Campus Resources

Consult PURC for a List of Upcoming Workshops

Join a Community of Writers 

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While writing a JP or senior thesis may seem like the most solitary of all the writing you do at Princeton, it needn't be. In fact, because you'll be making important arguments that contribute to scholarly conversation in your department and discipline, you'll have the most rewarding experience if you do what professional scholars and scientists do: join or create a community of other writers and scholars who can exchange drafts with you, consult about the process, encourage you, help you decipher the expectations of your discipline, and offer feedback on your research, your ideas, and your argument. Seeking feedback on your writing — and writing near others — is an advanced writing practice.

The Writing Program, home of your freshman writing seminar, offers support and guidance to complement your working relationship with your adviser and help you find collaborators while you conduct your independent work. The Writing Center offers free one-on-one conferences with experienced fellow writers trained to consult on assignments in any discipline. Special 80-minute conferences are available for JP and senior thesis writers, who may sign up to work with a writing center fellow. In collaboration with the Director of Undergraduate Research, the Residential Colleges, and departments across campus, the Writing Center also offers a variety of workshops, events, and peer review groups for juniors and seniors throughout the year, including the popular boot camp series. These programs provide practical guidance for tackling big projects, help with crucial steps of the process like defining a research question and writing a proposal, and establish communities of writers for support and feedback. For the latest information on upcoming events, visit the Princeton Undergraduate Research Calendar (PURC). In addition to these resources, JP writers might find helpful the program's Guide to Writing the JP. For Senior Thesis guidelines and schedules, please see the Guides to Independent Work.

Find Assistance with Survey Research

If your independent work involves survey research, the Survey Research Center (SRC) can assist you in designing and implementing your own survey research project. The center provides consultation and guidance to juniors and seniors on study design, sampling, instrument development, data collection and data processing. The SRC also advises students on the best ways to follow the University’s guidelines for conducting survey research with human subjects; Guidelines for Requests to Survey Current Princeton University Students are available here. The center has a 12-station computer-assisted telephone interviewing facility, a library collection on survey research methods, and a network of external resources that you may access for your independent work. Students may also create a free online account on the center’s Qualtrics system, which enables them to develop and manage their own web-based surveys and experiments. For help or advice on starting your survey project, please request for an appointment or call 609-258-5660.

Choose, Apply and Interpret Quantitative Methods

Data and Statistical Services (DSS), located in Firestone Library, has librarians available to help you locate data as well as consultants to assist juniors and seniors engaged in statistical or other quantitative data analysis as part of their independent work. Every the fall semester, DSS offers a series of introductory data analysis workshops. To find data, contact the appropriate subject librarian. The DSS lab supports students in choosing, applying and interpreting quantitative methods, and with the use of statistical software needed to implement these methods (Stata, SPSS, and R) in a variety of academic disciplines such as economics, finance, politics, public policy, population research and sociology. For assistance with statistical methodology or preparing your data for your independent work, please consult the DSS lab’s schedule. As the services are in high demand between the months of February and April, we encourage you to plan your visits early. Please note that the lab does not provide assistance with homework assignments related to statistical methodology or take-home exams.

Tap into Library Resources

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With over ten individual libraries spread across campus, more than eight million printed volumes including rare and special collections, access to nearly 400,000 electronic books, thousands of research journals, hundreds of online databases and terabytes of geospatial data, the Princeton University library system offers vast resources to support student research projects. To learn how to effectively navigate the library system, you may want to consult one of the 53 professional subject specialists, visit a reference desk, use chat or email reference, or browse through the library’s collection of guides to subject research.  The Library also offers a variety of individual and group study spaces throughout its various campus buildings.

Copyright: The University wants to support students in becoming responsible creators and users of intellectual property. Whether you are a creator or a user of copyrighted materials, it is important to understand the key legal concepts of copyright. The Copyright Website offers resources to help students learn more about copyright, especially tools intended to support students in doing research and sharing their scholarship.

Endnote, Refworks, and Zotero are electronic "bibliographic managers", software that can enable you to create your own databases from references found in online library catalogs and indexes, and to automatically format references in any of the standard citation styles. The library offers regular workshops for these products, and also provides extensive online help.

Seek Effective Strategies for Independent Work and Find Support for your Multimedia Projects

McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning logo

With the JP and senior thesis there come new expectations for Princeton students. The size and scope of the projects are larger, of course, and this poses planning, scheduling and time management challenges. You get to follow your interests and choose what and how you want to study your topic, but this means you must make many more decisions. The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, located in Frist, can help you clarify expectations, identify useful resources, and make a plan. The center offers workshops and panels which complement what you can learn from your adviser, your coursework, the Writing Program and librarians, among others. Topics include: mapping out your semester; conducting efficient lab work; effective reading and note-making; and overcoming procrastination. McGraw offers one-on-one learning consultations that focus on time management and learning strategies when undertaking large projects.

Another McGraw Center resource is the Digital Learning Lab in Lewis Library, which offers state of the art computers loaded with memory, hard-drive space and special software for student work. Multimedia projects related to JPs and senior theses can benefit from the secure storage and enhanced power of these systems.  The Digital Learning Lab also offers one-on-one consultations to students who may be working on their multimedia or video project. Contact the DLL at [email protected] to set up an appointment or call 258-6073.

The dedicated staff at the McGraw Center can help you make the most of your independent work while enjoying the process along the way.

Get One-on-One Assistance with Statistical Analysis or Formal Theory Research

Image of Cornwin Hall

The Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) offers one-on-one assistance to Princeton students concentrating their studies in the social sciences and working to resolve statistical, formal theoretic, or research computing issues that arise during their research endeavors. Q-APS provides assistance to undergraduates undertaking independent projects such as junior papers or senior theses. Visit the Q-APS website to learn additional information about the program, find the right consultant for your needs, or schedule an appointment through the Q-APS consulting service. Feel free to send your email enquiries about Q-APS to [email protected].


Conduct Independent Work Abroad

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Many undergraduate students are called to conduct a portion of their independent work outside the Princeton campus. Whether you hope to travel abroad to collect field samples, conduct interviews, consult archives, visit research facilities to run specialized experiments or pursue a research project during a semester abroad at an affiliated institution, Princeton has many resources and programs in place to support your research ambitions. In every case, though, you will want to start planning early and discuss possible options with your departmental representative and faculty adviser, as well as coordinate with the Office of International Programs. Students looking to secure funding support should apply through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE).