Creative Project Guidelines

If you undertake a "creative" project that is not a research paper—such as a recital, an art exhibit, an event such as a charity fundraiser, a creative piece of writing, or a video—in addition to your thesis proposal detailing your plans, you must include with your submitted project/thesis an "author's statement" that details the academic justification and learning process of your project.

This written component should provide a navigation tool for an intelligent reader who is not a specialist in the area you have done your project, and it should analyze and explain the academic reasons for the decisions you made as you developed your project. For instance, if you painted four portraits inspired by the research you conducted, explain why you chose to make four rather than five or three and why these particular four were the ones you decided to depict. Discuss what themes you were exploring and how the several pieces fit together or are related to the experiences you are trying to capture. Remember that the author's statement should address the learning goals appropriate to a senior honors project or thesis; do not assume that this is obvious from the creative product itself. (These goals are specified in the Thesis Guide.)

If your project is a musical recital, explain why particular pieces were chosen for performance and describe how they represent your areas of study and your development as a performer. You also should plan to include a bibliography of the sources that provided inspiration and context for your project.

How to envision your artist's statement should be an important topic of discussion during your thesis appointment with the dean or associate dean. There is no single formula that describes all such written components. If your project does not fit into a recognized area where a written submission follows a specific style sheet, you may agree on a format with your thesis mentor and/or the dean.

Keep in mind that creative projects, like research theses, should represent your best achievement in honors work and should include an academic justification for the product you have created. Therefore, you should work in areas in which you have experience. For instance, if you’re planning to write a collection of short stories, you presumably have completed prior work in creative writing. If you plan to make a video, you should possess the necessary technical expertise.

Printed Guide
Copies of the full Guide to the Senior Honors Thesis/Creative Project are available in the Ball Honors House. Combined with your appointment with the dean, this paper guide should answer all your questions and greatly assist you in completing your project.

Related Links
Research Paper Guidelines
Proposing Your Project
Submitting Your Final Thesis
Frequently Asked Questions

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