Prepare a 7 to 10 page, type-written research paper on an approved topic, following the guidelines below.
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Ø Choose a topic that interests you, covering some aspect of U.S. history before 1877.
Ø Choose a narrowly-defined, manageable topic, rather than a very general, broad topic.
Ø For example, you would not want to define your topic as “The Civil War”; but you could define the topic as “The Role of Women on the Home Front in The Civil War”. (Yes, you can use this topic if you’d like)
Ø If you are not sure which topic you’d like to work on, thumb through the textbook and see which subject inspires you.
Ø Contact Dr. Thomas if you need help choosing or refining a topic.
FORMAT: Research papers must include:
Ø ACOVER PAGE with your name, paper title, and semester.
Ø An OUTLINE PAGE with your THESIS STATEMENT
- 1 page or less, with a thesis statement (saying what your paper will show or what it will prove about your topic).
- Anoutline showing how you plan to develop your topic is required and should be placed at the beginning of your paper.
- The outline shows, in abbreviated form, how your paper will be organized.
- It should be a page or less. Error! Hyperlink reference not valid..
Ø 7 to 10 PAGES OF TEXT (typed, double-spaced).
- Do not submit less than 7 pages.
- You must have at least 7 full pages of TEXT. Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.with endnotes.
- If you type footnotes at the end of the paper, this page DOES count as part of your 7 pages.
- Your Bibliography does NOT count as part of the 7 pages.
- Anyquotes in your paper that are over 3 lines must be INDENTED AND SINGLE-SPACED.
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]The standard research paper uses 1-inch margins, and 12-point Times New Roman typeface
Ø FOOTNOTES or ENDNOTES (“parenthetical” citations are not allowed).
- The paper must include at least three PRIMARY and four SECONDARY sources (see explanation below).
- You MUST cite the source for any material that is not your own.
- This is done using a footnote (“endnotes” are also acceptable).
- Use the footnote form in either the Error! Hyperlink reference not valid..
- Do not use parenthetical citations (that is, an author’s name and a page number in parentheses at the end of a sentence).
- Ask Dr. Thomas or a reference librarian for assistance.
- Do not use encyclopedias.
- Do not use online encyclopedias, such as about.com or Wikipedia.
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NOTE: If you use Microsoft Word to write your paper, there is a FOOTNOTE function that will allow you to insert a footnote and will automatically keep track of the numbering of footnotes. In later editions of Word, use the “REFERENCES” Menu and select “INSERT FOOTNOTE”. I am happy to show you how this works – and you can also get help with this at any ACC Learning Lab.
Ø A BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE with Primary and Secondary sources separately.
- A Bibliography is different from Endnotes or Footnotes.
- A Bibliography goes at the very end of your paper, on a separate page – AFTER the Endnotes.
- Follow the bibliographic form found in either the Error! Hyperlink reference not valid..
- A bibliography is alphabetized by author’s last name.
- For THIS paper, you must separate the bibliography into Primary and Secondary sources. But for most research papers, you do not do that.
- Ask Dr. Thomas or a reference librarian if you need assistance.
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Ø Writing assignments must be typed and double-spaced.
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Your paper must argue a thesis -that is, something you are trying to prove about your topic.
Ø It is not enough to say what happened and when – you must argue the historical significance of your topic.
Ø For example, if you are writing about Women on the Home front during the Civil War, you could argue that women played roles critical to success, such as working in government offices, growing crops, running businesses, and providing critical nursing care for soldiers.
Ø Your paper would then discuss and support this argument by giving evidence (examples) from historical sources. State your thesis on the OUTLINE page.
Ø Example of a thesis statement:
- “This paper will prove that women on the home front played a critical support role during the Revolutionary War, by supporting boycotts, raising money, making or rationing critical supplies, and participating in recycling campaigns.”
The paper must include at least three PRIMARY and four SECONDARY sources.
[if !supportLists]Ø [endif]A primary source is something written (or left) by someone who lived at that time in history and took part in the events that you are writing about.
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Examples of primary sources are: diaries, letters, legislation, tax records; property deeds; business ledgers; newspapers, government documents, autobiographies.
The following are good starting points for primary sources:
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]The ACC History Department website (www.austincc.edu/history)
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]My website has a lot of links to documents (www.austincc.edu/tmthomas)
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]History museum websites often have documents (for example, a museum dedicated to World War I) or LINKS to documents
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Public television website (pbs.org)
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]The Library of Congress website (loc.gov)
One way to easily search for primary source documents is to use Google and search for
“primary sources [your topic]”
“documents [your topic]”
“archives [your topic]”
So, if your topic is Harry Truman, then your Google search would look like:
“primary sources Harry Truman”
“documents Harry Truman”
“archives Harry Truman”
You should get plenty of results using this method.
[if !supportLists]Ø [endif]Secondary sources are accounts of the event that take place sometime after the event has been completed.
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]These are often books or articles, written by scholars, to analyze the importance of some historical event.
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Do not use encyclopedias.
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Do not use online encyclopedias, such as about.com. history.com, or Wikipedia.
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.org .edu Or .gov
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]A good starting place for secondary sources is the bibliography at the end of each chapter in your textbook.
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Another good place is the library’s card catalog. Do a search on your subject. Ask a librarian for help.
Ø You CAN use online sources – documents or scholarly books online. You cannot use online encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia, History.com, or about.com. Look for websites that end in .edu or .org. or .gov College and university libraries are useful. History museum websites are useful, as are government websites, such as the Library of Congress (Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.).
Your research paper will be graded “ACCEPTABLE” or “NOT ACCEPTABLE”. Only “ACCEPTABLE” papers will be counted towards the grade of “A”. You will be graded on
Ø the thoroughness with which you cover your chosen topic;
Ø your ability to present your topic and supporting evidence logically and clearly;
[if !supportLists]Ø [endif]your ability to organize and communicate your arguments clearly;
Ø your ability to follow directions.
Any act of academic dishonesty will result in you receiving an immediate F for the course.
You may turn in your paper early (by Dec 4th). If there are any problems with it, I will give/send it back to you to correct.
For your research, you must use college oruniversity libraries, as opposed to public libraries.
Ø The college/university libraries will have a greater selection of scholarly (non-fiction), research-oriented sources on a particular topic.
Ø Perhaps the best way to start is to jot down some questions about your topic that you would like to answer in your paper. This will help you to develop an outline.
Ø Your outline should be a logical progression of ideas that explains your topic.
Ø Next, compile a bibliography of possible sources, then consult your sources to see if they are suitable for your paper.
Ø After you have written your paper, be sure to proofread for typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, etc., as these will seriously detract from the quality of your paper.
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