Course Description

This Senior Thesis class is intended to introduce the seniors to the process and techniques involved in academic research and writing. This course will also help and assist in completing the Senior Thesis, which is a graduation requirement and considered a capstone project for seniors at American Heritage School. 

Consequently, each student will be required to research and write a 20-page thesis on an argumentative topic selected by the student. Topics will need to be approved by the instructor. Research for the Thesis must be in academic sources and largely depend on peer reviewed articles and materials. Each student will present and defend their thesis before a panel of judges. Students will also write, edit, and submit an essay for publication by the school regarding their experience at American Heritage. Students will also perform other assignments and write other projects throughout the course.

Students will demonstrate their mastery of the curriculum through the following tasks: 

  • Students will learn about the research process and methods that good researchers use.
  • Students will good research habits by completing logs, research notes, and recording their research efforts. 
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to write about an academic topic using academic sources in an academic voice. 
  • Students will be able to identify and explain essential methods of electronic research using databases and advanced search techniques. 
  • Students will relate their research topics to current events and modern trends. 
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of English and their ability to write, edit, and communicate their ideas using evidence and elevated language. 

Students will study “A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations” by Kate L. Turabian.

Course Details

Senior Thesis

Twelfth Grade

Course Objectives

  • Learn effective research techniques, including resource selection and objectivity.
  • Develop skills in academic writing, editing, and revision.
  • Gain experience in planning, drafting, and conferencing with peers.
  • Prepare and deliver an oral presentation and thesis defense.
  • Build critical thinking and public speaking skills through thesis development and defense.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introduction to the Senior Thesis

  • Overview of the Senior Thesis
    • Understanding the purpose and structure of the senior thesis.
    • Discussing the research and writing process.
  • Choosing a Thesis Topic
    • Brainstorming and selecting a suitable thesis topic.
    • Ensuring the topic is researchable and manageable.

Unit 2: Research Techniques and Resource Selection

  • Research Techniques
    • Learning effective research methods and objectivity.
    • Exploring different types of sources (primary, secondary, tertiary).
  • Gathering Resources
    • Finding and evaluating sources for reliability and relevance.
    • Building a comprehensive bibliography for the thesis.

Unit 3: Planning and Drafting the Thesis

  • Thesis Planning and Outlining
    • Creating a detailed thesis outline with main points and subpoints.
    • Establishing a timeline for the thesis project.
  • Drafting the Thesis
    • Writing the initial draft of the thesis based on the outline.
    • Incorporating research and supporting evidence into the draft.

Unit 4: Editing and Revising

  • Thesis Editing Techniques
    • Learning effective editing techniques to improve clarity and coherence.
    • Identifying common errors and areas for improvement.
  • Revising and Conferencing
    • Revising the thesis based on feedback and self-assessment.
    • Engaging in peer conferencing to receive constructive criticism.

Unit 5: Finalizing the Thesis

  • Final Revisions and Proofreading
    • Making final revisions to the thesis for accuracy and completeness.
    • Proofreading for grammar, punctuation, and formatting.
  • Preparing for the Oral Presentation
    • Planning the oral presentation and creating visual aids.
    • Practicing the presentation with feedback from peers and teachers.

Unit 6: Senior Thesis Defense

  • Thesis Presentation and Defense
    • Presenting the thesis to a panel of adjudicators.
    • Defending the thesis through questions and discussion.
  • Reflection and Course Review
    • Reflecting on the thesis process and personal growth.
    • Reviewing key lessons learned during the course.

Expected Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have completed a comprehensive senior thesis, demonstrating their ability to research, write, and defend an academic project. They will have developed critical thinking, academic writing, and public speaking skills, and gained experience in research and analysis. This course aims to prepare students for college-level research and writing, as well as careers that require strong communication and analytical skills.

Coming soon.

Coming soon.

Mr. Logan Wells

Logan Well is a professor specializing in U.S. history and Mormon history & doctrine, currently serving as an adjunct professor of religion at BYU and Salt Lake Community College. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University. He then pursued a Master of Arts in History from Arizona State University, further deepening his understanding of historical analysis and research methodologies.

Mr. Wells is currently in the final stages of completing his Doctor of Philosophy in History at Claremont Graduate University.