This paper is designed to give you the opportunity to explore an historical issue of your choosing in depth. The paper should be at least 15 pages in length (4,000), typed and in proper form, including endnotes and bibliography. The paper should be based on research which includes a primary source, a general survey, a journal article and a monograph. There should be reference to an historiographic controversy, that is, the essay should discuss at some point some issue about which historians disagree and should attempt to resolve the conflict.
When one thinks of a research paper, the natural tendency is to think that the most important element of a good paper is research. While it is very difficult to write a good paper with second rate research, the key to a really successful paper is developing an interesting thesis that demonstrates significant insights into the topic. While research is essential to this process, even more important is thinking through your research and working through your ideas until you have found the most significant insights, the best arguments and the best evidence to support those insights and the most effective way to express them. Because of the close connection between writing, discovery and developing one's ideas, about half of the semester will be devoted to writing the paper.
The process of producing this paper will be divided into four phases: questioning, research, discovery and presentation of results.
This will include the question which your paper will attempt to answer and a paragraph in which you sketch your research strategy. Be prepared to discuss your agenda with the class.
This bibliography must be typed in proper bibliographical form and contain at least one primary source, one journal article and at least eight secondary sources. Encyclopedias and other reference works will not count as sources, although you may use them in the initial stages of research. Be prepared to share bibliographic information with the class.
You will be required to hand in at least 40 note cards or the equivalent. These note cards must include all necessary bibliographic references.
This assignment is designed to help you check the quality of your research. You will be required to submit a bibliography of the most important sources you have used and describe what you have learned from them.
A. Assignment: Preliminary Thesis
In researching your topic you have probably developed some idea of what you want to say. This assignment is designed to help you focus your thoughts before you begin the process of writing a rough draft.
Be prepared to discuss the preliminary theses of the other members of the class.
These drafts should be at least 12 pages long, typed, in proper format and indicate endnotes. It need not be, however, a perfect manuscript: hand written corrections and typos are okay at this point. You should submit enough copies so that each member of the class has a copy.
Be prepared to discuss your classmates' papers.
E. Revising the Draft
This outline must be typed and must have a clearly stated thesis. In addition, the outline must have the topic sentences for the major divisions of the paper (at least 3) and the topic sentences for each sub-division (at least 2).
G. Critique of Second Drafts
IV. Presentation of Results
A. Final Things: Notes, Bibliography and Proofreading
These must be typed, in proper format, free from errors and include endnotes and bibliography. Be prepared to summarize your findings for the class.
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