Research Paper (12 pages)

Topic Selection Exercise Due January 19

Proposal due February 23 - in class & via oncourse.

Draft due April 2

Final Paper due May 4

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 "Source Evaluation" short paper as an opportunity to identify the source on which your final paper will focus.

Topic Selection Exercise, Due January 19

Please read the J300/J400 Resource site's advice on identifying a research paper topic. Use this week's reading assignment (the entire course schedule, overviews of books by Carole Shammas, Nancy Cott and Stephanie Coontz) to identify an area of interest on which to begin your research efforts.

By noon on Tuesday, Jan. 19, please post to OnCourse a 1-3 sentence description of your general topic, a question that you would like to answer in your paper, and a bibliography that includes all the relevant material from the course schedule (you can cut and paste the citations) and at least three other sources drawn from Shammas, Cott and/or Coontz's footnotes. Organize your bibliography so that primary and secondary sources are listed separately.

Paper Proposal and Bibliography Due February 23, 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. Briefly describe it using these guidelines for evaluating primary sources.

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?

Append an annotated bibliography of relevant secondary sources. This should be a list of at least twelve related books and scholarly articles, of which you should annotate at least five. At least two of the items you annotate should be major scholarly books related to your topic, and your description should draw on and cite scholarly reviews of these book. (We will discuss this requirement in our library session.) Please see the J300/J400 resource page for additional instructions on finding sources, reading sources, and constructing an annotated bibliography.

Draft Due April 2 / Peer Review due in class on April 6

A draft of at least 7 pages and a self-evaluation form should be posted to OnCourse by midnight on Friday April 2. This should be a substantial and edited 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.

See linked page for the details of the peer review assignment.


Final Paper Due May 4, via OnCourse and in Hard Copy

Please submit the rough draft containing my comments and a self-evaluation form with your paper. You can also annotate and hand in the checklist I gave you when I handed back the drafts it you'd lke to help me see where you have made particular effort. I will pick these up from the History Dept. Main Office (BH 742) at 8:00am on Wed. May 5. History Department office hours are 7:30am - 4:30pm.

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 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.