Research proposals are due on March 16, 2019, by 5 pm. Thesis proposals may be submitted in person or by email, fax, or mail to the Curricular Dean.
Completed Theses Deadline
Completed honors theses are due by 5 pm on April 18th of a student’s senior year.
Defining A Research Question
Consider a question that is centrally focused on the intersection of Culture and Politics (see our CULP Mission Statement). Your research should make a meaningful contribution to our understanding of the relation between Culture and Politics. For example, choose a topic that you have discovered in scholarly literature which you want to explore in more detail or a topic that emerges from theoretically sophisticated reflections on your own experiences.
Beginning with your initial proposal, you will need to be in regular conversation with your faculty mentor about your project. This may include periodic progress reports required by the CULP Honors Committee.
Define a clear and coherent theoretical framework in which to explore your topic. It is ideal if you have taken a social science research methods course prior to application. If this is not possible, you will need to work closely with a faculty member to develop a coherent framework.
View a sample honors thesis proposal.
Institutional Review Board Approval
If any part of your research design involves research involving other people (interviews, surveys, etc.) and you think that you might want to publish the results of this research in the future in an article, book, report, or other documents that can be consulted by the general public, you must go through the IRB review process before your application.
Choosing a Faculty Mentor
Many professors do not respond to email inquiries as quickly as students wish they would. Before you email a professor you have never met:
Develop a list of potential research questions (see “defining the question”)
Read the professor’s own work on the topic
Identify sources you might utilize
To increase your chances of receiving a helpful and timely response, frame your initial message to a potential mentor with care. You need to show that you have already given your thesis question thought, and are now looking to the professor for guidance.
Introduce yourself and explain why you are writing and how you discovered that this professor might be the right mentor for your project.
Outline your research question(s) and the reasoning behind them. If you know your proposed project will require special skills (language ability, experience with statistics, etc.) make sure to tell the professor that you possess them. If you have already drafted a proposal, include it.
Describe briefly the research you have already done.
Ask for specific information. Has this question already been answered in the literature?
Are there enough resources locally to complete this project? Would it be better to approach this question from another angle? Does the professor have colleagues at Georgetown or elsewhere who might be helpful?
Explain the timeline – ask if the professor could get back to you in a given time frame. You may want to offer to call the professor during office hours if a personal conversation would be more useful than an e-mail exchange. If you have only a few weeks to develop your proposal, acknowledge that you are starting late, and ask whether the professor would be able to read a draft and provide comments soon enough for you to submit the final proposal on time.
Do not expect the professor to agree to be your mentor until you have given him or her an actual proposal.