Special majors in the Department of Educational Studies are expected to write a comprehensive paper or a one or two credit special major thesis to fulfill their senior comprehensive requirement. Each student chooses from the options below through discussion with departmental advisors. All senior comprehensives are advised by a faculty member in each department. (Listed below are comprehensive requirements for common special majors. Special majors can be developed in conjunction with other departments and programs; comprehensive requirements for these progams are developed along with the special major.)
|Special major||Senior comprehensive options|
Biology and Education
English and Education
History and Education
Linguistics and Education
Mathematics and Education
Music and Education
Political Science and Education
Psychology and Education
Sociology/Anthropology and Education
Getting started: September
- Develop a proposal. Proposals should include:
- Introduction/background statement: what is your area of study and why have you chosen it?
- Key questions to be investigated
- Plan for data collection. See Methodology bibliography.
- Proposed timeline
- Initial bibliography, including books and articles from prior courses to be used as well as list of materials you have begun to develop
- Develop a schedule for three-way meetings with advisors from Educational Studies and your other field
- Sign up for a thesis carrel in the library
- Complete and submit necessary IRB and permission documents. See http://www.swarthmore.edu/Admin/irb/HumanSubjectsResearch.html
- Meet with reference librarian to talk about searching databases, setting up Endnote, etc. http://trilogy.brynmawr.edu/guides/Education/
- Consider signing up to work with a thesis writing associate (available through the Writing Center)
|Due dates (2 credit thesis)|
|September 14||Thesis proposal|
|November 16||Literature review|
|November 30||Initial methods write up |
|February 22||Data analysis chapters|
|March 14||Final methods write up|
|April 1||Final draft of thesis|
|Due dates (1 credit thesis)|
|September 14||Thesis proposal|
|October 12 |
|November 2 |
|Initial methods writeup|
|November 30 |
|Data analysis chapters|
|December 8 |
|Final draft of thesis|
- American Psychological Association citation guidelines
- Modern Languages Association citation guidelines
McCabe Library resources:
- Thesis Students
- Tripod Subject Portal
- books available in Educational Materials Center and McCabe
- Swarthmore College Writing Center:
- Swarthmore College Bulletin, Section on Academic freedom, honesty and responsibility:
Swarthmore College Institutional Review Board
Swarthmore College Writing Center
This is a partial list of useful books and articles to consult as you develop your research proposal, carry out your research, and write up your thesis. All of these materials can be found in the EMC, McCabe, or both.
Becker, H. S. (1998). Tricks of the trade. Chicago:The University of Chicago Press.
Cameron, D. et al. (1992). Researching language: Issues of power and method. NY: Routledge.
Carspecken, P. (1996) Critical ethnography in educational research: A theoretical and practical guide. NY: Routledge.
Clough, P. & Nutbrown, C. (2002). A student's guide to methodology. London: Sage.
Creswell, J. W. (1998) Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among 5 traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dyson, A. H. & Genishi, C. (2005). On the case: Approaches to language and literacy research. NY: Teachers College Press.
Gee, J.P. (1999). An introduction to discourse analysis: Theory and method. London: Routledge.
Kamberelis, G. & Dimitriades, G. (2005). Qualitative inquiry: Approaches to language & literacy research. NY:Teachers College Press.
Loftland J., & Loftland L. H. (1995). Analyzing social settings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. (1999). Designing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Maxwell, J. A. (1992). Understanding validity in qualitative research. Harvard Educational Review, 63(3), 279-300.
Merriam, S. B. (1988). Case study in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ragin, C. C., & Becker, H. S. (Eds.). (1992). What is a case? Exploring the foundations of social inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rossman, G. B., & Rallis, S. F. (2003). Learning from the field. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Sanjeck, R. (1990). Fieldnotes. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Strauss, A.L., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Wood, P. (1986) Inside schools: Ethnography in educational research. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Models of Research
Check journal articles in your field for models of how to present your work, especially the methods and results sections. In addition, you might want to look at the following:
Duneier, M. (1994). Slim's table. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Lareau, A. (2000). Home advantage: social class and parental intervention in elementary education. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. (See Appendix for excellent methods analysis)
Taylor, D. and Dorsey-Gaines, C. (1988) Growing up literate: Learning from inner-city families. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.
Thorne, B. (1993) Gender play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.