Senior Project Guidelines & Help

All students enrolled in COMS 490—Senior Project are assigned to a member of the Communication Studies faculty who serves as the project advisor. The project advisor is the best source of help, tips, advice and answers to questions concerning all aspects of the project.

Students should carefully review the criteria detailed for their particular type of project on the main Senior Project page, and should follow these directions carefully. In the Communication Studies department, the Project Oral Presentation constitutes one third of the grade for the overall project. Students should design presentations with the Senior Oral Presentation Grading Criteria in mind.

All Senior Project written papers should adhere to the style guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA). The current APA Stylebook is the Sixth Edition (APA/6). An abbreviated summary of key points in APA/6 may be found at this website:

All Senior Projects involving research with human subjects, including surveys, polls, questionnaires, focus groups, or interviews must have prior approval from the college's local institutional review board (IRB), known on this campus as the Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB).

Applications for HSRB approval are currently conducted through Luther's course management system, "Katie." Follow these steps:

1) Log into Katie. At the bottom of the "My Courses" block on the left hand side of the main Katie homepage is a link to "All courses." Click on this link and it will bring up a list of all Katie courses.

2) Scroll down to the "Miscellaneous" category (towards the bottom of the screen) and then click on the "Miscellaneous" link.

3) The Human Subjects Review Board link will then appear on a screen with other courses listed. The Human Subjects Review Board link will be on the lower left hand side of the page. Click on this link and Katie will ask you to confirm that you want to be enrolled in the course.

You must enroll in the "course" to submit a proposal. Once you have enrolled yourself in the "course" subsequent submission will not require that you re-enroll. Rather the "Human Subjects Review Board" link should appear in your "My Courses" list.

When you enter the site you should find instructions and two different forms: Short and Full Forms.

"HSRB Short Form" will be used by many faculty and most students for senior papers and independent research. To use this form, the research must adhere to the following requirements:

  • no minors or mentally infirm
  • informed consent will be obtained from participants (informed consent template included)
  • no risk or harm
  • no deception
  • anonymous and/or confidential data collection

"HSRB Full Form" will be used in any instance in which the above criteria are not fully met.

Upon selecting one of these two options, you should click the "add entry" tab and complete the form. Use the email link at the bottom of the page to email Stephanie Travers that you have submitted a proposal (or simply email when finished). Be sure to click the save button at the bottom of the page when finished. After your form is completed and saved you can view it by clicking "view single."