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Senior Thesis Resources

Level Up Your Research Skills

Your senior thesis is a synthesis of what you've learned over the past four years, in addition to requiring new knowledge and skills. The links below provide tools and resources that are useful for a longer-term research project.

Organizing Your Research

The quantity of information you will deal with during your senior thesis can be intimidating. That's why it's important to get organized! The resources below will help you develop a research organization strategy that works for you.

Resources for Research Proposals and Methods

Collecting & Visualizing Data

The library can also help you find, analyze, and visualize data and statistics.

Copyright and Fair Use

It's important to understand the basics of copyright and fair use, so that you can use copyrighted works correctly in your thesis and understand your rights as an author.

Search Strategies that Go Beyond Keywords

We often think of keyword searching when it comes to database research, but there are lots of other search methods that your research will benefit from. Reach out to your subject librarian to learn more about search methods specific to your field and databases. 

Field Searching

  • Field searching allows you to choose exactly where you want your keywords to be found and makes your search more precise. For example, in an author search (above), you search in the Author field. You can also limit your search to titles, abstracts, and more.
  • Search for authors using the last name, first name format and the Author field in a database. This is a useful strategy when you want to find all of the publications by a specific scholar.
  • Search for the title of an article or book by locking it in "quotes"

Chemical Structure Searching

  • Use chemical structure searching in chemistry and biology to find all of the publications that refer to a specific chemical structure. This search strategy is available in a limited number of databases.

Citation Chaining

  • Citation chaining uses a specific source as a starting point to find other sources in conversation, and consists of forwards and backwards searching. 

Subject Term/Controlled Vocabulary Searching

  • Many databases use subject terms, also known as controlled vocabulary, as part of the metadata attached to the sources in the database. Subject terms/controlled vocabulary are specific words that have been assigned to a concept so that it remains consistent across a database. For example, "high school", "secondary school", and "ninth grade to twelfth grade" all mean the same thing in the United States. A database might assign the subject term "secondary school" to any article that references the above terms, so a search for "secondary school" will return all articles on the topic, even if they use the term "high school" in the article.
  • Using subject terms in your searching can make your searches both more precise and more complete. Talk to your subject librarian about strategies for finding subject terms in the databases in your field.