In order to receive credit for a research paper, the student must submit a paper prepared in accordance with these guidelines.
Before beginning work on a research paper for History, you should do the following:
1. Get the topic approved by the instructor.
2. Do some preliminary checking of available resources to make sure that you will be able to find enough information about the topic you have selected.
Your final essay should be an organized presentation of ideas relevant to the topic you have selected. And, while some of the sources of information you use may present a biased or one-sided view of some issue, your job, as a history student, is to present an objective analysis of the topic. Therefore, you will not only be organizing and summarizing the reference materials used, you will also be evaluating them in terms of their contribution to an objective understanding of the topic of your research.
Be sure that you do each of the following:
1. State clearly the purpose or purposes of your research in the beginning paragraphs of your paper. This is your “thesis” or main argument. For example, whether you are describing some historical event (such as the start of World War II), exploring the causes and consequences of some historical event (such as the conquest of Mexico in 1521), make it clear to your reader from the beginning what you are doing.
2. Follow through with the purpose(s) stated in your opening paragraphs throughout the paper. Avoid including material that is not relevant to the topic or purpose(s) of your paper.
The final essay must be APA style/format.
The final essay should be 1500 words (total word count). The research paper must examine a topic within the course chronology, meaning American history up to 1865 for History 1301; and after 1865 for History 1302.
The final essay must have a “thesis” or central argument. Your essay must be both informative and argumentative. The thesis is your “stance” or “interpretation” of the events, based on your research sources. The sources you must rely on are:
1. A primary source…this is an original history document typically located on the internet thru a college, library, museum, or university website.
2. A scholarly book…most history books at a college or public library qualify as “scholarly” books because they are peer reviewed and written by professional historians or researchers.
3. A scholarly journal article…You can identify scholarly journals by their titles and content, which typically contain tightly focused material; for example the Journal of American History will have articles about politics, the economy, social movements, military history, or famous historical persons and ideas, all written by professional historians or researchers.
For scholarly journal articles, I will also accept a peer reviewed article from “The Economist”, “National Geographic”, “Popular Mechanics”, “The Atlantic”.
4. An encyclopedia entry with author…these are short, paragraph or page-long articles typically found on the internet. Wikipedia, history.com and similar sites do not count because their authorship is typically anonymous.