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Starting the Senior Thesis in Classics (HC)

Research Meetings

Make an appointment with your subject librarians, Camilla MacKay (, Laura Surtees ( and Margaret Schaus (, for help with developing a topic and search strategies as well as for accessing resources so that you can accelerate the process of joining the scholarly conversation! 

Just have a brief question?  Email us for a quick response.

Keep up to Date with Research

For recent developments in scholarship and new publications, add a publication year limit, such as 2018-2022, when you search a database.  

Check the Society for Classical Studies website for abstracts from recent annual meetings.

Also look up scholars and publications on the Web and social media, especially Twitter, to find out about cutting-edge scholarship.

Classics Librarian

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Margaret Schaus


As you begin your senior thesis project, use these strategies and resources to find and analyze scholarly publications, ancient texts and material culture, and receptions of them across time.

Research Strategies

1) Developing a topic

Review books and articles you've read and found interesting and read over the papers you’ve written for your classes. Talk to professors and students in your department about your ideas. Consult Haverford’s digital thesis archive to see papers written by students in previous years. 

2) Creating search strategies

Take concepts from your reading and consider the topics you want to explore.  What potential connections do you see?  What factors do researchers focus on in their publications?  Then, turn those ideas into search terms.  Tutorial  

3) Accessing Resources

Conduct your research through our library catalogs Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon and databases.  Don't limit yourself to the materials that are immediately available in the Tri-College collections.  Take advantage of our interlibrary loan services Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon to have a much wider range of books, articles, and other resources delivered for your use.  Consult the WorldCat catalog Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon, which contains more than 500 million records for books, reports and other materials owned by libraries around the world. After you’ve identified an item in WorldCat, use the FindIt button to obtain it through interlibrary loan.   

4) Digital Tools for Analyzing Text, Data and Images

Explore ways in which you can analyze ancient texts and other sources that are key for your research topic.  Digital Scholarship librarians Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon provide tools and methods that enable students to interrogate sources including data visualizations, critical text editions, data analyses and computational methods.

5) Cited Reference Searching

Usually researchers find more sources in the footnotes in an article or book, but these will always be older than that publication.  Citation indexes like Web of Science  Connect from Bryn Mawr College  Icon  and Google Scholar provide a way of seeing who has subsequently engaged with the scholarly books and articles you’re interested in. By relying on connections between authors rather than subjects and by moving forward in time, citation searching can open up new avenues of research.  Tutorial

6) Joining the Scholarly Conversation 

Researchers conduct scholarly conversations in their publications, advancing new ideas and working toward consensus on significant issues.  By reading for these exchanges, you come to a fuller understanding of the dynamics within your field and how your research can contribute to the ongoing work.  To begin, see the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

Resources for Research

1) Literature Reviews

Literature reviews are a particularly useful tool for research.  They provide a rundown of scholarly sources relevant to a specific field or question of study.  They map out the intellectual landscape succinctly and give you the major landmarks in terms of key authors and significant titles for greater understanding.  Tutorial  and Oxford Bibliographies in Classics Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon.

2) Handbooks and Background

These kinds of resources provide overview essays that address major issues and topics within a field of study.  The authors not only discuss key content but they also provide a more sophisticated level of analysis and contextualization than you might find in a textbook or introductory study.  The authors are chosen for their expertise in specific areas and deliver authoritative essays.  The material in their bibliographies are good points of departure for further research and reading.  Tutorial and Companion series lists

3) Journal Articles

Scholarly journal articles are peer reviewed before publication and offer original, reliable, and in-depth research.  Accompanying bibliographies document key publications for further study.  You can find journal articles through both multidisciplinary and subject specific databases.   Tutorial  and AnneĢe Philologique Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon  and ZENON Connect from Bryn Mawr College  Icon

4) Scholarly Books

These provide an even more in-depth engagement with a topic and are vetted through peer-review. The Tri-Colleges have hundreds of thousands of titles but there are literally millions of additional titles available for you to borrow. Use WorldCat Connect from Bryn Mawr College Icon to find additional books. 

5) Relevant Primary Sources

In your readings, what kinds of sources are researchers using?  Collections of texts, images and data are available through Tripod and the Web.  Email your subject librarians for help in identifying and/or accessing sources including artworks, inscriptions and texts.  See also the Senior Seminar research guide and the Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology guide.