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SPAN 4999: Capstone (Johnson)



This is the course guide for your SPAN 4999 Capstone Course. It is designed to act as a starting place as you research contemporary representations of the Spanish Civil War in modern film,  literatue, and art. If you have any problems with any of these resources, or need help finding exactly what you're looking for, please contact a librarian.

The road is made by walking.

--Antonio Machado

Remember that the research process is rarely a linear one. Allow for the revision of ideas, allow for serendipity. Build on the work of others.



Research Tracker

Research Tracker has been retired and shutdown.

Any questions, please contact libweb[at]fairfield[dot]edu



Getting Started:

1. Open the Research Tracker and sign in with your NetID and password.

2. Click on button to create a new project/paper, or click on "Add new paper, " and enter information about name, course, semester, discipline, start and due dates of your project.

3. Dates for each step can be edited for your specific assignment. Don't forget to save due dates to your calendar!

4. Complete each step in the Research Tracker by the assigned date.

Define Your Topic

State your research questions. Asking a topic as a question (or a series of related questions) has advantages because a question requires answers. 

Don't have research questions yet? That's okay! Through the process of reading, research, and writing, you will discover questions to ask.

Ultimately, your questions will lead you to a thesis statement.  What are some characteristics of a thesis statement?

  • A thesis statement draws an inference or makes a value judgement (your own).
  • A thesis statement should not restate obvious facts or plat details.
  • Some scholars have written thesis statemetns about Harry Potter.  Here's an example, written by Noel Chevalier, a professor of English at the University of Regina, in Canada:

    "J.K. Rowling depicts magic as a particular kind of science.  In the Potter novels, she uses magical science to underline that when the dominant discourse of any society is power, control, and an ignorance of justice, neither science nor magic can do anything to prevent evil from penetrating and ultimately overwhelming it."

Discovering your thesis is often an iterative and sometimes convoluted process.  Give yourself plenty of time and room to explore and reflect.

Keywords and Subject Terms

After reading or scanning your background sources, write down important keywords that you discover on your topic. Then, add additional terms that are synonyms for these keywords. Remember to include alternate spellings. Additional keywords can be added throughout the research process.

  • Remember to include synonyms and alternate spellings in the list.
  • Use keywords discovered in background sources.
  • Additional keywords and subject terms can be added throughout the research process.

Example: If my topic is the use of magic as a metaphor for technology in Harry Potter, I might develop a keyword list that looks like this:

Many of the terms in your keyword list may not turn up anything useful by themselves or in combination with other terms, so it's best to develop a generous list, providing yourself with many options.

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