Senior Research Project

Each Liberal Studies major must do a Senior Research Project in the first or second semester of their senior year. There are two options for completing this requirement:
  1. LIBS499 / Senior Research Project/Paper Seminar.

  2. Internship: No longer an option.

  3. Enroll and earn a "C" or better in a 500 or 600 level course in your area of study.

In addition:

  1.  All Senior Research Project students must participate in a Poster Session at the end of their Senior Research semester. See the Poster Session link on the Senior Research Project webpage.

  2. All Senior Research Project students, who write a paper, must sign an agreement with their faculty advisor stipulating the length of the paper, the due date, and other details.

1.      Research Paper / LIBS 499

When you choose this option, you must register for LIBS 499 (Independent Research) for the semester in which you work on the paper or project (fall, spring or summer semester of your senior year). During that semester, you will attend a 90-minute Seminar in which you will develop your topic, research question, thesis statement and annotated bibliography, write and defend a rough draft of your paper, revise the rough draft, and submit a polished final draft. Your topic must be related to your Concentration Studies.

As you select the topic of your research, bear in mind a few suggestions. First, choose one in which you have a great deal of interest. Second, make sure your topic is directly related to the courses you have taken in your Liberal Studies concentration. Third, make sure the result will be valuable to you and to the community, the nation, and the world. Fourth, set yourself some realistic goals. For example, you should be able to complete the entire research project or paper within one semester.

Your “final product” most likely will be a paper or include a paper. In this paper, try to include the following sections: 

  1. Introduction – provides background information on the subject.

  2. Focus – presents a concern or question that arises from the background information.

  3. Rationale – explains why it is important to address the concern or answer the question.

  4. Methodology – describes how you acquired information about your concern or question.

  5. Findings – reports information that addresses the concern or answers the question.

  6. Conclusion – provides the “resolution” of the concern or the “answer” to the question.

  7. Implications / Applications – explains how we may use the “resolution” or “answer” as we try to make a difference in our lives, our careers, our communities, the nation, and the world. 

The Focus, Rationale, Conclusion, and Implications / Applications are very important. You may be able to use them as you pursue personal, career, or other goals, for example, when you apply to graduate school, apply to professional school, apply for a position, or operate your own business.

2.     Internship/Liberal Studies 499: (No Longer an Option. To Be Reintroduced as LIBS498 in Fall 2012).  

When you choose this option, you must register for LIBS 498 for the semester during which you do your internship (fall, spring, or summer of your senior year). Internships can be done in a variety of settings: K-12 public or private school, hospital, museum or gallery, bank, small or large business, non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or YMCA / YWCA, or public agency such as a mayor’s office, the police department, the North Carolina State Legislature, state offices such as environmental protection. Refer to the link containing Internship Resources List on the Liberal Studies Senior Research Project webpage for a list of more than 30 nonprofit organizations in Greensboro that you may want to consider.

An internship challenges a student to apply his or her “book knowledge” to real life or hands-on situations in the workforce. It allows you to explore your area of interest further. An internship also helps you to build your resume. Therefore, your internship must be related to your concentration. For example, if your concentration is International Studies, it would not be acceptable for you to do an internship with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. However, it would be acceptable for you to do your internship with an immigration lawyer, the Greensboro or North Carolina Chamber of Commerce or the international division of a local bank.

The number of hours required to complete the internship is 8-10 per week, or 112-140 hours for the semester. You will be on the honor system, as far as keeping these hours. At the same time, your supervisor at the internship site will be asked to fill out an evaluation form which will cover work habits and work ethic.

You will also have to submit a 5-8 page summary of your internship experience to the Chair of Liberal Studies. This is due during exam week.

Once you have found an internship, you would follow these steps:

  1. Register for LIBS 498, if you have not already done so.

  2. Ask an executive-level employee at your internship site to serve as your supervisor.

  3. Fill out the Internship Information Form.

  4. Work at your internship 8-10 hours per week for one semester.

  5. Participate in the Poster Session toward the end of the semester.

  6. Write a 2-3 page summary of your internship experience. Turn this in to the Chair, during exam week.

Toward the end of the semester, the Chair of the Department of Liberal Studies will email the supervisor, asking him or her to fill out the evaluation form. The Chair will convert this evaluation into a letter grade and post it for you under LIBS 498.

3.     Enroll in a 500 or 600 Level Course. 

If you choose this option, you need only register for a 500 or 600 level course in your area of study. However, your advisor or the Chair must approve this course. Please make sure you have the prerequisites to take the course.

It is assumed that a 500 or 600 level course in your area of study will require you to apply knowledge and skills you learned in your lower-level courses. It is also assumed that there will be a major research paper component to the course.

Once you have cleared the course with your advisor, he or she will place the course on your Plan of Study (and on your contract, if you are an Interdisciplinary Studies concentrator).