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Undergraduate Honors Thesis

About the Senior Honors Thesis

An honors program is available to IS majors who have demonstrated their ability to perform distinguished work. The Honors Thesis allows exceptional students in the undergraduate major to demonstrate the ability to treat a problem in a substantial and scholarly way.  Students write an honors thesis on a topic related to information science and defend it before a faculty committee.  They may graduate with honors or highest honors; this designation is printed on the final transcript and diploma.

Registering for an Honors Thesis at SILS

Registering for Honors at SILS requires an application. The application should be submitted to the Undergraduate Student Services Manager prior to April 1 during the year in which the student plans to register for INLS 691H.

To conduct an Honors Thesis in Information Science, students must complete INLS 691H (offered in the Fall) and INLS 692H (offered in the Spring).  To be considered for admission into this course of study, students must meet the following course requirements and submit an application.

Course Requirements

The requirements for conducting an Honors Thesis in Information Science include having taken at least four INLS courses, including two numbered higher than 299, and having a total INLS GPA of at least 3.5.  The student should have an overall GPA of at least 3.3.

Application & Schedule

Prior to April 1st (effective for the Fall semester)

  1.  Provide a list of all courses taken by the student, along with the grades earned in those courses.  A print out from Carolina Connect is sufficient documentation.  Students are not required to request an official transcript from the registrar.
  2. Create a one-page proposal including a one paragraph description of the research topic, several questions related to the topic (i.e., what you want to discover or learn), and a short list of approximately five sources related to the topic. Also, add the name of the SILS faculty member you would like to serve as you advisor on this document.
  3. Gather the name of a SILS faculty member the applicant would like to serve as his/her advisor.  (It is required for the student to talk this over with the faculty member first and ensure they are in agreement to advise your Honors Thesis)
  4. The application will be submitted using the following form: SILS BSIS Honors Application 
  5. The advisor and the DUS, in consultation, will decide whether the student will be permitted to register for INLS 691H, and also whether the proposed advisor will serve as the Thesis Advisor.
  6. Once approved, you will be enrolled in INLS 691H for the Fall semester.

Prior to your registration period for the Spring semester

  1. If satisfactory progress is made, you will submit the Courses Requiring Instructor Permission form to be enrolled for the corresponding course
  2. Once approved, you will be enrolled in INLS 692H for the Spring semester
  3. Submit your final project to the Honors Carolina office by the required deadline; failure to submit your final Honors thesis will result in you not receiving Honors recogntion on your official record – Honors Carolina

Course Sequence

The honors program consists of two courses:  INLS 691H – Research Methods in Information Science, and INLS 692H – Honors Thesis in Information Science. INLS 691H will be taken in the fall of the senior year.  In this course, each student selects a research topic of interest, learns about research methods, and writes a research proposal.  Assuming satisfactory completion of INLS 691H, students register for INLS 692H in the spring of their senior year.  You must submit the form Courses Requiring Instructor Permission prior to your registration period to be enrolled for INLS 692H

Each student should select a thesis advisor based on mutual interest in the topic, and the availability of the faculty member to advise the student during the thesis work.  The student and advisor should meet regularly to discuss the student’s research and writing.

By the end of January, the thesis committee should be formed. The thesis committee consists of:
  1. The student’s thesis advisor, chosen when submitting the Honors Thesis application
  2. A second reader, identified jointly by the student and advisor, and
  3. The SILS Director of the honors program (Director of Undergraduate Studies)

The thesis must be completed and circulated to the thesis committee by the end of March, and the oral defense of the thesis must take place in the middle of April (exact dates will be based on the registrar’s calendar for the year).  The final approved copies of the thesis must be submitted to the SILS office; the due date will be communicated to those in the honors program, and it is always before the end of the semester.

Students who complete a high-quality thesis will graduate with honors; those whose thesis is exceptional will graduate with highest honors.  The SILS Director of the honors program will assemble all thesis advisors and second readers to evaluate the theses to be considered for honors each year.

BSIS Honors Thesis titles from the past:

  • Student and Faculty Perceptions, Attitudes and Use of Wikipedia by Alexander Foley (BSIS ’08)
  • Cognitive Strategies for Constructing and Managing Passwords for Multiple Accounts by Julia Kampov-Polevoi (BSIS ’08)
  • Illusionary Privacy in the Digital Landscape:  Identity, Intellectual Property and Privacy Concern on Facebook by Elizabeth Lyons (BSIS ’08)
  • PDA:  Personal Digital Assistant or Personally Distracting and Addicting? by Robert Shoemake (BSIS ’09)
  • Information Overload in Undergraduate Students by John Weis (BSIS ’09)
  • Faceted Search Implementation on Mobile Devices by Ashlee Edwards (BSIS ’11)
  • Self-Initiated Search Versus Imposed Collaboration by Beth Sams (BSIS ’11)
  • Building a Memory Palace in the Cloud: Instructional Technologies and the Method of Loci by Marla Sullivan (BSIS ’12)
  • Unfriending and Unfollowing Practices of College Student Users of Facebook by Eliza Hinkes (BSIS ’15)
  • Music in the Real World: Live Music Retrieval and the Limitations Thereof by Ryan Burch (BSIS ’15)
  • Investigating the Effect of Familiarity with Target Document on Retrieval Success in Group Information Repositories by Kimberly Hii (BSIS ’16)
  • Cross-Cultural Usability for Product Customization on the Web by Kristian Perks (BSIS ’16)
  • Library Policy as a Potential Barrier to the Access of Public Library eBook and eReader Services by People Experiencing Homelessness by Rachel Spencer (BSIS ’17)
  • Scaling Smart Cities: An Analysis of how Small Cities Implement Smart Technologies by Ryan Theurer (BSIS ’18)
  • The Impact of Social Norms on Users’ Smartphone Notifications Management Strategies by Cami Goray (BSIS ’18)
  • Visualization Technology Use in Secondary Mathematics Classroom Education by Xiaoqian (Sophie) Niu (BSIS ’18)
  • Is Mobile Work Really Location-Independent? The Role of Space in the Work of Digital Nomads by Evyn Nash (BSIS ’19)
  • A Bibliometric Analysis of Research Publications that Adopted the Medical Expendture Panel Survey (MEPS) Data by Jiacheng Liu (BSIS ’19)
  • A Usability Study of the Intelligent Assitant for Senior Citizens to Seek Health Information by Silu Hu (BSIS ’19)
  • The Drama of Dark Patterns: History, Transformation, and Why it Still Matters by Michael Doucette (BSIS ’20)
  • Human-AI Partnership In Underwriting: A Task-Centered Analysis of the Division of Work by Preston Smith (’20)
  • Self-Presentation Strategies in the Platform Profiles of Successful Freelancers by Mara Negrut (BSIS ’21)
  • Keep the Checking in Check: Analyzing Feedback and Reflection as a Strategy for Controlling Smartphone Checking Habits by John Lickteig (BSIS ’21)
  • Evaluating Collaborative Filtering Algorithms for Music Recommendations on Chinese Music Data by Yifan He (BSIS ’21)

These titles are available in the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library.  Check out the UNC Library Catalog for more information.

For information and university guidelines on preparing your Honors thesis, please visit The Honors Program website.