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COURSE NAME: "Research Practicum"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Karen Georgi
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:05-4:25 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing

This upper level seminar/practicum provides rigorous, practical preparation for the writing of professional art-historical research papers, including the Senior Thesis, through four discrete units: an individual portfolio review; a research tools and methods seminar; intensive, directed bibliographic research; and the formulation of a presentation to the class on the thesis topic, together with a new 'foundation' portfolio demonstrating mastery of the research skills, competencies, and bibliography necessary for advanced art-historical research writing. The course is intended for JCU Degree Seeking students, but advanced visiting students studying Art History are welcome.

How do we approach a major research paper? What are its component parts? How do we effectively identify and research a topic, analyze the material, and articulate a coherent, relevant argument? This course offers practical instruction, strategies, and exercises that address these and other tasks essential to writing the Senior Thesis in Art History. With ongoing written assignments, bibliographic work, class discussions, and library visits, the course will guide students through the initial phases of thesis preparation so that by the end of the semester all the key elements necessary to their thesis introduction will be in place.


Students who conscientiously apply themselves will learn to:

-become effective readers, note-takers, and habitual writers
-identify and articulate a research question
-gather and evaluate appropriate sources
-compile annotated bibliographies
-write literature reviews
-locate their work within the theoretical frameworks in the field
-use research to develop a strong argument
-approach potential thesis readers with solid ideas and questions, and incorporate their suggestions
-effectively present research to their colleagues
-develop habits of active, respectful listening to their colleagues' research in order to pose useful questions.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A Short Guide to Writing about ArtBarnet, SylvanPearson Prentice Hallxxxxxxxxx 
The Craft of Research Third EditionBooth, Wayne, Gregory Columb, Joseph WilliamsUniversity of Chicago Pressxxxxxxxx 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Writing your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a DayBokler, JoanHenry Holtxxxx  
How to Write a Thesis ,trans. Caterina M. Farina and Geoff FarinaEco, UmbertoMIT Pressxxxxxxxx 
Annotated bibliographies Annotated bibliography to be turned in twice: once as a partial bibliography, with some annotations. The second deadline is for the fully annotated bibliography of at least 20 sources 25
Tasks preliminary to the final presentation: Visual analysis and Review of the literatureVisual analysis presentation or written version of one object from the proposed thesis topic; Written Literature review 25
Final Thesis presentation In-class presentation that introduces the thesis topic and questions, and that situates the project in relation to the literature in the field, and identifies theoretical approach. 40
Research journal and reading summariesOngoing journal entries, tracking the student's developing thoughts on the project, including summaries of specific texts, TBA10

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Attendance is mandatory.

Official policy on exam attendance:
You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


The course calendar will be distributed in class. Topics will include:

Introduction: Why research and write? (5 good reasons that have nothing to do with the graduation requirement)
Defining a research topic
Research questions: What is a research question, and what constitutes a valid and practicable one?
Library workshop: effective use of the resources; introduction to bibliography programs
Evaluating sources
Handling the digital deluge
Annotated bibliography
Literature review
Identifying theoretical approach and methodology
Handling the objects: Effective incorporation of formal or visual analysis into an essay.  
Writing center workshop
Format and finishing