Cal Poly Political Science Senior Project Meeting (Part 5 of 6)


believe it or not we’re on time. I wanted
to leave about 15 or 10 minutes for for questions, but during the Q&A period please, whatever anxieties you might have and
whatever questions you might have will be on the minds of other students
as well so please share with the rest of us. I’m not going to echo any other echos. I want to try to fill
in just a few gaps in about two minutes. First, when you’re selecting the individual faculty advisor, do not base it just on charm and good looks ’cause otherwise, I’m the only person in the
department who would have any students. Seriously, now that you’re paying attention, seriously I think there’s a perception that all of us are experts in all areas of political science And as much as we might like to think that we are we really aren’t so it’s important that you find a faculty
member who really knows that particular subfield of political science
or even that sub-subfield that you want to work in that person will know the literature better – why haven’t you read this book or why haven’t
you looked at this article. That person will be able to help you
frame your research question better as well so that would be my advice – try to
pick actually, not only in terms of personality but in terms of kind of fit where that person’s research expertise lies. When you’re choosing a topic more generally then trying to
refine it into a manageable research question you will read literature, then you’ll think, okay
wait a minute this isn’t the right way to formulate the question and sometime you go back
and forth back and forth back and forth I told you I wasn’t going to echo any echos, but now I am. That usually takes quite a bit of time – to figure out
exactly what your research question is and what your paper is about. You have to to give yourself enough time. Last thing. when you’re choosing a research question it’s important
that you find something that you really care about and that you’re interested in. I am going to be brutally honest here. It drives me nuts
when someone comes into my office and has made no effort whatsoever to think
about what he or she might do in a senior project. I speak for the whole faculty most likely, they’re just more tactful than I am, I suppose. but it’s so hard to help someone who hasn’t put any
effort in at all. Well, what are you interested in? Well, I don’t know, can you give me a senior project topic? Even if I could, and as a matter of principle I wouldn’t, but
then I’d feel bad for you and I would try. I hand over a question that I personally think is intrinsically
interesting and everyone should care deeply about it. You’re thinking, I’m not interested in this
all and I don’t want to spend time actually researching this question. You find something and you don’t care about it and you won’t be able to kind of do the research
you should be able to do for a senior project. If you’re interested in it and if you like it, you care about it, It’ll be so much easier to do the work that you’re supposed
to do to produce at least halfway decent if not very good senior project so we have ten minutes left. This is our
Q&A session so I hand it over to Craig. Q and A – well, Q. (Student question) Since you’re saying it does take more than 10 weeks, do you recommend taking 461 one quarter and 462 the next quarter? I think that it depends. I think there are a lot of projects you can do in 10 weeks if you have talked to your advisor before hand and
have done a little bit of the leg work. In that case, it might not be necessary. But that’s something, if you contacted your advisor in spring or summer
before the year you actually want to do it. That’s something we can tell you and that’s something we can work out on a one-on-one basis and say, look, maybe for this type of project
simply finding data will take you so long that maybe it makes sense to split this up. For other cases, it might be perfectly fine to
do it in 10 weeks, again given the appropriate leg work has been done before hand (Student question) What is the difference
between 461 and 462? Bureaucratic nonsense. there’s no difference. 461 and 462 are each 2 unit classes and you have to take both to complete your senior project in political science. you don’t have to take them the same quarter there really is no difference Originally it was supposed to be 461 for the research question review and setup of your project. And the other, 462, was for actually doing it. but there is no meaningful difference at all by the way, all of that information is in the handout information for senior projects. Anika has some, I still have some, so , if you came in late, be sure you don’t leave without actually getting one. (Student question) Is there a possibility to do a cross departmental senior project? like a philosophy major and a psychology major senior project? Yes, I actually just supervised one. Also, if you’re a double major, it’s possible to do one senior project that fulfills both department’s requirements. It usually is longer and takes more work. Yes, there are a lot of possibilities for that. One of the things I will say about that because I’ve done this before too with someone in religious studies. Sometime you may run into some bureaucratic issues. For instance, the student I was working with was a political science major, but was doing a religious studies minor and wanted to combine the two projects, but you have to be enrolled as a major in the four units in our department so what ended up happening was that a professor from religious studies co-advised the student but didn’t really get any credit for it in terms of units. and those units we get for advising you, we advise you because we want to, but it’s also part of our teaching load and has all sorts of bureaucratic rules attached to it. So when you think of something like that, be very sure to ask your professors about the ins and outs of that. There might be some bureaucratic issue there, but it’s definitely doable in theory. (Student question) I was thinking about doing a meta analysis for my senior project. So I was wondering if any of you guys know if anyone has ever done one. A meta analysis?
0:A re-analysis of existing data on come topic. right. So the question is going to what topic ’cause probably, with the exception of me and Ron, everyone else in the department probably has done that kind of of work, but then, it’s going to be a question of speciality and maybe Ron’s done it. (Student question) Is it graded with a lot more scrutiny than other papers in other classes would be? For this guy it is! Not anymore! Laughing! So it think that’s another thing Sorry, I’m always jumping in here, I think it’s another thing that you want to talk with your advisor about We all have our ideas, we have general department guidelines, but it’s very important to keep in mind that each of us also might have some of our own preferences in terms of what we want you to do So talk to us so that we can be clear with you about what our individual expectations are, because that’s what the grade will depend on.




Comments
  1. To the doofus below, get a clue. Glad I ran across this lecture video, Ron Den Otter is such a fun lecturer, it almost made me want to do another senior project five years after my last one.

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