Length can vary depending on the topic and the expectations of the supervisor. Typically Honours Essays average about 60 pages (minimum 35-40), with 30-40 unique references. Talk to your supervisor about what is appropriate for your project.
For an empirical research project, the following sections are required in the Essay:
- introduction (literature review and the hypothesis)
- methods (participants, design, testing procedures, measures)
- survey materials in an appendix (if applicable)
The sections and subsections required for theoretical papers will be slightly different than for empirical research projects, and will vary according to the topic being studied. If possible, students should plan the layout for the theoretical paper in the SDS 499A term because the plan may guide their literature review. Students should consult with their supervisor about the layout.
Normally students will receive feedback from their supervisor on at least one or two drafts of the essay before the final paper is submitted for marking.
The Honours Essay must follow APA style (APA Publication Manual also available at the Lusi Wong Library). Sample Honours Essays are available in the Lusi Wong Library.
What is the due date for the final paper?
The final version of the Essay is due for grading by the last day of the examination period for the SDS 499B term - see Important Dates.
Once your supervising professor has evaluated your work and assigned a grade, make any recommended revisions. If you are willing to share your work, you can produce a final copy bound in Cerlox or in a presentation binder for the Lusi Wong Library and/or email a copy of your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org for department records.
Do I have to hand anything in at the end of 499A?
Typically, by the end of Term 1 (SDS 499A), you should have developed an extensive bibliography and completed the required readings and research, or designed an empirical study and made progress in collecting data. You will submit a progress report of approximately 5 pages in length that includes the following information:
- a title page identifying the document as a "SDS 499A Progress Report", with the proposed title of the project; student's name and email address; the name of the honours essay supervisor
- a statement of the general topic of the proposed study
- a brief account of the background literature the student has read, together with a brief explanation of its relevance for the project (annotated bibliography)
- a clear statement of the research questions and/or the major hypotheses that the study will address
- a brief statement of the further steps that will be necessary to complete (e.g., collecting the data)
If your project involves collecting data from human participants, you should aim to have your ethics application submitted by the end of Term 1 as well.
How is the essay graded?
Supervisors are given the following guidelines when they are asked to recommend a final grade for the Honours Essay:
An outstanding essay, one of the best you have seen in years, involving rare dedication and a tremendous amount of independent work, at the level of a strong graduate student.
A truly excellent essay, representing an impressive level of achievement all round (e.g., clear and effective writing throughout; illuminating, correctly reported data analyses; probing, well-informed introduction and discussion sections), and unusual independence.
A strong essay, representing a high level of competence overall, but having some specific, nontrivial shortcomings that the student could have rectified; with a fine level of independence.
A good essay overall, but one that has more major shortcomings than we would typically expect in a strong honours essay; usually with a modest level of independence.
A just satisfactory essay, clearly below the level we would typically expect, with serious shortcomings; typically with a relatively low level of independence.
Just barely acceptable as an honours essay, far below the level we would typically expect, with lots of serious shortcomings and a low level of independence.