I have high expectations for students who want me to advise an honors thesis or independent study. This is because I expect our work and my mentoring relationship with them to continue after the honors or independent study research project. After completing their thesis or independent study, I encourage students to work with me to adapt their paper into a coauthored article and then submit it to a peer-reviewed journal. I also encourage students to present their work at an academic conference, supporting them and their participation as necessary.
To achieve these goals, students must work hard. They must read a lot, develop technical skills, and do more than the minimum necessary to meet Dartmouth requirements. More on that below. In exchange, I treat these students as graduate students, as scholars in training, and to invest in their development accordingly. This means that I actively provide research feedback, help students apply for fellowships and grants, write letters of recommendation, and help them as they pursue their post-grad goals.
For the thesis and independent study experience to be the most productive, I advise students to take the following steps in the months before they begin work.
- Review the excellent Research Methods Knowledge Base, particularly the construct, external, and internal validity sections.
- Learn R. You might have been trained in Python or Stata, but I’m most proficient with R and will want you to use that for your work.
- Experiment with using generative AI, like chatGPT, to help you code. This can be a huge force multiplier.
If, after reading this, you remain excited about the prospect of doing an honor thesis or independent project with me, please let me know. I look forward to working with you.
Thanks to Yusaku Horiuchi for providing an excellent model regarding student guidance for honors thesis and independent study work.