Working toward an ALM degree and writing your thesis can be a remarkable intellectual and personal experience.
At the end of the journey, you'll be a changed person. For one thing, you'll have, quite literally, mastered a subject. You'll have figured out a way to advance a proposition clearly and convincingly. And you'll have expressed that hard-won knowledge, publicly and officially, in a written document: the thesis or capstone article.
Along the way, you'll have developed habits of critical thinking that will affect your engagement with the world and the actors in it long after the thesis is done.
Your road to the ALM will not always be straightforward, however. Some stretches will be smooth and others will seem uncomfortably bumpy. You might head down some blind alleys, especially at the beginning. You'll arrive at crossroads that might require you to change your research direction; you might even have to pave your own path, pioneer style, in still-uncharted intellectual territory.
This guide is meant to help you navigate the terrain, first by identifying general strategies for getting yourself organized and advice on common researcher pitfalls you can avoid.
Additionally, you'll find here a refresher on HOLLIS searching (for those who've been away from Harvard, or their thesis project, for a while); a description of several of the cross-disciplinary databases librarians most commonly recommend; and some methods texts that ALM instructors regard highly.
Contact us anytime with questions big or small, and enjoy your CTP adventure!
Mary Frances Angelini, Research Librarian for the Harvard Extension School
Jonathan Paulo, Online Learning and Research Librarian for DCE
Sue Gilroy, Librarian for Undergraduate Writing Programs, Harvard College Library