Overview – You will be required to find a topic from the time period that this class covers, and write a 4-page minimum paper on it, based on the book and sources used in the class and some outside research, including primary source material. (To understand the difference between primary and secondary sources, please review the “What Are Primary and Secondary Sources?” page.) The paper will use at least 4 different sources, with at least 2 primary sources. You cannot use websites as your only sources; you must go to the library and the library database and read actual books and journal articles. Your primary sources may (and likely will) be from the Internet, as most of the newspapers and other documents that you can use are primarily available online. Your paper should explain why the topic you choose is important, and draw some sort of conclusion from the information you have presented.
Steps to take to write your paper-
- Choose a topic: The module topics are broad on purpose, so that you can find some part that you are interested in studying, be creative and do something that you are interested in. Don’t choose an excessively broad topic: for example, don’t try to write your paper about World War II. Not only will you not be able to adequately cover the material, but it will not be as interested, either for you or me. Instead, narrow it down. If you want to write about World War II, choose a smaller topic: women in factories, cooking on the ration, changes in technology, the Manhattan Project, comic books during the war, paratroopers, gliders, Pearl Harbor. . . There are many fascinating topics to choose from. Choose a broad topic, and find something within that project that catches your interest.
- Research: Begin by going to the library to find information about your topic. Create a bibliography with a brief description of each source. For information on how to create a proper bibliography see Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. You will be expected to use the correct format or you will lose points! You will be given an assignment early in the semester to help you begin your work (the Topic and Sources Assignment).
- Outline: Create an outline that shows how you plan to approach your topic and how you will write your paper. You will be given an assignment to create this outline (Outline Assignment) and will receive feedback on how your paper is shaping up.
- Write: This step should be obvious, write your paper. A few tips. Please use the correct footnote or endnote format, and you must use footnotes. Use Chicago/Turabian style! Use 12-point Times News Roman font for your body text, and 8-point Times News Roman for your footnotes. Once you have written your paper, read it over and revise it. The first time that your paper is read in full should not be when I grade it. Please do not waste space on a title page; just put your name and the title of the paper at the top of the first page, and start writing.
Primary Source suggestions – Your textbook has a section on primary sources that you should read and take advantage of as a start to your research. Books and articles by historians will also have handy Works Cited pages at the end, often separated into primary and secondary sources. Finally, the internet is a wonderful resource for primary sources, as many are being scanned for preservation and ease of access, so that they are not lost due to handling and age.
A note on plagiarism – Plagiarism is a form of cheating, and is defined as, “the use of another person’s ideas, words, data, arguments or sentence structure in any academic assignments as the student’s own without proper documentation or citation.” Any plagiarism will result in a grade of 0 on the paper. For more details about what plagiarism looks like and how to avoid it, review the “Academic Integrity & Scholastic Dishonesty” statement in the syllabus and the “Avoiding Plagiarism” PowerPoint, consult the Online Writing Lab (OWL) (Links to an external site.), or email me.