This guide explains the research process required to complete the Senior Project.
As you work through the process you will be guided from the initial step of choosing a research topic, through effectively searching for information and organizing your sources to presenting your findings with accurate references and citations.
On this page you can find information on:
See other pages in this section for information on:
Senior Project Scope and Sequence (Two-Year)
The final long term project in high school is intended for the student to put all of the skills he or she has acquired up to this point and manage a project from start to finish independently and with quite a bit of autonomy. The work required to complete the Senior Project (SP) would begin in the junior year with the expectation that the student meets periodically with their chosen SP Advisor. There are several checkpoint assignments due in the junior year although the conclusion of the senior project is in the senior year. A student can opt to do either the Senior Project or IB Extended Essay (EE) regardless of whether the student plans to send the EE to the IB.
The Senior Project Coordinator (SPC) serves as the primary source of information and supervision for students in completing the project. The SPC assigns a Senior Project Advisor to each student based on the topic the student chooses to research and maintains the Senior Project gradebook. The SPC also assigns the final grades for students at the end of each year. The current SPC is Barrie Hillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each student will be assigned a faculty member to serve as their SP Advisor. This Advisor is responsible for meeting with the student three times during the junior year and three times before the project is due. An advisor can be any WSA faculty or staff member. It is the responsibility of the student to conduct the project independently and with minimal instruction by the Advisor. This is the opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills they have developed to this point on their own. Students will coordinate through the Senior Project Coordinator to choose their advisor.
Each student not conducting an IB Extended Essay will begin work during the junior year and complete it during the senior year. The senior project is comprised of the following components:
For further details on the Senior Project Components, see: What Are the Milestones I Must Accomplish?
For further information on the presentation requirement, see: Senior Project Panel Presentation
The Senior Project is assessed and students earn .5 credit for the entire two-year process. At the end of the junior year a pass/fail status is recorded on the student’s transcript along with the title of their essay. At the end of the senior year, a letter grade is recorded along with the title of the entire project. If the student is in a failing condition at the end of the junior year but receives a non-failing grade at the end of the entire project, the failing grade remains on the student’s transcript for the junior year.
Senior Project Components (Two-Year)
Presentation to the Senior Project Panel
10-minute presentation with 5-minute question and answer (Q&A) period by the panel
Physical Representation of your Research (PRR)
Students must submit their proposed PRR to their Senior Project Advisor for approval and for specific requirements of the PRR.
Where is the work done?
The senior project work is primarily done independently and at home. Some time may be set aside during the school day and Jan Term for students to work independently on their project. Visiting local libraries, museums and topic-related sites can be inspiring and beneficial to a student’s understanding of their senior project topic. Remember that real books still can be the best sources of information. Expect that nearly all of the work for the project will be done at home.
How many sources do I need?
You don’t have to include exactly these numbers or combinations of types of sources; however, a well-rounded bibliography is what you are aiming for. Wikipedia is a good place to begin research on topics and to get ideas but Wikipedia will not be an acceptable source in your bibliography.
How will I manage my bibliographic information?
All WSA students have free access to an online platform called NoodleTools to manage your bibliography. Please be sure to establish a login and password in NoodleTools - Susan Trower can assist you with this task.
How do I sort primary sources and secondary sources in NoodleTools?
Once you have established your login and password, login to NoodleTools and create a new project. Share the project to the Senior Project 2018 drop box. Click on the 'Bibliography' tab at the top and create citations for your sources. After submitting each citation you will be returned to a screen with a list of all the sources in the bibliography for this project. At the bottom of the list there is a “Select an attribute” drop-down menu . Click on the source you want to classify and then select “primary” or “secondary” for that source. Do this for all your sources. Once you're done with that, return to the top of the bibliography list. In the upper right corner there is a “Sort” drop-down menu . As a default, keep the sources sorted “Alphabetic”. When you are ready to print, sort your sources by selecting “primary/secondary” in the Sort drop-down menu. Any source not classified as primary/secondary will not show up on the list when it is sorted by “primary/secondary.”
Students may choose any topic of interest to research regardless of time period or subject matter as long as it falls within academically appropriate content. This freedom of choice can often make it challenging for students to narrow down the topic. Remember you are essentially asking a question and answering it with your research and writing. So think of a question that interests you first. Be kind to yourself and consider the feasibility and ease with which the topic can be researched.
A thesis statement is the central idea of your paper and states an arguable opinion. It informs the reader of your focus and gives a general overview of the order of analysis it will follow. It appears in the first paragraph of a paper. It is essential to do preliminary research on your topic before you try to write your thesis or else you will end up with a weak statement.
Your thesis statement must be clearly present with no question whatsoever of its existence.
The ease with which the Internet makes information available may sometimes tempt students to borrow information without properly documenting its source. Poor planning and organization can make it easy to lose track of what you read and where you read it. When you present material that contains any ideas that are not yours alone without properly citing or crediting the original author, that is plagiarism.
It is important to carefully keep track of your information and sources in your paper management system as well as to build your bibliography “as you go”.
Plagiarism is taken very seriously at West Sound Academy. If any work submitted in final draft form contains plagiarized material, the student’s grade will be severely affected.
Students are issued a timeline for the Senior Project Milestones and a class is established in RenWeb so the SPC can post due dates and communicate easily with students. These deadlines are hard and fast deadlines. Missing them will result in a zero for the assignment due without exception (barring formal accommodations).
September 13, 2018 Introductory Meeting during Junior Seminar / Research Skills Lab class
Fall, 2017 Junior Seminar/Research Skills Lab class time devoted to:
October 1-5, 2018 Group meeting with Senior Project Coordinator
November 27, 2018
December 13, 2018 Senior Project supervisor assigned
January 15 - 24, 2019 Mandatory meeting with Senior Project Coordinator and/or Supervisor
April 8-12, 2019 Mandatory meeting with supervisor
April 23, 2019 Mandatory meeting with Senior Project Coordinator
Senior trip - first week of school
September 8, 2019
September 8-11, 2019 Mandatory meeting with Supervisor regarding quality of preliminary draft
October 20, 2019
October 27 - 31, 2019
November 30, 2019
January 10, 2020
February 11, 2020 Mandatory meeting with Supervisor
March 25-26, 2020 Senior Project Board Presentations with ERPs
Find books, digital resources (ebooks), WebPath Express websites, and Open Educational Resources (OER).