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Student Responsibilities in A&S Departmental Honors

Putting together a thesis is hard, complicated work. Recognize this from the outset. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to recruit a staunch ally—your thesis adviser. Your interactions with that individual will often determine the tenor of your experience. Some things to keep in mind:

  • In agreeing to work with you, your thesis adviser assumes that you are a mature individual with the self-discipline necessary to undertake a major academic project. She or he is entitled to make and act upon that assumption.
  • Your thesis adviser will not expect you to know everything necessary to complete your thesis. After all, thesis work provides you with the opportunity to expand your intellectual horizons and hone your academic skills. But, basic academic and technical skills need to be mastered prior to beginning thesis work.
  • Communication between you and your thesis adviser cannot be overemphasized. It is a truism that communication is a two-way street, but in the case of thesis work, much of the burden for maintaining meaningful contact with your adviser falls on you.
  • Your thesis adviser is a busy professional who does not have time to monitor your adherence to the timeline. You must hold your own feet to the fire when it comes to critical milestones—after all, it is your thesis. Recognize that your thesis adviser has responsibilities to other students, to colleagues, and to her or his own research. Missing deadlines and/or asking for assistance on short notice may undermine your working relationship with your adviser. Also, be aware that your thesis adviser may be unable to work with you over the summer—faculty are not obligated to be available during the summer months. If summer availability is an issue, make sure to discuss it well in advance with your thesis adviser.
  • The Office of Research Compliance at Ohio University considers undergraduate theses to fall within its purview. If your thesis involves human subjects, it must go through the Institutional Research Board (IRB) approval process.
  • To quote from the Office of Research Compliance website: "Any studies by faculty, students, or staff that involve human subjects are considered human subjects research by the federal government. This includes everything from clinical trials to surveys, interviews, and observation." The net cast by this definition is wide, covering many endeavors in the social sciences and even, in some cases, the arts. It is best to be safe rather than sorry in the realm of human subject research. IRB approval must be obtained prior to beginning your research.