Senior Thesis

Completion of a senior thesis is a graduation requirement for all Midland seniors. Thesis is the culmination of students' education at Midland, embodying the values of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and information literacy.  It is an opportunity for seniors to explore a topic of their choice, prepare a thesis paper, and present their research to the community. During experiential week in April, seniors complete an off-campus internship related to their thesis topic. In addition, some seniors petition to create a thesis project in their field of study. Thesis projects begin in the fall. Thesis papers begin in the spring.


Research Databases                                   Sample Thesis Papers 

Midland's Library Catalog                     MLA Sample Paper 

UCSB Davidson Library                           Thesis Statement                                                                                                                                              
SBCC Luria Library                                    Major Deadlines 2012

Class Expectations & Grading Policy:

  • Attendance & Initiative (25% of grade):
    • Check website and email for updates and assignments.
    • Meet with librarian daily for class.
    • Meet weekly with thesis advisor(s).
    • Show initiative and consistent effort to foster communication by checking in, seeking help, giving updates, asking questions, showing work samples, etc. 
  • Assignments are posted in the column to the right (75% of grade):
    • Senior thesis is an independent project -- Self-reliance, motivation, and personal / academic responsibility are required. 
    • Avoid plagiarism! Information and ideas must be properly cited. 
    • Ask questions, give honest feedback, support each other, and stay positive!  This is how we avoid stress...


Due Monday, 5/2/12
Show Karen a rough draft of your PowerPoint presentation.
    Final draft due Wed 5/9 so students can practice presentations in class.
    Symposium is Wed 5/16.
Final Draft Paper due Friday, 4/27/12
Final Paper Rubric - Staple to front of final paper with self evaluation complete

Assignment Calendar (last 7 weeks of school)
Monday, 4/23/12, we will upload papers to 

Due Friday, 4/18/12
    1) Please bring a fresh copy of your paper to class with edits complete.
    2) Staple Second Revision Rubric to the front & last week's packet to the back.
    3) Peer review with Kyle.
    4) Leave the new paper packet on my desk, to be returned to you Monday.
    5) Experiential Week journal and interviews are also due. 
          Please review the assignment below for requirements.

Due Monday, 4/16/12         
    1) Please bring a complete, printed copy of your paper to class, including the 
         works cited bibliography.      
    2) Fill out the First Revision Rubric  and staple it to the front.
    3) Staple the last graded draft to the back so editors can see changes.
    4) Give the packet to a faculty editor. Completed rubric us due in class Wed.

     Students will write thank you notes to Experiential Week hosts in class.      

Experiential Week Assignments:            
    • Interview (typed) due Friday, 4/20
      • Add interview as a citation to Noodle
      • Use quote, summary, or paraphrase from interview in paper
    • Journal (typed) due Friday, 4/20
      • Date and time started/finished
      • Where you went
      • What you did
      • Who you worked with
      • What you learned about your thesis, about yourself,                               about working with others
    • First Revision rubric due Wednesday, 4/18
      • Please include revised copy of your paper, works cited, and the last draft I edited for reference.
      • Fill out student comment on rubric and ask a faculty member to read/edit your paper and fill in the editor comment (Monday).
Due Friday, 3/27/12
       All seniors should show a complete draft of their research paper in class, including a    
       works cited list. We will work in interview questions for Experiential Week in class.

Due Friday, 3/23/12
-Paper Students
        First 6 pages of paper (draft)
        Current bibliography (annotations NOT required)
        Give an extra copy to your thesis advisor for editing (advisor log)
-Project Students
        Final assertion of your paper (draft should be 6-7 pages)
        Current bibliography (annotations not required)
        Give an extra copy to your advisor for editing (advisor log)

Due Friday, 3/16/12
-Draft first 3 pages of paper (introduction and first topic)
-For project student, please turn in assertion 2.

Due Friday, 3/9/12
- Paper Outline Handout

- Advisor Log: Share experiential week proposal and complete edits

Due Monday, 3/5/12
- 5 to 7 "worthy" sources (current, on topic, authoritative)
- Annotation = 1 paragraph including
            Brief summary of material
            Evaluation of academic credibility of content
            How will this information be used in your paper?
            Is is a primary or secondary source?
  • Write annotations in Noodle and use print/export option to print in the correct format. 
  • Thesis statement should answer your research question and introduce the main supporting topics you want to use as evidence.
  • See links above for examples.
Due Thursday, 3/1/12

- Print copy of your bibliography with 5 "worthy" academic sources: 
            Current, authoritative, clearly on topic
- Advisor log signed with recommendations noted:
            Action "share thesis concept paragraph" 
            Action "schedule weekly meeting time" with day & time noted

Paper students:
This week we will be learning active reading strategies to help students engage in books and articles productively.
        - Continue adding "worthy" sources to Noodle: Current, authoritative, on topic.
        - Try searching SIRS or other research databases, use advanced search.
        - Work on key terms list in research journal: narrowing terms, finding synonyms
            and official subject vocabulary, building terms together for advanced search 
Due 2/10/12  
   Thesis concept paragraph typed. We will start work on this Wed in class.

Project Students:
Experiential Week proposals were due last week!
    Work on paper edits and writing your next assertion.
    Work samples.

    Meet with Kyle for thesis. Bring binder, proposal, etc. 
    Assignments posted on the white board in the library. 
        Thesis paper students:
        - Review your Draft Thesis Proposal form with Karen in class.
        - Meet with faculty advisor to share your draft proposal.
        - Get Advisor Log signed (due Wednesday).
        - Read sample thesis papers and MLA sample paper posted left to get     
           an idea of what the a finished product looks like.
        - Start searching the library catalog or SIRS for sources related to 
           your topic. Keep a list of sources and terms you have searched.

        Thesis project students:
        - Experiential Week proposal due 2/1.
        - Work on paper edits and starting second assertion.
        - Use Advisor Log for weekly advisor meetings.

Fall Semester:

  • First 2-3 pages of your research paper - Due Jan. 27 
    • Final draft introduction and thesis statement with transitions.
    • First assertion and evidence from outline written in paragraph form (third person) with  in-text citations. 
    • Annotated Bibliography Evaluation Guide. 
    • The sample thesis papers to the left  may be helpful as completed examples of papers and bibliographies.
    • Please turn in a copy of the outline you are working from.
    • And a completed Paper Evaluation Guide with your draft.
*Semester ends Saturday, January 28
** Experiential Week Proposal due February 1


  • Draft outline for research paper - Due Dec. 2
    • Add 4 subtopics to each main topic in your outline and include the author or title of sources you will use for each subtopic.
    • Subtopics should directly support the topic.
    • Do you have enough information (books, articles, web sources in your bibliography) to start writing the body of your paper?
    • Meet with Michelle to find additional sources. You will need 10 sources (books, articles, and quality websites) in your final bibliography.
  • Are you meeting weekly with your thesis advisor?
  • Are you showing updated work samples?
Please check in with Michelle about beginning to plan your experiential week internship or volunteer commitment over break. Happy Holidays!

  • Draft thesis statement for research paper - Due Nov. 4
    • Read your thesis concept and underline the main argument or perspective that you want to present in your research paper.
    • A thesis statement is 1-2 lines in the opening paragraph of your paper that clearly present what your paper is going to be about. 
    • Craft thoughtful sentences that will interest your reader and set the tone of your paper. Present your thesis as fact, which you will prove in the body of the paper. Please do not write in the first person.
    • Your thesis needs to be specific enough that you can use it  build a clear paper outline with facts, research, and information to support your ideas.
    • Add your thesis statement to your project "dashboard" on Noodle.
    • Examples from the Purdue Online Writing Lab              
  •  Choose 3 main points to support your thesis statement - Due Nov. 11
    • Click on the notecards section of your project in Noodle. You will see the outline tool on the right. Add 3 topics that will be the main supporting points of your thesis. 
    • Research and read about those topics. You need enough information to build a detailed outline. See Michelle if you need help gathering more specific information.
    • Continue to add the sources you are reading to your bibliography on Noodle.

  • Draft thesis concept paragraph for research paper - Due Oct. 5
    • What is the thesis of your research paper going to be about?
    • How will this communicate an important aspect of your thesis project?
    • Your paper thesis must include critical thinking ! Argue a point, present a perspective, show your discoveries. 
    • Use the work of others to support your own, independent thinking!!
  •  Start annotated bibliography (Noodle Tools) - Draft due Oct. 21 including main sources you have so far. 
    • Annotations should include -
      • Evaluation of each item as an academic source.
      • General summary of important topics and ideas from each source.
      • How are you going to use this information for your project / paper? 
  • Continue research journal.
  • Have you turned in a work sample?                                                   
  • Has your advisor seen it?
  • Schedule an advisor meeting before leaving for break!! Oct. 21
    • Meeting includes student, librarian, thesis advisors.

  • Organize thesis binder with these sections - Start Sept. 14
    • Proposal with advisor names (Written draft of proposal due Sept. 21)
    • To do list
    • Research log
    • Thesis project
    • Thesis paper
  • Start daily research journal - Sept 21
    • Log books & other information sources (Request ILL if needed).
    • Include citation information.
    • Reading notes, quotes & reflections.
    • Log what you are doing to start creating your project.
  • Draft production timeline - Due Sept. 28
    • What do you plan to produce in the first 6 weeks of school?
    • How will you get started?
    • Show a work sample. How long did it take to produce?