L&S Honors Program

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Sample Social Sciences Green Sheet Proposals

The following social sciences Green Sheet, submitted by past students, demonstrates the specific, yet concise honors project outline that the Honors Program will look for on your proposal. Thank you to all the students who have allowed us to use their Green Sheet proposals as models!

Geography/IES 339: Environmental Conservation

Summer is the ideal time to take an environmental conservation class because the landscape is never more verdant than it is right now. In class, we have learned about the history of the environmental conservation and preservation movements in the United States as well as the establishment of conservation policies. My project will relate to the preservation movement, protecting nature for its inherent value. The UW-Madison Arboretum is a great example of a project dedicated to the preservation movement, because its purposes are education and recreation rather than profit. Although the class has taken one field trip to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, during which we discussed the management techniques for the area, most of our learning is derived from lectures and videos. Rather than talk about conservation and restoration, my honors project will translate the philosophies I learn during class into hands-on activity.

For my honors project, I will participate in Ecological Restoration work days at the UW-Madison Arboretum. The work days are held each Saturday, and I hope to participate in at least three for the sake of this project. I plan to make my experience at the Arboretum extend beyond the length of this project and volunteer for my remaining time in Madison. The volunteer activities include removing invasive plants that displace native vegetation, planting in restoration sites, and monitoring the sites being restored. The volunteers work on a number of different ecosystems in the Arboretum, including oak savanna, tallgrass prairie and wetlands. After each work day, I will write a journal that recounts my participation and records my reactions to the project. At the end of the project, I will write a summary of what I learned through the experience and how I can gain environmental awareness in other areas of my life.

During class, we have talked much of the different conservation ideologies and policies that exist in the United States today. However, we do not talk much of the methods that are used to restore and preserve wild landscapes. I hope to learn conservation techniques that the Arboretum uses to protect biological diversity, as well as how they recreate certain types of landscape that did not exist in the area originally. I would also like to learn about the different research that takes place at the Arboretum. I can experience conservation in an area that is familiar and valuable to me, and learn how much work goes into maintaining "wild" areas.

Journalism 560: History of Mass Communication

To earn honors credit for my enrollment in Journalism 560, I plan to complete an in-depth and extensive research paper examining the history of political advertising, focusing specifically on the role of media in elections in the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout the research and writing process of the paper, I plan to work directly with Professor Baughman. The primary course topic is the history of mass communication, so this honors component will allow me to enhance my knowledge of a specific area of mass communication, as well as explore a topic that is particularly interesting to me within the broad subject area. In addition, completing the honors component of the paper will allow me to explore possible areas of interest for my senior honors thesis in Journalism.

The topic or focus of the project, as mentioned above, will be on the history of political advertising, taking a special look at certain influential campaigns in the last century. The end product of the honors curriculum will be a research paper of between 15 and 20 pages, complete with thorough, in-depth analysis of my topic of choice. I will be meeting with Professor Baughman and another Honors student throughout the semester on an approximately biweekly basis but possibly increasing the number of meetings as the deadline for the assignment approaches. As discussed above, we will be working with Professor Baughman throughout the research and writing process to discuss thesis options, research strategies, and connections between class content and our specific research topics. My research will involve primary sources like political advertisements, in a variety of mediums, and secondary sources to develop a thesis statement. In terms of a timeline for the project, the paper outline will be due on October 9, with the final draft of the assignment due November 23. This timeline will give me an adequate amount of time to conduct the necessary research work, as well as allow me to connect my individual research to the topics we will cover in class this semester.

This project meets the standards of an Honors experience in several ways – first, I will be working directly with Professor Baughman throughout the semester, rather than with the teaching assistant for the course. He will review my paper proposal and various drafts of the paper, as well as be the primary contact for questions and the final grader of the assignment. This project will go above and beyond the regular course work through this work with Professor Baughman, including one-on-one meetings and additional research and readings, to create an enriched and enhanced experience in the course. This project will broaden my skillset because I’ve never had the opportunity to write an extend research paper in my journalism classes, but I’ve always been interested in doing so. It will allow me to dive into research about the media and politics, and will help develop my critical thinking, analysis and research skills. These are skills that I hope to use next year when writing my Senior Honors Thesis, and by taking this course for Honors, I will begin to develop those necessary skills. In addition, working with Professor Baughman will give me some insight as to what the process will look like, as well as whether or not this is a topic that I’m interested in pursuing for a thesis. Finally, on a professional level, I’m interested in pursuing a career in political communications, and working with Professor Baughman to write a research paper on political advertising seems like an excellent way to explore the history behind the industry.

Political Science 506: Freedom

I initially thought of this project when I saw that we would be reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Professor Joshua Bandoch’s course. Since I knew that Professor Bandoch also speaks French, I saw this as a great opportunity to expand my French knowledge in conjunction with my political science interests. My project is connected to the course topic since it focuses on Rousseau whose writing we are reading for this class. The topic of my paper will also relate to the course’s focus of freedom, center in on Rousseau’s own conception of liberty and freedom. I will be reading Rousseau’s Social Contractin its original French and the end product will be a 2200-2400 word paper in French that will critically analyze the piece.

Spanish 260: Introduction to Latin America

Introduction to Latin America is a course that broadly examines Latin American history from ancient civilization, up through colonialism and independence, all the way to modern conditions in the region. The history that this course presents gives insight into how Latin American countries have been shaped by both domestic and international politics. One of my primary interest areas is international relations and global development, specifically the different kinds of programs that governments and nonprofit organizations implement to combat poverty and inequality. Latin America has faced issues of wealth inequality that can be traced back to colonial and neocolonial institutions. Particularly surprising is the inequality ratio in Chile, a country considered to be among developed nations. Drawing on the Latin America’s past, I want to go beyond the history of the region and focus in on modern day policy in Chile.

The focus of my project is primarily on studying development and poverty in Chile. I intend to compose a 10 page research paper that goes more in-depth on one of the ways the Chilean government is attempting to distribute wealth more equitably within their nation. I will meet with my professor weekly to discuss the best ways of laying out the paper and how I can coordinate research abroad in the future. I plan to study the Conditional Cash Transfer program in Chile called Solidario. I want to focus specifically on what makes Chile’s program different from other cash transfer programs, and if these distinguishing features prove to be particularly effective at raising people out of poverty and closing gaps in wealth. This topic relates to another course I am taking this semester called Global Poverty & Inequality (IS 402), in which we study different forms of poverty alleviation. This research assignment will allow me to give special attention to a specific Latin American country and assess a modern policy using the context I have gained in both LACIS 260 and IS 402.

This paper is distinct from regular coursework because it takes a more nuanced approach to issues in a specific Latin American country, rather than more generally in an entire region. Through this project I want to be able to understand more about modern policy in Latin America and how governments are responding to today’s issues: many of which are artifacts of colonialism. The process will involve analyzing many other reports and research papers that have already been conducted by various NGOs, both in Chile and other Latin American countries. Much of what we learn in the course is objective accounts of policy outcomes that have occurred in the past. Through this project I will be able to evaluate a program whose outcomes are ongoing and have yet to be imbedded in history. The research is particularly pertinent to me not only because it involves a subject I encounter in much of my coursework, but also because I will be spending next year studying in Chile. As a result, I plan to use this project as the basis for research that I will be able to conduct in the field next year, working towards an eventual senior thesis. I think this project as a whole will help me develop as a citizen along professor Cronon’s eight principle of understanding how to get things done in the world, because it focuses on the study of poverty alleviation and providing more welfare to a broader population. A primary goal of research in the field of development economics is to improve opportunities for whole communities.

I want to Green Sheet this course primarily to give me new insights on an issue that has arisen in multiple courses and has become genuinely intriguing to me. Additionally, it will provide me with a deeper understanding of a country that I will spend a year in, but through a more unique path than a general cultural survey. A Green Sheet in this course will also help me towards my L&S honors degree. Since I will be going abroad next year, the number of honors courses I can get credit for is limited. The Green Sheet, in this case, will be a way for me to stay on track with honors while still gaining a valuable education abroad.