Purpose & Standards

Senior Thesis Purpose & StandardsPurpose

The primary purpose of the senior thesis is to demonstrate that senior Asian Studies majors can draw, in a comprehensive manner, from their undergraduate education to analyze a significant problem or issue. The thesis should use the methods of research learned through the methodology course taken for the Asian Studies major. (Majors who plan to do field research are strongly encouraged to take the Anthropology "Fieldwork" course as their methodology course.) Thus, the thesis is intended to develop through individual initiative and independent research, a final product that demonstrates that the student can formulate a thesis, present necessary background material, apply appropriate theories, organize relevant data, do some research in an Asian language if possible, draw on experience spent in an Asian country where appropriate, and draw unbiased conclusions. The product must display good formal writing, appropriate citation, logical progression, and a balance among description, theory, and analysis.


The thesis must address a problem or question whose answer is not known or readily observable; it can be shown to be valid using logic and facts; it must require research of differing opinions, theories, or facts to arrive at a logical, defensible conclusion. The student must select, describe, and apply appropriate theories to the issue. Use of appropriate data (both primary and secondary), demonstrated familiarity with documents, periodical literature, and journals in the discipline, and a demonstrated ability to organize, evaluate, and present conflicting information are necessary for success.

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