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Three Approaches to Senior Theses

central_magnet_schoolCentral Magnet School, (Murfreesboro, TN). For the past eight years, as part of graduation requirements, Central Magnet School requires student to complete a Senior Thesis. The Senior Thesis is an interdisciplinary project where seniors synthesize what they have learned, demonstrate college level scholarship, and develop and complete an original process or product that contributes to the greater field of study. Students must incorporate cross-curricular components by having two faculty (one in the English department and one in another department) as part of their thesis panel. Students choose a topic of interest that they research with the help of a mentor who is an expert in the field within the community. Mentors for students have included university professors, politicians, medical professionals, educators, engineers, and individuals in IT and marketing. During the theses, students also have regular conferences with a Field of Study Advisor, who is an expert in the field and their Senior English teacher.

Students choose from one of three approaches to their thesis. The Experimental Thesis approach includes research in the areas of Bio-Med and Psychology. For example, a past topic addressed “Antibacterial Properties of Cockroaches and Maggots against Escherichia coli.” The Product Thesis approach involves a student creating a product based on their research. For example, students developed apps and computer programs, wrote business plans and novellas, composed concertos, and created documentaries. The Systematic Thesis approach answers a definite research question by collecting and summarizing empirical evidence. For example, a student thesis addressed “The Rise of a New Tornado Alley: The Impacts of Dixie Alley’s Rise to Power.” The thesis culminates in students publishing and defending their findings.