Research Methods – RTCH 680

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 05/30/2022

Course Description

Bibliography and thesis research. Emphasis will be given to the formulation of the topic and thesis proposal.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course should be taken after the student has enough background to decide on an appropriate thesis topic. Usually, it is taken in the spring (second) semester of the student’s first year in the program. The course introduces the student to databases and catalogs of print and electronic resources that will be helpful in the research required for his or her other courses. It also provides assistance in scholarly writing and the scholarly apparatus of formal writing, footnotes, and bibliography.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Formulate a research topic that is suitable for a thesis.
  2. Identify traditional and digital information sources relevant to his or her research topic.
  3. Construct bibliographies in a style appropriate to the discipline.
  4. Evaluate sources critically.
  5. Design a thesis proposal for eventual presentation to a faculty committee.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in the Discussions with classmates and the instructor. For each discussion, the student must first read assigned portions of the course texts and materials. Then, he or she must thoroughly answer prompts on these sources in a thread of at least 300 words that demonstrates a grasp of the content. The student must also reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads in at least 200 words. (MLO: D)

Research Topics Assignment

At least 2 potential thesis topics under consideration must be submitted, writing a 1-paragraph statement for each proposed thesis topics. The student must include the reasons why he or she considers each to be a successful topic, along with any sources he or she has gathered to support each. This will also be presented to the class on the Discussion: Thesis Topic for input. (MLO: A)

Thesis Evaluation Assignment

This assignment is a 1-page annotation of a completed thesis or dissertation found in the JFL database of a master thesis similar to the student’s selected and approved topic. Evaluation will be based on careful analysis of the literature using prompts provided by the instructor. (MLOs: B, D)

Initial Bibliography Assignment

Based upon approval of the thesis topic by the instructor, the student will submit a current Turabian style bibliography of a minimum of 20 academic works relevant to the probable thesis topic. The listed works must include a mix of reference materials, books, and journal articles. Sources must be arranged in alphabetical order. (MLOs: B, C)

Literature Matrix Assignment

The Literature Matrix is an Excel sheet matrix based on the explanation in the related presentation of no fewer than 5 of the sources submitted in the Initial Bibliography. (MLO: D)

Instructor Conference Report Assignment

This report is a 1-page summary of the student’s verbal conversation with the instructor via Skype, Facetime, Webex or other visual conversational media, and his or her understanding of the thesis elements, requirements, and processes. (MLO: E)

Reflection Assignment

This assignment is a 3-paragraph reflection based upon 3 items the student has encountered in either the readings or presentations. (MLO: D)

Sourced Thesis Outline Assignment

The Sources Thesis Outline is an initial detailed outline of the thesis proposal, including a bibliography of at least 30 entries. Follow closely the guidelines contained in the course materials, using the Literature Matrix as a guide to provide a tentative outline of the thesis and chapter divisions. (MLOs: B, C, D, E)

Thesis Proposal: Rough Draft Assignment

The Thesis Proposal: Rough Draft is a minimum of 10 pages first draft of the student's thesis proposal content, following current Turabian style, and including a bibliography of at least 20 sources. Follow the guidelines and template of the Master’s Thesis Handbook. (MLO: E)

Thesis Proposal: Revised Final Assignment

The Thesis Proposal: Revised Final Assignment must be at least 15 pages of content, follow current Turabian style, and include a bibliography of at least 30 sources. Follow all guidelines carefully. (MLO: E)

Quiz: Requirements for Graduate Research

This quiz covers information found in the Graduate Thesis Handbook. The quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain between 5–25 multiple-choice or true/false questions, and have a time limit of 30 minutes. (MLO: E)