Thesis and independent study guidance

I have high expectations for students who want me to advise an honors thesis or independent study. This is because I expect our work and my mentoring relationship with them to continue after the honors or independent study research project. After completing their thesis or independent study, I encourage students to work with me to adapt their paper into a coauthored article and then submit it to a peer-reviewed journal. I also encourage students to present their work at an academic conference, supporting them and their participation as necessary.
To achieve these goals, students must work hard. They must read a lot, develop technical skills, and do more than the minimum necessary to meet Dartmouth requirements. More on that below. In exchange, I treat these students as graduate students, as scholars in training, and to invest in their development accordingly. This means that I actively provide research feedback, help students apply for fellowships and grants, write letters of recommendation, and help them as they pursue their post-grad goals.

Advance preparations

For the thesis and independent study experience to be the most productive, I advise students to take the following steps in the months before they begin work.
  • Learn R. You might have been trained in Python or Stata, but I’m most proficient with R and will want you to use that for your work.
  • Experiment with using generative AI, like chatGPT, to help you code. This can be a huge force multiplier.
  • Start putting together a bibliography of relevant works in Mendeley or Zotero.
If, after reading this, you remain excited about the prospect of doing an honor thesis or independent project with me, please let me know. I look forward to working with you.