From Start to Finish
If you have any questions about the capstone project in History or about the proposal process or any additional questons, please do not hesitate to contact the Head of the History program (Mark Swislocki, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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On the basis of your proposal (submitted in the spring of your junior year), you will be assigned a faculty adviser. He or she will work with you as a supervisor and consultant throughout the process of researching and writing your Capstone project.
While you are expected to display a great deal of independence in the construction and execution of your project, your adviser can provide invaluable guidance and feedback. You should expect to meet with your advisor on a weekly basis once your senior year begins. (You are free to work out an alternative schedule in consultation with your advisor.)
History majors participate in the year-long Humanities Capstone Seminar, which is designed to complement the individual advising relationship. The seminar is a faculty-led work-in-progress group, in which Capstone writers will discuss research methods and problems across the humanities and learn to communicate their ideas to non-specialists. The seminars will keep students on a common schedule designed to allow sufficient time for revision of a complete draft before the final due date.
The various methodological approaches you studied in “Theory and Practice of History” (HIST-AD 100) provide a good point of departure when thinking about how you want to structure your Capstone project. Theoretical approaches to the central questions of your analysis are determined by your own particular concerns and will be explored together with your faculty adviser.
As you are preparing to write your proposal, it is also crucial that you acquire a sense of the current state of the scholarly conversation on the historical topic you hope to address. This includes familiarizing yourself with the basic scholarly works on the historical period of your topic. It further requires you to conduct as exhaustive a search as possible for relevant primary source material, in such venues as archives (both physical and online), research databases, and library collections.
Faculty members in History can provide useful advice as you begin drafting your proposal. The faculty adviser will ultimately be helpful in shaping the research strategies appropriate for each particular project.
However, it is the final responsibility of the Capstone writer to demonstrate an awareness of critical discourses surrounding the topic in question.
The final draft of your Capstone project should be carefully proofread, and fully formatted to conform to one of the standard citation systems employed in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (University of Chicago Press, multiple editions).
Your Capstone project adviser will be asked for a written evaluation of the project, and the project will also be sent to one or more additional faculty members for evaluation. You should therefore take care that your arguments and analyses are presented clearly and in language comprehensible to any reader in the field.