis policy.  (Accessed 2014) Retrieved from

Buck, J. (2013) Make a PAWS-itive difference: Exploring service-learning in kindergarten (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Buckley, K. (2013) Segregation in U.S. Public Schools: The legal dismantling of the "Separate but Equal" doctrine by Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Bunch, S. (2013)  Support services for at-risk students in rural schools (Honors thesis) Retrieved from

Burnett, K. (2010) Art-integrated social studies method: Integration of art in the social studies classroom through adaptation of discipline-based art education (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Butler, C.  (2014) Intrinsic motivation on mathematics achievement for struggling students (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Cameron, C. (2011) A taxonomy of instructional representations in history instruction (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Chiseri-Strater, Elizabeth, and Bonnie S. Sunstein. What Works?: A Practical Guide for Teacher Research. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006. 

Coletta, S. (2010)  Technology use in secondary mathematics education: Is there a socio-economic status divide? (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Crain, C.  (2012) The purposes of education in the United States: Origins, conflicts, and common ground (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Curran, K.  (2010) How To Create Authentic Writing in the Classroom: A Comparative Study of American and Swedish Public School Students (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Dodd, C. (2013). "Will" power:  engaging reluctant 21st century readers with Shakespeare. (Honors Thesis). Retrieved from

Fitzgerald, M. (2007) Competing Voices of Student Writing: Creative and Academic.  (Honors Thesis). (unpublished)

Gillen, K. (2009). Identity and empowerment: An educational philosophy manifesto (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Goodson, Patricia. Becoming an Academic Writer: 50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful     Writing. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, 2013. Guidelines & Schedule of Key Dates for the Department of History Honors Thesis.  (2014) Retrieved from

Honors Thesis. (2014) Retrieved from

Ingham, A. (2010). The Los Olmos Project:  Benefits for today, costs for tomorrow (Honors thesis). Retrieved from

Johnson, C. (2016).  Bringing autonomy back to the school level:  A descriptive analysis of the Philadelphia School Redesign Initiative.  Retrieved from

Krepps, S. (2010) Computers:  Engaging or just for entertainment? (Honors thesis). Retrieved from

McMahon, J. (2011) Problem-solving abilities among first-year undergraduate students with qualifying AP Calculus Exam scores (Honors thesis) Retrieved from

Mincemoyer, H. (2014) Collaboration practices and attitudes among peers in cyber charter classrooms (Honors thesis). Retrieved from

Nellis, H.  (2014) The effects of Whole Brain Teaching strategies in the general education classroom (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Norton, A. (2016) Teacher, writer, person:  How teacher identities inform writing instruction (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Pebley, E.  (2010) Standardized testing in the 1960s and 1970s: Exploring the impact on today’s educational climate (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Reinhard A. (2016) Exchanged (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Schooley, H. (2012) Student-centered instruction in the elementary classroom (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Shagoury, Ruth, and Brenda Miller Power. Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher-Researchers. York, Me: Stenhouse Publishers, 1999.

Smith, H. (2011) High stakes educational testing in the United States: Trends, consequences and issues (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Snare, D. (2016) Providing effective instruction for English Language Learners in the ELL classroom (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Strategies for Writing Literature Reviews. (2014) Retrieved from

Tang, C. (2009) Creating a problem-based learning unit: How curriculum development affects science teachers’ understandings of reform-based pegagogies (Honors thesis).  Retrieved from

Tarosky, E. (2014) Recruitment and retention of highly qualified teaching candidates for at-risk populations (Honors thesis). Retrieved from

University of Missouri-Columbia Science and Mathematics Academy for the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers (SMAR[1]T); Action Research Project Requirements.  (2009). Retrieved from ??

Walter, L. (2010) Technology in high school classrooms and preparation for college mathematics (Honors thesis). Retrieved from

Zotero. (2014) Retrieved from