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This section is concerned with members' research activities. Research may be in any field of genealogical or heraldic studies. This section is updated monthly. Members are encouraged to provide updates regularly. 

Starting in January 2004, ALL Members and Associates are expected to submit at least one (1) article a year for evaluation or conduct some other form of research or activity for the Academy. Articles may be published in any scientific or learned journal (peer review articles count as two articles). After three years of inactivity, the individual's name will be removed from the roll.  

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 The purpose of the Genealogy, Heraldry and Documentary Program is to create an interdisciplinary program which will provide significant insight and awareness into understanding varied aspects of chivalry, chivalric orders, genealogy, heraldry, numismatics, graphology, sigillography, symbolism, nobiliary law, castles & ceremony and history of institutions. The program is not a university, college or institute degree and is not accredited. However, a certificate and transcript will be provided by the Academy. Members completing the program will be allowed to use the postnomial  F.G.H.D.S. (Fellow of Genealogical, Heraldic and Documentary Sciences). Potential students must possess at least a B.A. degree from an accredited university.


GEN/HER/HIS -  25-30 Thousand Word Thesis - This research and thesis may be a previously written thesis or one being prepared for future university requirements.

Students completing the Fellowship program will receive a certificate and the use of the abbreviations FHS (Fellow of Genealogical, Heraldic and Documentary Sciences).

GEN/HER/DSC 401 Thesis

Students are required to prepare a mentor-approved thesis proposal, including an extended manuscript outline, as the requirements for this course. The thesis must demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge and an original contribution within the field. It must conform to the Academy's standards and is expected to be a minimum of 25,000 words, conforming to an approved manual of style, with proper referencing of the literature. All aspects of the research project are governed by Academy guidelines and the research parameters of the Fellowship field.


Participants prepare a faculty approved thesis proposal or proposal for a project in lieu of thesis as the requirement for this course. Academy guidelines and the research parameters of the Fellowship field govern all aspects of the research project. The thesis must demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge within the field of study which conforms to the Academy's standards and is expected to be a minimum of 100 double-spaced typewritten pages, conforming to an approved manual of style with proper referencing of the literature.

Course Topics and Objectives:

 The cornerstone of Fellowship work, after all preparatory coursework is completed, is the final project. It may take any of several forms, quantitative, qualitative, or participatory action research, or a major project demonstrating excellence, depending upon the expectations of the program faculty. In whatever form it takes, it must represent original work by the participant. At this level, it is the demonstration of mastery of an advanced body of knowledge in a given field.  

The final project will take the form of a standard "traditional" academic paper (thesis). The document will conform to the guidelines of the Academy, the expectations of faculty, and an acceptable style manual (example., APA - American Psychological Association. Publication Manual (5th Edition). Washington , DC : APA, 2001). The final project may also be conducted as a major project or an original work of the student, with the permission of the Chair, and conducted in compliance with the written guidelines governing such projects.  

This research preparation course is intended to empower the participants:  

Placement in Curriculum:   

Open entry, open exit.  Students may enroll in this course at any time during the year provided they have met necessary prerequisites  


There is no required textbook for this course; however, an extensive library and Internet literature search is to be conducted under the guidance of the instructor from which the students will select appropriate reading materials in support of their directed studies.  Selection of foundational learning resources is considered a required aspect of the proposal for study related to this course.  

Research books:  

APA - American Psychological Association. Publication Manual (5th Edition). Washington , DC : APA, 2001.  

Leedy, Paul D. and Jeanne Ellis Ormrod. Practical Research: Planning and Design. Prentice Hall, 2001.

Van Wagenen. Writing a Thesis: Substance and Style. Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1991.  

Course Schedule: 

Students are encouraged to complete all coursework within a twelve (12) month period from the date they receive their course materials.  Students should pace themselves accordingly.

Assigned Faculty Mentor :   

Students are assigned faculty mentors at the time of course enrollments. Specific faculty mentor information including a brief biographical sketch and contact information is mailed, faxed or emailed to each student upon receipt of course payment. Assigned faculty mentors are notified of newly assigned students upon students’ course enrollment.  

Students can expect to be contacted by their mentor within several business days after they have enrolled.  The faculty mentor will be accessible and will establish contact times with students as soon as possible. Faculty mentors and students may make contact through letter, fax, e-mail and/or telephone. Depending on student location, periodic in-person visits may be possible.

Need Statement for Research:

Effective preparation is the first key to a thesis. A great deal of literature exists in support of building an effective thesis and sufficient time must be dedicated to reviewing appropriate Academy materials and recommended guidebooks to gain sufficient orientation to the standards, procedures, and expectations of the effective thesis process.

 Course Assignments:

 Participants will gather supportive books and materials and conduct extensive reading before undertaking the preparation of the formal research (or project) proposal. Participants will maintain journal notations of the salient points of the literature. Upon preparation of the complete first draft of the proposal, participants will submit the document for peer review. Following peer review, participants will prepare and submit a final draft of the proposal for formal review by the instructor, before it is signed and sent to the chair and dean for final approval. Upon completion of the thesis, the student must help in the formation of a thesis committee consisting of the chair and external faculty advisor (professor).

The primary purpose of this course is to provide opportunities for students to carefully inspect the full reaches of the foundational and advanced literature within a well-defined area of study in the discipline. This course allows the student to select a topic for advanced reading, identify the appropriate literature, prepare a thesis for the central focus of the course, carry out the literature search, conduct the reading, maintain journal notations and undertake the structuring of a scholarly and publishable thesis.

The instructor will evaluate the completeness and effectiveness of the student’s written materials, including the proposal for study, annotated bibliography, and affidavit of peer review, and scholarly paper.

Grading Policies:  

Grades will be based on assignments and final thesis. The Grading Scale will be based on the following percentages:


Faculty mentors in consultation with their students will set the timelines for submission of all assignments. Below is a suggested timeline, which will allow students to complete the course in fifty-two (52) weeks.

Suggested Timeline                            Units  

  1. Week 1:                                      focus on communication alternatives                       

  2. Week 2:                                      make first e-mail contact

  3. Week 3:                                      complete library research elements and maintain contact with professor               

  4. Week 7:                                      conduct a major search for available literature and select peer review                  

  5. Week 9:                                      submit first draft of research proposal to peer review 

  6. Week 10:                                    submit research proposal          

  7. Week 12:                                    start writing the thesis               

  8. Week 13:                                    submit Chapter 1

  9. Week 18:                                    submit Chapter 2

  10. Week 22:                                    submit Chapter 3

  11. Week 26:                                    submit Chapter 4          

  12. Week 31:                                    submit Chapter 5

  13. Week 40:                                    submit completed thesis with corrections

  14. Week 52:                                    examination of Thesis Committee Board and have thesis bound.


 The student's work will be evaluated based upon a review of the components of the research proposal, including the research plan, the annotated bibliography, the manuscript outline, evidence of the peer review process, and final thesis (research paper).

Under the direction of the instructor, and referring carefully to the materials provided by the faculty mentor - a style manual and a thesis or dissertation research guide begin conceptualizing your project. First, identify your goal for research (or major project). Search Research Abstracts and local graduate university libraries for thesis or dissertation manuscripts with similar topics and methods and give these materials a careful review. With reference to the literature in research methods, select a research methodology that is highly appropriate for the focus of your research. Conduct library research and reading to identify the major existing research literature in support of your project. Identify literature that justifies the need for the project, as well as materials that effectively inform your work. Build a workable data-gathering plan and conceptualize your techniques for evaluation of the data. Prepare your thinking with regard to structuring the thesis or dissertation manuscript. Carefully maintain journal notations of the salient points of all readings and your reflections in preparation for the project proposal.  

Conduct a major search for available literature in support of your proposed research topic. Identify the primary works that inform the area of research. Conceptualize the thesis question, the theoretical foundation for the study, and methodology for conduct of the project. Carefully review the essential literature concerning this thesis, maintain journal notations, and build a brief annotated bibliography clarifying the essential literature in support of your project. This bibliography need not exceed forty entries.  

With the guidance of the instructor, read the literature related to the research methodology you wish to use in conducting your project. Also review a number of related theses and dissertations in the field, which utilize similar research methods. Maintain journal notations concerning the salient points of the readings. According to the directions of the instructor, prepare a first draft of the research plan. This draft should include, at a minimum:  

Conceptualize the proposed framework of the research manuscript, by preparing a project manuscript outline in the format of an expanded table of contents. Divide the outline into proposed chapter headings (Roman Numerals), subchapter headings (capital letters), section headings (Arabic numbers), and subsection headings (small case letters). The chapter headings should follow the recommendations of the selected style manual. The subchapter headings are used to identify the major elements of each chapter. The section-heading break down the chapter into still more defined areas. The subsections can be used to  identify the flow of the manuscript from start to finish, clarifying the importance of the study, the research methodology, the derivation and testing of the theses questions, the presentation of the academic argument, the progress of the scholarly discussion, referencing of the literature, identification and interpretation of the findings, limitations of the study, conclusions to be made, final recommendations, and other essentials of the manuscript (note Weeks 13 and 15 of course Completion Timetable).  

Submit your draft proposal to two colleagues familiar with the research topic for peer review, red lining (editing) of the document, and recommendations for improvement of content and clarity. Include the research plan, the annotated bibliography and the manuscript outline. Based upon the outcome of the peer review process, restructure your materials into a formal research proposal of approximately 10 double spaced typewritten pages. Attach your data gathering instruments and a brief annotated bibliography. Attach evidence of the peer review, including the names and contact information of the peer reviewers and their written comments.  

Submit the final draft of the research proposal for formal review by the instructor. Include the project plan, the annotated bibliography, the manuscript outline, and evidence of the peer review process. You will receive written feedback concerning all aspects of the research proposal and recommendations for final rework of the proposal. Once the proposal meets the expectations of the instructor, it will be signed, and submitted to the Chair for final approval. Upon final approval, the document will be submitted to the Academy for entry to your permanent record. It is at this stage that you will be formally authorized to begin conduct of the project and preparation of the manuscript.

The final paper will count 30% of your grade.  The research paper should include standard footnoting and a bibliography. You should use a basic style manual such as the APA (note textbook listing for APA - American Psychological Association. Publication Manual (5th Edition) - Washington, DC : APA, 2001) (note below under Thoughts about Writing). Papers must be submitted via the Internet by e-mail in an MS-Word format, for thesis committee evaluation. Once evaluated, the student will be asked to have the final hard copy bound in a hard black binder with the title, date, and student’s name affixed in gold print to the front and side of the binder. The student should observe other bound thesis from other universities and have it bound professionally by a Academy or independent printer or press.

As in all Fellowship research papers, you must present a defendable thesis statement (see above) in the first paragraph of your scholarly paper. Additionally you must demonstrate or prove this thesis throughout the paper. Papers without a defendable thesis statement will be given a “F” grade. You must back up all your statements with sound reasoning and documentation. First person is not allowed in formal writing.  

Regarding a research topic, you will be required to select a medieval topic of or pertaining to the Middle Ages (1100-1500 A. D.) and describe the topic in detail with emphasis on presenting a scholarly work with a defendable thesis statement. Heraldic topics may relate to modern or medieval periods.  

The instructor will reflect upon the following expectations in evaluating the work of the student:  


Contact between students and faculty can occur in a number of ways: phone, fax and electronic communications (Internet) are three examples. Students are expected to maintain routine contact with faculty throughout the course.  And while the number of these may vary according to the specific course and individual student need, the Academy requires at least four contacts during the semester.  Depending on the course, the professor may require these contacts to occur by phone. While these contacts will not be graded, students should be aware that they count toward the total required course exercises. The first phone call is particularly important. It must be made during the first week per the posted office hours.  Professors may modify the weeks of the follow-on contacts. Compliance/non-compliance with this requirement is reported to the Academy via Student Progress Forms.  

Thoughts about Writing

Purchase a collegiate writing style manual (American Psychological Association. Publication Manual (5th Edition). Washington , DC: APA, 2001). If you are unclear as to which is the appropriate manual, please contact me and we can discuss this important issue. All written work should adhere to the writing style and manuscript preparation guidelines described in your style manual.  Pay extra special attention to the rules related to referencing and citation of the academic literature.  In all circumstances, you will be expected to acknowledge the works of others.  

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty in any of its forms, including cheating, plagiarism, misuse of the Academy web site, and all aspects of unprofessional ethics, will not be tolerated. Any form of academic dishonesty is a basis for dismissal from the program.