The Challenge of Democratic Transition and Consolidation in Argentina and Chile: Military Influence and Political Reconciliation
by Kelly Senters, Government & Law and International Affairs, 2013
Thesis Advisor: Professor Seo-Hyun Park

Q: When did you start thinking about your thesis?
A: Spring semester of my junior year.

Q: How did you start tackling your thesis project at the very beginning?
A: Initially, knew I wanted to pursue an Honors Thesis to further explore Latin American politics, but I didn’t have much knowledge on the topic. To figure out a topic and narrow down my research topic, I spoke with my professors and read A LOT.

Q: Did your advisor explain the structure of a thesis project to you?
A: Yes. My advisor explained the structure of a thesis to me and showed me examples of theses from past years.

Q: Did you have to do a literature review? Had you ever done one before?
A: I started but did not end up finishing a literature review for my thesis. I had completed literature reviews prior to my thesis in some of my upper-level government and history courses.

Q: Do you remember receiving correspondence from the library about your honors thesis?
A: Yes. The reference librarians constantly reached out to assist in the initially daunting process of writing an Honors Thesis.

Q: What did you find most challenging about your thesis project?
A: For me, the most challenging part of my thesis project was narrowing my topic. Once I determined my topic, there were so many avenues by which to explore it. I had difficulty focusing in on a particular area.

Q: What did you find most rewarding about your thesis project?
A: I learned an incredible amount about the political, economic, and social climate of late-twentieth century Argentina and Chile! This new-found knowledge really instilled in me a desire to continue my studies in these areas.

Q: What assistance did your advisor/department offer you throughout the course of the year?
A: My advisors continually offered me support and guidance on my thesis throughout the course of the year. They read my chapters as I finished them and provided fruitful feedback in addition to pointing me in the right direction for research which would help to make a more solid final project.

Q: Did you meet with librarians in the course of conducting your research? How many times and at what stages of your research?
A: I spoke with a couple of the reference librarians in the course of conducting my research (more towards the beginning stages) but relied more on my professors as sources of information.

Q: What other kind of support did you rely on throughout the year to accomplish your thesis (IT, parents, friends, etc.)?
A: My parents and friends were incredibly supportive of my engagement in my Honors Thesis project throughout the year. I am truly grateful for all of their assistance and encouragement.

Q: Were you able to get access to all of the research materials you wanted for your project?
A: Yes! Between Skillman and Kirby libraries, many of the resources I wished to use were already available here at Lafayette. However, those which were not came quickly through the ILL process.

Q: Would you do anything differently if you went through the process again?
A: No.

Q: What advice would you offer other honors thesis students, especially in your department?
A: Even though the amount of research or writing might seem daunting at times, the sense of accomplishment at having composed a thorough and well-researched project is well worth the hard work.