Honors Work In Geography GEO 497 & 498

The faculty of V.U.'s Department of Geography and Meteorology encourage students to undertake Honors Work in Geography. Completion of an Honors Work project can serve as excellent preparation for graduate school, work in the public sector, or employment with a government agency, all of which require individuals with strong analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and research acumen. This information sheet outlines what Honors Work in geography should entail and how it might be conducted. For general inforamtion about Honors Work see Departmental Honors Work in the University Catalog and the the Honors Work Website.

What is Honors Work? For the purpose of Honors Work in Geography, "honors work" is defined as a major independent project consisting of either 1) original basic research on some geographical question or 2) a solution to an applied geographic problem. Literature reviews and other descriptive studies, no matter how exhaustive, do not constitute Honors Work and are better suited to Independent Study.

Conducting an Honors Project. Honors Work constitutes a significant investment of time and effort, both on the part of the student and the faculty advisor. The process spans an entire year—from topic proposal and acceptance to project completion—and so involves several steps. Honors Projects in geography involve 1) identifying a geographic problem or question, 2) collecting data and other information related to the problem, 3) analyzing this data and information, and 4) arriving at a conclusion.

Honors Work projects in geography must include the following components:

Research Option

1. thesis statement
2. review of relevant literature
3. discussion of research methods and data
4. analysis
5. conclusion
6. bibliography

Applied Option

1. statement of problem and purpose
2. review of relevant literature
3. rationale of methods used
4. discussion of data and its acquisition
5. statement of outcomes/results
6. bibliography

Sample Topics.   Topics or projects suited to Honors Work in Geography abound, but the following examples may serve as representative projects for the two available options.

Research Option

"Draining the Land: Human Environmental Impact in the Kankakee Marsh." "Where is the Midwest? A Study in Perceptual Geography Applied Option

"The Role of GIS in Managing Exotic Species in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Area." "Economic and Planning Initiatives for the Revitalization of Downtown Valparaiso: An Analysis."

Students should identify and develop their topics in consultation with a faculty advisor.

More Information. For more information, consult the following sources:

L. Lloyd Haring, John F. Lounsbury, and John W. Frazier. 1992. Introduction to Scientific Geographic Research, Fourth Edition, Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Publishers.

Robert W. Durrenberger. 1971. Geographical Research and Writing. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.

Edward A Ackerman. 1958. Geography as a Fundamental Research Discipline. Department of Geography Research Paper No. 53. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.