GEOG 806                   BASIC SEMINAR                  4:00-5:45 PM Monday

                            SPRING 2008



Instructor: Terry Slocum

Phone: 864-5146     E-mail:

Office: 215 or 207 Lindley

Office Hours:  MW 1:30-3:00 PM, F 3:30-5 PM and by Appt.



Goals of the Course


The major goal of the course is to develop your ability to write an effective Master's thesis proposal. In addition, we will consider the development of other kinds of proposals (e.g., for grant funding) and issues related to professional development in the academic community (e.g., preparation of the curriculum vitae).



Students with Disabilities


The staff of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), 135

Strong, 785-864-2620 (v/tty), coordinates accommodations and services for KU

courses.  If you have a disability for which you may request accommodation

in KU classes and have not contacted them, please do so as soon as possible.

Please also see me privately in regard to this course.



Academic Misconduct


Copying, plagiarism, or other academic misconduct at any time during the semester will not be tolerated. Please be aware that the University=s policy on academic misconduct can be found in Article II, Section 6 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations. You can access the entire list of Senate Rules and Regulations at





Your grade will be a function of the following:


Master's thesis proposal (60%)

Attendance and classroom participation (20%)

      Other assignments (20%)


Since Master's thesis proposals generally require revision before arriving at a satisfactory final product, I will ask you to submit drafts of your proposal twice during the semester (these dates will be a function of how quickly we  move through the proposal development process). I will assign a tentative grade for your proposal based on these drafts, and then will assign a final grade for the proposal based on the final version, which will be due on Wednesday, May 14.




We will use Blackboard for some things in the class (e.g., e-mail, distributing copies of material that I provide, and having you evaluate one another's proposals). You can access blackboard at



Required Texts


Locke, Lawrence F., Spirduso, Waneen Wyrick, and Silverman, Stephen J. 2007. Proposals that Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals. Fifth Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.


Punch, Keith F. 2006. Developing Effective Research Proposals. Second Edition. London: SAGE Publications.



Some Potential Texts


Chapin, Paul G. 2004. Research Projects and Research Proposals: A Guide for Scientists Seeking Funding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Gaytrell, Jay D., Bierly, Gregory D., and Jensen, Ryan R. 2005. Research Design and Proposal Writing in Spatial Science. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.


Glatthorn, Allan A., and Joyner, Randy L. 2005. Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation: A Step-by-Step Guide. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


Haring, L. Lloyd, Lounsbury, John F., Frazier, John W. 1992. Introduction to Scientific Geographic Research. Fourth Edition. Boston, MA: Wm. C. Brown.


Leedy, Paul D., and Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis. 2005. Practical Research: Planning and Design. Eighth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


Parsons, Tony, and Knight, Peter G. 2005. How to Do your Dissertation in Geography and Related Disciplines. Second Edition. London: Routledge.


Van Wagenen, R. Keith. 1991. Writing a Thesis: Substance and Style. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.



Other Readings  


These (and others) will be available via Blackboard.


Leedy and Ormrod (Chapter 1 from the book listed above; available at


Reis, Richard M. “Choosing a research topic”, available at





Topics to be Covered


I. Overview of the course                       Punch, Chapters 1 and 2

                                                Locke, Chapter 1, focusing on

                                                   pp. 11-16.


II. What is research and how do you

develop research ideas (or topics)?


      What is research?                          Leedy and Ormrod (web link)

      What is geographic research?

      Quantitative vs. qualitative research     

      Sources of research topics

      Questions to consider                      Reis

          in choosing a topic

      Selecting a topic                          Punch, Chapters 3 and 7

                                                 Locke, Chapter 3 (41-54)


III. Reviewing the literature                    Punch, Chapter 4

                                                 Locke, Chapter 4 (63-68)


IV. Methodological considerations                Punch, Chapter 5 (45-55)

                                                 Locke, Chapter 4 (80-89)


V. Ethical Issues                                Locke, Chapter 2

                                                 Punch, Chapter 5 (55-57)


VI. Writing the proposal                         Punch, Chapter 6,

                                                 Locke, Chapter 3 (55-61)

                                                 Locke, Chapter 4 (68-79)

                                                 Locke, Chapter 6


      Functions of the proposal

      Consider what your advisor and            

         department expect

      Basic elements of a proposal

      Stylistic issues


VII. Qualitative proposals                       Locke, Chapter 5


VIII. Selecting a thesis committee


IX. Preparing for your oral exam

   (what role can the thesis proposal play?)


X. Presenting the results of your research       Locke, Chapter 7

    (oral presentations)


XI. Writing the thesis


      College requirements

      Potential structures

      Examples of good theses

      Working with your advisor

      Working with your committee members


XII. Grantsmanship                              Locke, Chapters 8 and 9


      Locating funds to support your Master's thesis research

      Writing a one-page proposal for funding your research

      General sources of grant funding in geography

      Writing proposals for grant funding in geography


XIII. Professional development in geography


      Resumes and curriculum vitae