Master's Paper Guidelines

Choosing a Faculty Advisor 

Planning the Paper

Writing the Text

The Final Version of the Paper and Abstract 

Indexing

Library Maintenance

Submitting the Master's Paper Electronically


 

Choosing a Faculty Advisor

The student is responsible for selecting a topic and finding a faculty member willing to serve as advisor. In general, the student should follow these steps in choosing a topic and advisor:

1. Begin by exploring topics that match the student's interests, knowledge and skills.

2. Discuss ideas for the master's paper with faculty members who have an interest and expertise in the selected area. The student may explore possible paper topics with several faculty members before selecting the final topic.

3. Select an advisor based on mutual interests and the availability of the faculty member to direct the paper/project during the appropriate semester(s).

The student should understand that individual faculty members may approach agreement on a topic in different ways: through discussion and a written tentative outline, or through a more detailed proposal.

See the list of full-time teaching faculty members who are currently authorized to serve as master's paper advisors. Adjunct and clinical faculty may also serve as advisors at their discretion. They perform this service as a professional courtesy; it is not part of their instructional obligation to the School. A student interested in working with an individual who is not a full-time faculty member must see the Associate Dean or the Student Services Manager.

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Planning the Paper

1. If the advisor has not required a formal proposal as part of the selection process, the student prepares the proposal after the advisor has agreed to supervise the projected study. The writing of a proposal is an integral part of the planning the master's paper.

2. The advisor must make clear to the student the types and amount of information expected in the proposal and the timetable for proceeding.

3. Approval of the proposal by the advisor constitutes an agreement. An approved proposal protects both the student and the advisor. Changes in the plan for the study may be made only as the result of mutual agreement between the student and the advisor.

4. If a student plans to make use of human research subjects for the master's paper (i.e., plans to use interviews, questionnaires, or tests), s/he must complete an IRB proposal within the university system located at https://apps.research.unc.edu/irb/.  Even if working on campus, the student's home department for this purpose is SILS. Once completed, the proposal will be routed to the faculty advisor listed in the proposal for review and subsequent approval.  After approval by the assistant dean for administration it will be submitted to the university review board.  University IRB approval must be obtained prior to sending out questionnaires or conducting interviews.

Note: The Office of Human Resources Ethics can answer all questions regarding IRB applications.

 

5. Carnegie Research Grants, up to $100, are available to SILS students for assistance with unusual expenses involved in researching the master's paper. Grants have been made for the costs of travel, postage, microfilm materials, and certain other necessary expenses. Grants are not made for the mechanical preparation of a Master's paper, such as typing or copying the finished paper.

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Writing the Text

Please note: There is a template (.dot or .dotx) available for download that conforms to guidelines below for the abstract and title page. Students are encouraged to create pages using this template.   If you are unable to open this file you can try using the .doc version or a .docx version.

1. The student submits to the advisor a first draft of the paper which conforms to the characteristics described, along with an abstract of no more than 150 words. The draft should follow the latest edition of Turabian's ManualThe MLA Style Manual or the APA Publication Manualconsistently, with these additions:

a. The title page should conform with the sample attached to these policies. The date should reflect the month in which the paper is actually completed.

b. The abstract should conform with the sample. Note that the abstract is not numbered.

c. Footnotes, instead of being placed at the foot of the pages, may be gathered at the ends of chapters or at the end of the paper, with the heading: NOTES. End notes always precede appendices (if any) and the bibliography.

d. Margins for the paper are 1.5 inches on the left and 1 inch on the right, the bottom, and the top except that the first page of the text, each chapter (if any), the Table of Contents and the first page of the Bibliography have margins of 2 inches at the top.

e. Margins for the abstract are 1.5 inches on the left and 1 inch on each of the other sides. Single-space the citation and the abstract itself.

f. Pagination should appear on each page except the title page. Arabic numbers should appear in the upper right hand corner of the paper.

g. When placing tables broadside, place headings at the binding and notes, if any, at the bottom of the table.

h. Placement of appendices relative to the bibliography or list of works cited depends on the particular style manual consulted. However, the bibliography must not be one of the appendices.

i. Block quotations are indented from the left and are single-spaced.

2. The first draft and subsequent drafts will most likely require revisions. Students should expect to rewrite all or part of the text before final acceptance, and should submit substantial drafts to their advisors several weeks before the final deadline.

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The Final Version of the Paper and Abstract

Before printing on good paper, the student is responsible for getting the format of their paper checked by a member of the student services staff (Lara Bailey, room 108 or Tiffany Harris room 107).

1. The title of the paper should describe precisely the nature of the study.

2. After the advisor finds the paper acceptable, the student must submit two copies of the paper in its final form. Both copies must be on white, 100 percent cotton paper or paper guaranteed by the manufacturer to be its equivalent in durability, 8.5 inches by 11 inches, 16 to 24 pound weight.

PAPERS SUBMITTED ON UNACCEPTABLE PAPER WILL BE RETURNED TO THE STUDENT TO BE REPRODUCED ON THE CORRECT PAPER.

3. Copies may be produced in the following manner:

a. By letter-quality computer printer, such as laser printer or daisy wheel. Do not use ink jet printers as the ink will run if the paper becomes wet. There is a printer available for Masters paper printing in the SILS computer Lab. In order to access this printer go to the START button and select RUN (or use Windows Search). Type in \\sils-pelican and click OK. Click to highlight SILS-MastersPaper. Right-click on that printer and choose "Connect". Click "yes" to install the print driver.

b. By clear and clean photocopy of an original produced by method a.

4. A total of five copies of the abstract must be submitted, following the paper and reproduction guidelines as above.

5. Submit not more than six subject headings to assist in indexing the paper in bibliographic sources. These headings should follow the sample abstract. The headings to be used are those employed in the Library Literature thesaurus and should closely reflect the content of the study.

To access the thesaurus, follow these steps: from the UNC library's main website (www.lib.unc.edu), click on "E-Research Tools".  Click "Information and Library Science".  Choose the "Library Literature & Information Science" database.  Select the "Thesaurus" tab. 

If the student does not find appropriate headings in Library Literature, s/he should develop headings that are consistent with those.

6. Non-print inclusion: submit two copies of equal quality when the master's paper includes items such as photographs, slides, or computer diskettes. For example, if including photographs as part of the paper, each copy must include original photographs and not photocopies. Put photographs and slides in acid-free holders, which are easily stored on shelves.

7. Arrange any folding tables or pages for ease of binding. Optionally, the table material may be reduced, reformatted, or placed on two pages.

8. Complete two copies of the Master's Paper Distribution Agreement and submit these with the final approved paper. It may be typed or printed.

9. Submit the two final copies of the paper to the advisor in temporary lightweight binders or folders that do not require punching holes in the paper; the extra abstracts may be laid in one of these. Students can obtain used binders in the SILS Library. Attach a label to each binder, giving author's name and paper title. Later, the paper will be permanently bound for the SILS Library.

10. When the advisor finds the final draft satisfactory, s/he signs both title pages and signs the form, REPORT OF APPROVED SUBSTITUTE FOR A MASTER'S THESIS.

11. The student submits to the SILS Office:

  1. The completed, signed paper (2 copies)
  2. A total of 5 copies of the abstract
  3. The REPORT OF APPROVED SUBSTITUTE FOR A MASTER'S THESIS (signed by the advisor)
  4. The signed Master's Paper Distribution Agreement (2 copies)
  5. PDF version of paper (see instructions)

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Indexing

1. The SILS Library sends a copy of the abstract to Library Literature for inclusion.

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Library Maintenance

  1. Both copies of the master's papers are bound. The SILS Library keeps one copy as an archival copy; one copy is kept on the shelves for circulation.
  2. A copy of the abstract is added to the Abstract Book and kept for reference in the SILS Library.
  3. Files by author name and accession number are kept in the SILS Library.
  4. Master's papers are available for borrowing using normal circulation procedures.

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Submitting the Master's Paper Electronically

Students are responsible for creating their master's paper in archival PDF format. Section 2 describes how to create a PDF in Microsoft Word. You may, however, use any application to create your master's paper, as long as you prepare a PDF version. If you use another method to create your PDF file, begin at Section 2:2 with your PDF file stored on disk. All computers in the SILS Computer Lab have the Adobe Acrobat Pro software installed.

1. Creating Your Document

We encourage (but don't require) you to use the Microsoft Word template to write your paper. This template will help you format your paper correctly.

  1. Write your paper.
  2. Save your Word file (please keep a copy). Be sure to include ALL parts of your paper in a single file for submission (abstract, paper body, any appendices, bibliography, etc).

2. Creating the PDF document and submitting for formatting approval

  1. Open your Word document. Click the FILE tab in the upper left-hand corner, then select Save As and select PDF(*.pdf).  Review the PDF to ensure that all text and images are correctly formatted.
  2. Type in the filename (your first and last name only, in all lower case letters, with no spaces - ex: johnsmith.pdf), and save it to either your USB jump drive or your Duck space (H:\ drive). 
  3. Give a printed paper copy of your paper to Lara Bailey so that she can approve the formatting. You will need for her to approve the PDF before you can complete the final step of uploading the paper and metadata to the Carolina Digital Repository.  There is a printer attached to a computer in second row of the inner lab.  This printer can be used for printing your master's paper.
  4. Once your formatting has been approved, email a copy of the final PDF to Lara Bailey (ljbailey at EMAIL dot UNC dot EDU). She will save the final PDF to the "Masters Papers\Approved" folder.

3. Submitting the Metadata for Library approval

  1. Once Lara has approved your paper, logon to any windows computer in the SILS Lab.
  2. Open your preferred web browser and navigate to https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/forms/silsmp.form.
  3. Fill in the fields under "Author Information," "Paper Information," and "Faculty Advisor." See the next step for information about the subject fields.
  4. Enter your subject headings in the "Subject topical" fields (2-3 terms are recommended). As you start to enter your terms, a list of controlled vocabulary terms will appear. You can select from that list or, if there is no suitable subject heading in the list, type your own. New subject headings should be drawn from the Library Literature & Information Science thesaurus for terms, or see the SILS Librarian for assistance. To access the thesaurus, follow these steps: from the UNC library's main website (www.lib.unc.edu), click on "E-Research Tools." Click "Information and Library Science." Choose the "Library Literature & Information Science" database. Select the "Thesaurus" tab.
  5. Note that Lib Lit has punctuation and capitalization rules that we must follow:
    •    Faceting is created by means of a double dash
    •    Only the first word of a multi-word term is capitalized except for those words that are proper nouns
    •    If a term contains a double dash (faceted term), the portion after the dash follows the same rules as the portion before the dash (initial caps, etc.).
    •    There is a space on either side of the double dash, and terms do not end in periods

    Examples of subject headings:
            Audiovisual materials
            Archives -- Collection management
            Coretta Scott King Award

  6. Under "File for Deposit," click in the text box or click "Browse." Select your PDF from the "Masters Paper" folder. SILS Lab computers typically have the I: drive mapped; your PDF can found under I: SILS Users\Masters-Papers\Approved\"Term Year" Masters Papers\firstnamelastname.pdf.  If the I: drive is not mapped, you can open the folder using this path:  \\storage.unc.edu\sils\users\.
        <>Double check that all the required fields are filled in and that there are no typos or other errors.
  7. Click "submit deposit."

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