Guidelines for Theses


Guidelines for History Theses and Honors Theses

Every student should write a thesis that presents a research question and answers it with a

coherent explanation or argument. The following guidelines should help you appreciate the many elements behind asking and answering your question effectively. Each of these tasks form the foundation of a strong thesis, but their relevance will vary somewhat, depending on the topic.

Develops a good question,
Develops a responsible argument from primary and secondary sources.

Use of Evidence
Demonstrates command of a body of knowledge.

Selects and employs primary and secondary sources with a critical awareness of their strengths and limitations.

Understands how others have used the sources and how the topic has been interpreted over time. (This is also known as a literature review.)

Demonstrates sensitivity to chronology, context, cause, and effect.

Shows empathy, respect for the people being discussed.

Demonstrates an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own perspective, the perspectives of primary and secondary sources, and the perspective of the advisor.

Employs good, clear writing, including proper mechanics and citations.

Conducts independent research effectively.

Responds well to faculty direction.

Responds appropriately to challenges that arise when researching and writing the thesis.


Revised, July 2014