Global Studies Program



Preparing to write your capstone thesis is, at once, a greater challenge and a more fundamentally important process than the actual writing itself. Good writing stems from good information made cogent by good thinking and planning. Gathering information which is relevant and organizing that information around a central thesis demands a level of understanding of the topic which gives inherent value to the subsequent writing. The Capstone Thesis Plan is the key tool we will use in the Seminar to achieve the goal of good information made cogent by good thinking and planning. 

1. The Capstone Thesis Proposal. These five items will be submitted together as a basis for planning your paper and for the approval of your project.

a. Thesis statement. This will be a one- to three-sentence statement of the general conclusion of your paper. You will begin by stating your conclusion even before you have done your research. The statement will be assertive and specific. The statement may be modified as research and the development of your perspective require. 

b. Definition of Scope. Controlling the range of information to be gathered and the range of analysis to be applied will help in giving focus and direction to your paper and help you to avoid a meandering and endless exploration without a point. There are approaches you can use to define scope in your writing, and these will be reviewed in the Seminar .

c. Disciplinary Perspectives. Global studies is an interdisciplinary program of study. SSU expects its Global Studies graduates to be able to look at complex international issues from a variety of perspectives in order to see implications which a narrower, disciplinary focus might miss. You will be expected to employ at least three disciplinary perspectives in your paper. You must identify these perspectives and explain how each will generally support your analysis. It is highly recommended that the disciplinary perspectives chosen for your paper be based on those disciplines with which you have become most familiar through successfully completed coursework. 

d. Relevance to Global Studies. You must write a brief paragraph justifying the selection of your thesis as relevant to the Global Studies Program. There is a very wide range of subject matter which can fit under the Global Studies rubric, but your topic must retain a clear element of international and intercultural interest in the context of the purposes of the program. This step in the process will help you to relate your work to an appropriate global audience.

e. Audience. You must specify to whom you are addressing your paper. Knowing the intended audience(s) and its (their) characteristics is a critical step for any writer. We will explore this interesting subject further in the Seminar.

Capstone Thesis Proposal Plan

2. Research Plan. This will be presented in the form of an annotated bibliography. You will develop this bibliography long before outlining or writing your paper. The Research Plan will be refined as you continue your research and will eventually become the actual bibliographic element of your paper. The Research Plan must receive initial approval prior to moving to the last element of the Proposal Plan, the Outline.

3. Outline. Before proceeding with the first attempt at writing your paper, you will submit in writing and present orally to the Seminar an outline of your paper. This outline will provide the headings and subheadings of your paper so arranged as to reveal the architecture of your paper. The outline forms the skeletal structure, so to speak, of your paper, and provides a guide for keeping your writing on track. The outline must be approved and successfully briefed to the Seminar before permission to move to the writing of the first draft of your paper is granted. 

4. First Draft. Each student will prepare a complete paper and submit it for a first reading by the instructor. The student will then meet with the instructor to review the paper in detail, taking into consideration structural, grammatical, formatting, and content aspects. The student will then have an opportunity to consider this critique in preparing the final paper for evaluation. To meet the departmental requirement for this paper, the student must present at least thirty (30) pages of double-spaced text in the body of the paper, not inclusive of title page, table of contents, or bibliographic pages. The text should not exceed fifty (50) pages. Additional requirements for the draft and the final paper will be provided in the Seminar .

5. Second Reader. The Capstone Seminar paper which you will submit will be evaluated in the first instance by the instructor. It will also receive a reading by another faculty member and the final grade for the paper will be the result of averaging the evaluations of the two readers. You will propose your second reader. You should choose a faculty member who has some general or specific knowledge or expertise in your thesis topic area. This person must also be willing to read and evaluate your paper using a standardized evaluation template in a timely fashion. Finally, the instructor must concur in your selection of a second reader .

General Observations

It is absolutely required that each student follow the set of steps prescribed above in developing the capstone paper. There are no shortcuts to excellent research-and-analysis writing. Solid and timely preparation yields the best final results with the least anxiety .The capstone thesis project is more a test of each student's self-discipline than it is of his or her factual knowledge or rhetorical brilliance. It is essential that each student maintain the pace set by the Seminar for completion of each task in the Proposal Plan. Dropping behind that pace in any respect might result in either a delayed submission of the paper or the submission of a paper of less than desirable quality .You will receive substantial support and assistance with the development of your paper, but you must stay on track in order to benefit from that support and assistance. Late submission of Proposal Plan elements may result in a reduction of the grade for the Seminar portion of the course. Late submission of the paper may also result in a reduction of the final grade for the paper and may for some students also lead to a delay in graduation.  

The writing project on which you are about to embark should be the high water mark of your career as an undergraduate student. You may count on the instructor, the Seminar student group, and the Global Studies faculty at SSU to help you achieve a result which will challenge you and give you a sense of high accomplishment.