Stanford University

Honors Program

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION

HONORS THESIS PROGRAM 2015-16

 

The Program: The Honors Thesis Program offers qualified students an opportunity to conduct independent communication research and to write an honors thesis reporting their results. The program provides for close contact between students and thesis advisors so that students can receive intensive guidance and assistance throughout their research and writing. The aim is to help students go through the process of conceptualization, study planning, data collection, analysis and writing, which is essential to excellence in scholarship.

Eligibility: Each student should submit an application for the program no later than the last day of classes of spring quarter of the junior year and have a GPA of 3.3 in Communication courses. The Honors Thesis Program is based on the assumption that useful research and writing take time and effort and thus will be ongoing for the three quarters of the senior year. Students should be aware that no faculty member can effectively supervise more than a few theses each year. Normally, the thesis advisor will be a faculty member with whom the student has already taken a course.

Requirements: Students wishing to participate in the Honors Thesis Program must be majoring in Communication and must have completed the core requirements (COMM 1A or COMM 1B, 106, 108,STATS 60) and received a grade of B+ or better in Communication Research Methods (COMM 106). A thesis advisor may deem other courses as necessary.

Writing Consultation Services: The Hume Center for Writing and Speaking provides many resources to help you with Honors projects. Honors Thesis Boot Camps are offered during the summer and academic year. Students can also seek individual consultation with them about clarifying argument and thesis, framing research, improving transitions, providing revising strategies and other writing issues. Their writing consultants also work with students on scheduling and planning, how to stay motivated, overcoming writer’s block, outlining and organizing sections of thesis, assessing a writing schedule for the honors thesis.

Funding: Please contact Brian Thomas, Associate Director, Undergraduate Advising and Research, during the fall quarter of your junior year for more information regarding how to secure funding for your Honors Thesis. He can be reached at bthomas@stanford.edu or (650) 723-0051. Two important sources of funding that you may want to apply for are:

Major Grants

  • Grants for majors support substantial, in-depth projects that normally span several quarters. Priority is given to projects that culminate in an honors thesis or other capstone product that demonstrates a focused, intellectually rigorous perspective on the topic. Applications are due in winter quarter (check for specific date at http://studentgrants.stanford.edu). The budget limit is $6,000; budget may include a stipend.

Small Grants

  • Small grants of up to $1,500 support smaller independent projects, and can also be used to enable particular phases of larger-scale effort. Applications deadlines are found throughout the year, making the Small Grant especially flexible.

Grants Timeline

  • The information found on the Student Grants website (search ‘timeline & checklist for applying) provides the big picture view for Small Grants of the lead time prior to application through approval and on to disbursement of funds. For Major Grants the review time is about six or seven weeks instead of three weeks. This timeline can be extended further if a student’s project is put on hold, rather than initially approved, requiring the applicant to submit a revision.
  • The interval from approval to fund disbursement is determined by the student meeting certain documentation requirements. For all students, this includes a donor thank-you letter and grant contract/waiver. For other students it may also entail a combination of human subject protocol approval, pre-field documentation (coursework, proof of insurance, field contact letter, emergency contact information, embassy registration), and a PTA for a lab supply reimbursement and/or human subject advance.
  • If a student has the cash flow to afford it, s/he can spend personal funds on approved grant expenses (except in the case where human subject protocol approval hasn’t occurred) and be reimbursed by the grant stipend check we request from the Financial Aid Office, with assistance from Student Financial Services.
  • From the time we request a stipend disbursement to the time the student receives it is about two work weeks; this can be reduced by a few days if a student has already set up direct deposit with Stanford through Axess.

Honors Thesis Credit: Students admitted to the program will earn honors thesis credit for a total of three quarters and may not receive more than five units of credit in a single quarter. Students are expected to make steady progress on their honors thesis throughout the year. An ‘N’ grade must be entered in Axess by the thesis advisor at the end of each of the first two quarters, indicating that this is continuing work and that the final grade (posted in spring) will be a letter grade. The honors work may be used to fulfill Communication elective credit. Honors in Communication cannot be awarded retroactively. A student failing to fulfill all honors requirements may still receive independent study credit for work completed which can be applied toward fulfilling major elective requirements. Failure to submit a satisfactory draft of the thesis during fall quarter will result in the student being dropped from the program.

Submitting Your Honors Thesis: A final copy of the paper must be submitted to your thesis advisor for review and grading, (and a second copy to the department), by the end of the eighth week of spring quarter of your senior year. The department copy becomes part of a permanent record held by the department.

Graduation with Honors: The designation graduation with honors is awarded by the Department of Communication to those graduating seniors who, in addition to having completed all requirements for the communication major, also achieve the following:

  1. Successfully complete an Honors Thesis (B+ or better)
  2. Maintain a distinguished grade average in all Communication course work
  3. Are recommended by the Communication faculty

This distinction will be noted on the student’s diploma and during the department graduation ceremonies.

Honors Application Form

Choosing A Faculty Honors Advisor

Tips for Honors Students by Honors Students

Honors Students

Sophia Vo

Sophia Vo

Sophia Vo

Because of modern media conglomerates like The Walt Disney Company, viewers can follow fictional characters across mediums — from television to film to video games. Transmedia storytelling involves the dispersion of one story across multiple mediums for a coordinated experience. Rather than simply the same story adapted from a book into a movie, every medium in transmedia contributes uniquely to the narrative system. In a series of essays, my thesis will explore the impact of transmedia on the film medium and on marketing strategy. Case studies include Mickey Mouse’s role in product promotion, Star Trek fan forums and Iron Man video game culture.

Advisor: Fred Turner

Shawnee Baughman

Shawnee Baughman

Shawnee Baughman

Shawnee is working with Professor Jeremy Bailenson and Dr. Robin Rosenberg, who is the world’s expert on the psychology of superheros.  They are using an innovative new Virtual World in which the user can fly like a superhero by raising and moving their arms. They will be studying some of the psychological effects that may ensue after one embodies a superhero. The goal is to see whether positive social actions, or helping behaviors, increase when they have been given the chance to act as a hero.

Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson

Honors Theses

Previous Honors Theses are available for review in Room 110A in Bldg. 120. Examples of some recent theses include:

  • Transmedia and the Spectator: How Disney Represents Interactivity, Star Images and Contingency for Audiences
    Sophia Vo, 2014, Thesis Advisors: Fred Turner & Carol Vernallis
  • Virtual Superheroes: Using Superpowers in Virtual Reality to Encourage Prosocial Behavior
    Shawnee Baughman, 2012, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
  • What Might it Mean to be Human: A Glimpse of the Future Through Battlestar Galactica
    Sydney Burlison, 2012, Thesis Advisor: Fred Turner
  • Influencing Environmental Negotiation Through Immersive Social Perspective Taking
    Alyssa Green, 2012, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
  • Ethnic Tweaking of the Windows to the Soul: The Role of Media in Shaping the Beauty Perception of Korean Women
    Christine J. Park, 2011, Thesis Advisor: Fred Turner
  • Human Centric System Design: An Analysis of How Collaborative System Design Dicates Innovation and Productivity in Modern Economies and How to Seamlessly Leverage Future Technologies with the Human Condition
    Steven Duplinsky, 2010, Thesis Advisor: Byron Reeves
  • Justice at 24 Frames a Second: The Power and Persuasiveness of Victim Impact and Mitigation Videos
    Charlie Mintz, 2010, Thesis Advisors: Glenn Frankel & Fred Turner
  • Multi-Dimensional Design Strategies for Web Recommender Systems: How Grouping Approaches for Generating Product Recommendations Affect User Responses
    Paloma Ochi (Firestone Award Recipient), 2010, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
  • Mixed Emotions: Emotional Juxtaposition in Online Advertising
    Alison Johnston, 2009, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
  • The Portrayal of Africa in the Western Media and its Effects on College-Aged Youth of African-descent Living in the United States
    Kamila McDonald, 2009, Thesis Advisors: Fred Turner & Prudence Carter
  • The News Media in Nicaragua and Their Role in Democratic Development 
    Amy Bonilla, 2008, Thesis Advisors: Shanto Iyengar & William Ratliff
  • S.tiches O.f the S.ahara: An Exploration Into the Non-profit Business 
    Allison Brian, 2008, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
  • Multi-Media Minds: Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers 
    Eyal Ophir, 2008, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
  • Bringing the Asian Journalism Debate into American Newsrooms: Rethinking Diversity 
    Aram Hur, 2007, Thesis Advisor: Ted Glasser
  • Learning Tai Chi in Virtual Reality: Exploring the Effects of Fully Immersive Virtual Reality on Learning of Physical Tasks? 
    Alexia Nielsen, 2007, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
  • Virtually True: Children’s Acquisition of False Memories in Virtual Reality 
    Kathryn Rickertsen (Firestone Award Recipient), 2007, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
  • Virtual Police Lineups: An Exploration of How Virtual Reality Can Improve Eyewitness Identification 
    Alexandra Davies, 2005, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
  • Subtle Racial Media Appeals in Political Campaigns and the Local News: How does this influence public opinion and California referenda? 
    Jessica LaVerne Parker, 2005, Thesis Advisor: Shanto Iyengar