GEOG 806 BASIC SEMINAR 4:00-5:45 PM Monday SPRING 2009

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 (e.g., preparation of the curriculum vitae and ethical issues that you may encounter in either the academic or non-academic world).

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 is not permitted. 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%)

I will use the traditional letter grade system; no + and – grades will be assigned.

Since Master’s thesis proposals generally require revision before arriving at a satisfactory final product, I will ask you to submit a “two-pager” and two drafts of your proposal before you submit your final proposal. Below are the due dates for these:

Two-pager: Monday, March 23 (Feedback due Monday, March 30) First Draft: Monday, April 13 (Feedback due Friday, April 17) Second Draft: Monday, April 27 (Feedback due Friday, May 1) Final Draft: Wednesday, May 13


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

A. Examples of Master’s Thesis Proposals (available via electronic reserve at; the password is “thesis”)

Campbell, Joshua “Archaeological Predictive Model for the High Plains of Southwestern Kansas”

Victoria Downey "Representations of Waikiki: An analysis of Hawai'ian tourism through hotel brochures"

Hilary Hungerford "Onitsha Market literature and negotiations of modernity in Nigeria"

Meador, Stephanie “Ouray, Colorado: Sense of the Modern Wild West”

Amy Rork "Sense of place in Montgomery County, Kansas: Perceptions of an industrialized rural area"

Rex Rowley "Rangeland productivity measures for rangeland/pasture crop insurance decision support: Comparing rancher perception and remote sensing


Steven Schnell "Rainy Mountain and beyond: An exploration of the Kiowa homeland"

Robert Shapiro "Complexity effects on region perception of classed and unclassed choropleth maps"

Ashley Zung "Soil vegetation and geologic properties as predictors for landslides in Camp David Qaudrangle, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming"

B. Miscellaneous Readings (available via the Web or electronic reserve)

Leedy and Ormrod (“What is research?”, Chapter 1 from the book listed above; available at

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

Treviño, L. K. and Nelson, K. A. 2004. Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do it Right. Third Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. (Pages 88-100 of Chapter 4,”Deciding what’s right: A Prescriptive Approach”, are available via electronic reserve at

C. Methodology Readings (available at Anschutz on-site reserve)

Denzin, Norman K. and Lincoln, Yvonna S. (eds.) 2005. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Third Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Gaile, Gary L. and Willmott, Cort J. (eds.) 2003. Geography in America at the Dawn of the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hay, Iain. (ed.) 2005. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography. Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Robinson, Guy M. 1998. Methods and Techniques in Human Geography. New York: Wiley.

Shurmer-Smith, Pamela. (ed.) 2002. Doing Cultural Geography. London: SAGE.

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 to develop research ideas (or topics)?
What is research? What is geographic research? Quantitative vs. qualitative research Sources of research topics Questions to consider in choosing a topic Selecting a topic Leedy and Ormrod Reis Punch, Chapters 3 and 7 Locke, Chapter 3 (41-54)
III. Resumes and the curriculum vitae
IV. Reviewing the literature Punch, Chapter 4
Locke, Chapter 4 (63-68)
V. Methodological considerations Punch, Chapter 5 (45-55)
Locke, Chapter 4 (80-89)
VI. Ethical Issues Locke, Chapter 2
Punch, Chapter 5 (55-57)
Treviño and Nelson (88-100)
VII. Writing the proposal Punch, 59-69, 72-74
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
VIII. Qualitative proposals Locke, Chapter 5
Punch 70-72
IX. Selecting a thesis committee
X. Preparing for your oral exam
(what role can the thesis proposal play?)
XI. Presenting the results of your research Locke, Chapter 7
(oral presentations)
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. Writing the thesis

College requirements Potential structures Examples of good theses Working with your advisor Working with your committee members

XIV. Professional development in geography