Guidelines for Theses / Scholarly Projects

MURILLO METHOD: A GUIDE    (Part I)     (Part II)     (Part III)




Last updated: March 9, 2002

Please note this Guide is still under construction. Some sections are still only in note form. My goal is to progressively refine these guidelines as I work with students on their scholarly projects. In particular, I intend to link the general ideas to a range of specific examples by drawing on the materials that you create and post. When the structure and the content of the draft become clearer, I will be dividing it up into a series of separate pages adding links to various sources.
Comments and suggestions would be most welcome any time
Also, my Guide is intended only to facilitate student and faculty planning and preparation; it is by no means "the last word." There are university, departmental and program regulations governing scholarly projects, each faculty member approaches the project in a unique way. In selecting a first reader or a committee chair, it is important that you be aware of differences in their views and consider your own preferences. The professors who serve on your committee have the last word, especially your committee chair. It is only within this context that I hope that my following ideas and suggestions will prove useful for you.

Scholars (you!) apply previous research and scholarly findings to tasks that will improve the world through specific instruction, curricula, or program development. Usually this takes the form of refinements in program capabilities--curricula or handbooks for implementation. However, scholarly projects may also be innovative technological or artistic initiatives. In the past, graduate projects have included computer software, graphic or plastic arts projects, and videotaped instructional materials. Four criteria apply: every project must (a) emerge from a comprehensive literature review, (b) be related directly to a field of education, (c) have the endorsement of a CSUSB College of Education faculty project committee, and (d) be written up in a well-developed submission. Examples of completed projects are in the Library for review.
In a sense, writing a scholarly project is entering a conversation with others in the field. But when all is said and one, it is simply a requirement for your MA degree. However, this is not simply an arbitrary demand designed to make your life more wretched or to suffer just because your professors have suffered previously. Rather it is an opportunity for you to produce a piece of substantial work dealing with a particular scholarly issue, one that others working in the field will find beneficial. This means your work should be original in some way, not simply the recitation of what others have said. However, it need not be earthshaking. Put in practical terms, it should be something that is worth the many hours you and your readers will invest in it.