Spring 2014 Senior Seminar syllabus

Course Number: 

1465 IDS 4522 Senior Seminar
Spring 2014
Jennifer Long, Ph.D.
Troutt 317
Office Hours: MWF 8-8:30; TTh 8-11 and 1-2:30


 Course Description

Senior Seminar is the capstone of the IDS Core Curriculum. The course allows each student to design an independent research project that showcases their understanding of some interdisciplinary topic. While the project can take many different forms, according to the topic chosen and the relative creativity of the student, it will at least include a 20 page formal academic paper.



Each student will submit a formal research proposal which will serve as a guide for the rest of the semester. The proposal should include the following information:

·         An email address that you regularly check; this will be used to inform you when assignments are ready to be returned and to arrange meetings with the instructor

·         Your major area of study

·         The proposed topic for your project

·         An explanation of why you have chosen this particular topic

·         A rationale for why this topic meets the interdisciplinary criteria of the course

·         The research methods you intend to use

If the proposal is accepted, you will begin your preliminary research. The proposal may also be returned to you for revision, or rejected if the topic does not meet the course requirements. In that case, you will propose another topic.

The proposal should be submitted during the student's first scheduled meeting with the professor, and electronically to turnitin.com by the first meeting. The turnitin.com class id is 7471596, and the password to register is "research."

Discussion Meetings

Each student will sign up for a weekly meeting time with the professor. These 30 minute time blocs will be used to submit and discuss assignments, discuss research issues, and solve any problems that arise.

Research Journal

During the weeks when no “official” assignment is due, you will submit a two page, informal summary of the work that you are doing. You may write about the status of your research, a particular source that interested you, a difficulty you have encountered, etc., to demonstrate that you are actively working on the project.

Research journals should be submitted during the student's scheduled appointment with the professor.

Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a useful tool for keeping track of your sources and deciding which are useful for your final project. An annotated bibliography not only lists the sources that you have identified in your research, but briefly summarizes the information included in each source. You should include everything that you have looked at; even resources that you have decided are not suitable for your final project.

·         Your annotated bibliography should include at least 10 academic sources

·         For information about annotated bibliographies, see the Purdue Online Writing Lab at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/1/

·         Obviously, there may be additional sources included in your final paper that you find after the annotated bibliography is due, and some of the sources that you liked at this time may not end up in your final paper. That’s fine.

·         A note on acceptable and unacceptable sources: All sources must be academic in nature. This means that under no circumstances will un-reviewed internet sources be acceptable (Wikipedia, about.com, etc.). The best place to begin looking for academic sources is at Nash Library, through their electronic databases. But be careful: not all of those sources are peer-reviewed. If in doubt, ask a research librarian or the professor. 

Annotated bibliographies should be turned in during the scheduled meeting with the professor the week it is due.


About half way through the semester, you will turn in a preliminary outline of your paper. This is to make sure that you’re not only thinking about your paper as a whole, but also about its structure and the actual argument that you are making.

·         For information about outlines, see the Purdue Online Writing Lab at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/1/

·         Your outline should include a thesis statement.

·         It’s very possible that the structure of your final paper will be different from this outline. That’s okay—this is an intermediate organizational tool.

Outlines should be submitted at the regularly scheduled meeting time with the professor the week that it is due.

First Draft

The first draft should be at least 10 pages (hopefully more) and include a works cited page. The draft should be as complete as possible so that I can give as much helpful feedback as possible.

First drafts should be submitted during the student's regularly scheduled meeting with the professor the week that it is due. It  must also be submitted to turnitin.com (class ID: 7471596; password: research)

Final Paper

Your final project will:

·         Be interdisciplinary in some fashion—the research may not be only from your major or any one academic discipline

·         Be at least 20 pages in length

·         Be written in formal academic style, following MLA format (or another academic style, subject to approval)

·         Include a Works Cited page

·         Be submitted in paper form to my office during that week's regularly scheduled meeting time

·         Be submitted to turnitin.com on that same day

·         Use academic sources only

·         Use at least 15 academic sources


The course grade will be determined by the quality of the final project, and by how well the paper conforms to the standards and guidelines outlined immediately above. The grade for the final paper (A, B, C, D, or F) will be adjusted further according to how well the student met the other course assignments:

·         If the proposal was not submitted, the final paper grade will be reduced by one letter grade (if the proposal is late, the reduction will be one half letter grade)

·         If fewer than 8 scheduled weekly meetings are attended, the final paper grade will be reduced by one letter grade

·         If fewer than 6 research journals are submitted, the final paper grade will be reduced by one letter grade 

·         If the annotated bibliography is not submitted, the final paper grade will be reduced by one letter grade (if the bibliography is late, the reduction will be one half letter grade)

·         If the outline is not submitted, the final paper grade will be reduced by one letter grade (if the outline is late, the reduction will be one half letter grade)

·         If the first draft is not submitted, the final paper grade will be reduced by two letter grades (if the first draft is late, the reduction will be one letter grade)

·         These reductions are additive

·         A grade of "incomplete" will be given only in the direst of circumstances. A grade of Withdraw Passing may be given at any time, however

Schedule/Important Dates

Week 1:  ending January 17

·         initial class meeting according to the University course schedule

·         sign up for weekly meeting time with professor

Week 2: ending January 24

·         Proposal due

·         first weekly meeting with professor

Week 3: ending January 31

·         second weekly meeting with professor

·         first research journal due

Week 4: ending February 7

·         third weekly meeting with professor

·         second research journal due

Week 5: ending February 14

·         fourth weekly meeting with professor

·         annotated bibliography due

Week 6: ending February 21

·         fifth weekly meeting with professor

·         third research journal due

Week 7: ending February 28

·         preliminary outline due

Week 8: ending March 7

·         sixth weekly meeting with professor

·         fourth research journal due

Week 9: ending March 14

·         seventh weekly meeting with professor

·         fifth research journal due

Week 10: ending March 28

·         eighth weekly meeting with professor

·         first draft due

Week 11: ending April 4

·         ninth weekly meeting with professor

·         sixth research journal due

Week 12: ending April 11

·         tenth weekly meeting with professor

·         seventh research journal due

Week 13: ending April 18

·         final paper due


Statement on Academic Integrity

            Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this or any other class on campus. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: Plagiarism; Fabrication; Cheating; Forgery and Altering Documents (see your Student Handbook for definitions of all). All instances of dishonesty will be result in penalty without exception. The maximum penalty for the first offense is a grade of "F" for the course and the incident will be reported to the Academic Vice President for inclusion in the student’s permanent university file. A second and all subsequent offenses (in any course across the university) may result in the student's expulsion from the university. We're really not kidding about this. Don't cheat. We mean it.