Research paper (12-15 pages)

Proposal due October 25 - in class & via oncourse. (Date changed because of conflicting info on course schedule.)

Draft due November 20

Final Paper Due December 6

Your research paper should be on a course-related topic of your choice, and you are encouraged to build on the materials discussed in class. You will identify a substantial primary source and at least six relevant secondary books and articles, and write an original paper based on your primary source.  You need to find a primary source of considerable interest to you, because your paper's argument should derive from the primary source itself, rather than from the secondary sources. It is recommended, but not required, that you use the assigned "Primary Source Evaluation" paper as an opportunity to identify the source on which your final paper will focus.

You will need to turn in a formal proposal and annotated bibliography for the paper by October 25 (see below), and a draft of at least 8 pages by November 20. The proposal and draft will not be formally graded, but deductions will be taken from the final grade if these are poorly done or not submitted on time.

Paper Proposal and Bibliography Due October 25, in class & on on-course.

The proposal will clearly identify the primary source on which your final research paper will be based and describe the historical question(s) you will address. Your paper must be based on questions you can answer by using primary sources.  It should also include an annotated bibliography of secondary sources.  Please use the following form:

Indentify your primary source (or sources) in the form of a bibliographic entry. If you are unsure about proper citation form, please see the section on the Chicago Style Guide availble through the "Quick Links" on the J300/J400 resource page. Please include enough information about the source and where you found it to allow others to easily locate it; if you are buidling on your Primary Source Evaluation, this will be a matter of cutting and pasting the information you provided there.

In 1-2 pages, identify and explain the question(s) you hope to answer in this paper. How will this source help you address your questions? What are its limitations? Where and how are you likely to need other sources (secondary or primary) to fill in the gaps? If appropriate, you can base this on your Primary Source Evaluation.

Append an annotated bibliography of relevant secondary sources. This should be a list of at least ten related books and scholarly articles, of which you should annotate five. Please see the J300/J400 resource page for instructions on finding sources, reading sources, and constructing an annotated bibliography.

Draft Due November 20

A draft of at least 8 pages and a self-evaluation form should be posted to OnCourse by midnight on Tuesday Nov. 20. This should be a substantial and editted piece of writing, not a rough collection of notes. The introductory paragraph should include a well-articulated thesis statement. The thesis statement and the topic sentences of successive paragraphs should be in bold-face. Note paragraphs and sections which you think need additional work in the text, and on the self-evaluation form. All borrowed ideas and evidence should be footnoted. Please see the section on the Chicago Style Guide on the J300/J400 resource page for guidance on formatting your citations.

Final Paper Due December 6, via OnCourse and in Hard Copy

Please submit a self-evaluation form with your paper.

Include the following information at the beginning of the paper:

  • Name and Date
  • An informative title; “Marriage in America” is too vague.

Please highlight your thesis statement, and the sentences that call attention to your most important pieces of evidence. The paper should be double spaced and 12-15 pages long in a reasonable font. I expect footnoted citation of all borrowed ideas and evidence. Please see the section on the Chicago Style Guide on the J300/J400 resource page for guidance on formatting your citations.

If you would like comments on the final draft, please leave a self-addressed, stamped 8.5x11 envelope in my box in the History Department, along with the hard copy of the paper.