Thesis Roles and Responsibilities
Honors Thesis Program and Global Business Honors Program students reach the culmination of their Gabelli School of Business experience by developing their own research. This is often a student’s first significant attempt at original academic inquiry.
This page lays out the responsibilities that students, their faculty mentors, and the director of the Gabelli School’s thesis programs each play in this three-semester process.
Research Progression Timeline
Junior Year, Spring Semester
- Students meet regularly with thesis director to develop a research proposal
- Students conduct initial literature review
- Students present potential research topics to faculty and peers for critique
- Students conduct further literature review
- Students begin to connect with potential faculty advisors
- Major Deliverable #1 – Formal presentation of focused research proposal (late April)
- Major Deliverable #2 – Written research proposal (early May)
Senior Year, Fall Semester
- Students meet with thesis director approximately every other week as a group for feedback sessions and research methodology lectures
- Students communicate weekly with their faculty advisor
- Students begin data collection phase of research (if an empirical paper)
- For research involving human subjects, students start IRB approval process
- Students and faculty advisors identify prospective research conferences (e.g., NCUR)
- Major Deliverable #3 – Formal presentation of research progress (December)
- Major Deliverable #4 – Written updated research proposal (December)
Senior Year, Senior Semester
- Students begin analyzing collected data (if an empirical paper)
- Students continue to communicate weekly with faculty advisor
- Students write up their analysis and conclusion
- Major Deliverable #5 – Formal presentation of research and findings (April)
- Major Deliverable #6 – Completed thesis paper (early May)
- Students submit their work to academic journals
Research Resources for Students
The Gabelli School and Fordham University have a wide array of databases for students to use in support of their research. If students need materials that are held in databases that lie outside of the University’s subscriptions, funding may be available to enable access; if this is the case, a student should send an email describing the situation to his or her faculty advisor, the director of his or her thesis program, and Brian Dunn. The request should include a description of the data (e.g., database, survey), proposed vendor, approximate pricing, and how the data will contribute to the research. Neither the student nor the faculty advisor should incur any expenses related to the funding proposal until a decision is rendered on the request.
Contacts for Student Researchers
- Assistant Professor Luke Kachersky, Thesis Director, email@example.com
- Brian Dunn, Assistant Dean for Honors Opportunities and Dual-Degree Programs, firstname.lastname@example.org
The thesis progression was devised to bring the research experience of faculty members to bear on advising and guiding students in creating a thesis. Faculty engage with students in a two-tier structure:
- The thesis director, Assistant Professor Luke Kachersky works with students throughout the thesis progression and focuses on "big picture" items.
- Faculty advisors—one faculty member for each student researcher or research team—work directly with students during the senior year, if not earlier, providing crucial guidance that includes, but may not be limited to, mentoring, critiquing work, and identifying best practices for research.
The Honors Thesis Program and Global Business Honors Program thesis track both entail 1.5 credits in the spring semesters of junior and senior year and 3 credits in fall of senior year. Global Business Honors Program students may work in pairs on a thesis project, but Honors Thesis Program students may not.
Thesis projects typically include data or survey analysis but may be qualitative. The expectation is for students to produce a thesis paper worthy of submission to research conferences and academic journals. The thesis program director and/or Brian Dunn can provide faculty with past projects from each program as examples.
Faculty Advisor Responsibilities
- Meet, speak, and/or e-mail with assigned student researcher on a weekly basis, and possibly more frequently prior to deadlines. Provide regular feedback on students’ research process. Submit semester grades to the appropriate thesis director and inform him/her and Brian Dunn if the student has particular research needs or, more importantly, is having difficulty.
- Mentor students in regard to the commitment required throughout the process and the importance of developing a research timeline, particularly when data collection requires IRB approval. Thesis director will do the same, but reinforcement from faculty advisors is appreciated.
- Assist assigned student early in his or her senior year, if not earlier, with identifying relevant research (e.g., literature-review papers and relevant texts), research methodologies, and data sources.
- Further advise student on standard academic paper format (introduction, goals or hypotheses, literature review, research method, findings, conclusion). Non-empirical thesis projects, such as descriptive, normative, law review, or policy research, should have a format and style consistent with the norm for that discipline and type of project.
- Attend end-of-semester research presentations in December April. Attendance also is appreciated at the students’ in-semester progress mini-presentations. This in-class assistance includes providing feedback to students as they develop their research.
- OPTIONAL: Lead a faculty lecture on a relevant topic, such as research methodology. Contact the thesis program director if you are interested in conducting a session.
Thesis Director Responsibilities
- Oversee the three-semester research progression sequence.
- Establish expectations and timelines for student deliverables.
- Lead group sessions with students, which are heaviest in spring of junior year and fall of senior year.
- Guide students through the idea-development process.
- Help students improve their business research writing skills.
- Connect students with potential faculty advisors.
- Coordinate research methodology introductory sessions.
- Serve as a resource for students and faculty advisors.
- Grade students on their work, with input from faculty advisors.