Appendix C: The Major Research Paper
The Major Research Paper is not a thesis. It is more useful to think of it as an extension of course work; in fact, the Board of Graduate Studies has legislated that students doing a major paper must register for the appropriate course (ANTH*6660, Major Paper), which may be taken for two semesters.
Although it is emphasized that the major paper is not a thesis, a student may elect to report original research s/he has undertaken. The major research paper may also take the form of a longer essay, a review of literature within a specific area, an extended methodological exercise, to name a few alternatives.
The major research paper is usually prepared under the direction of the student's Advisor. Comments and opinions may be requested from other members of the Committee. The advisor and one other member of the Advisory Committee (second reader) are given a copy of the completed major research paper to read and grade.
This should be done at least two weeks prior to the deadline date for grade reports. Each of them grade the paper and consult with each other afterwards. A final grade is decided upon and submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant.
If for some reason, they are unable to agree upon a grade, the PIA Graduate Coordinator may be consulted and a grade that is the average of the advisor's grade and the grade of the other reader.
Students who opt to complete a major research paper are required to prepare a proposal that must be reviewed and approved by the advisory committee. The proposal fulfils important functions for the student and the advisory committee. For the student, it represents the opportunity to articulate a clear statement of the intent of the major research paper.
It also provides a framework for the work that follows and a timetable for completion. For the advisory committee, it represents a working agreement, a consensus regarding the work to be completed. It also provides a statement of purpose against which the completed major research paper can be evaluated.
The proposal need not be lengthy, but should be complete. The format is difficult to specify because of the various options available for the major research paper. The format should be determined in consultation with the advisory committee.
A Major Research Paper Proposal Approval form should be signed by the advisory committee and submitted, along with a copy of the proposal, to the Graduate Program Assistant.