English 194H - Winter, 2016

Special Study for Honors Students

Class Information

Instructor: Ferguson, Margaret
Time: TR 10:30-11:50
Location: 308 Voorhies


    The culmination of this two-quarter honors course will be a 25-30 page thesis due at the end of the Spring quarter 2015. This seminar in the Winter quarter is designed to prepare students to conduct independent research, guide them in completing a rough draft of the thesis, and create a community in which students can share their ideas and research findings with one another. Our class time will be devoted to students' oral presentations of their work-in-progress, group discussions of short texts participants are using in their projects (so that participants will set their own syllabus), and practical workshops on research, organization, time management, and writing. This course aspires to be a true capstone of the English major experience: useful, interesting, challenging, and convivial.

    We will begin with a few brief readings that will enable us to get to know one another and to explore the relationships among the forensic process of gathering and assessing information or clues, the construction of fictional plots, modern interpretive revisions of poetic and prose plots from earlier times, and the process of reading critically. In our reading, we will keep approaching the research process from different angles, exploring research methods and materials, as well as our investments in the research process,and our fantasies and reservations about it. While we will attempt to discuss each text in its own terms, our goal is also to explore a variety of different strategies, models, and lessons that might prove useful for you as you undertake your own research on your project.


    Attendance, oral presentation, and participation: 20%
    Short reports on work-in-progress: 20%
    Abstract and annotated bibliography for final project: 20%
    Rough draft of final project: 40%


    Very Short Intro to Literary Theory, Jonathan Culler
    The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
    The Sign of Four, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    The Craft of Research , Wayne Booth et al