Throughout the semester you participated in a Research Project in order to show students the research process used by historians in the discipline of history. Within the first few weeks of the semester you chose a topic of interest and developed research questions to help you get started on your inquiry. Then you began to research your topic and gain background information like, key terms, events, dates, and people. Additionally, part of choosing a research topic is becoming familiar with other scholars interpretations; this is where reading and critiquing monographs becomes important.
Each of you were asked to choose two monographs on your research topic and to evaluate the author’s argument in a Paper Proposal. This means that you are now aware of how other scholars interpret your topic and where your argument will fit. This is important as new research needs to be relevant to current discussions and interpretations.
The discipline of history is an interpretative discipline which means that arguments are presented, usually in a written format, and the historian attempts to persuade the reader. In order for the reader to be persuaded an argument must be provided and effectively supported. The strongest evidence that historians use to support their argument is primary sources. Therefore, after you evaluated your two monographs you needed to find 5 primary sources on your topic. An Annotated Bibliography is an easy way to organize your sources and begin seeing where they will fit in to your argument.
Finally, the last step in completing a research project is to WRITE. Students need to write an informal research paper that introduces an argument on your research topic, critiques your monographs, discusses your primary sources, and describes anything you found interesting about your topic or sources. The Final Paper must be a minimum of 2000 words (roughly 8 pages double-spaced with 12 point font) and include :
An argumentative thesis statement. This is your argument and should be presented in your introduction paragraph (usually the last sentence).
The time period being studied, research topic, individuals involved, and any other significant factors of your topic.
A brief overview of the two monographs you analyzed and your opinion of it.
Discuss the five primary sources you found, how they relate to your topic, and what they taught you about the time period being studied.
A bibliography is needed at the end of your paper. This is different than the Annotated Bibliography. A bibliography just lists the full citations for your sources that you referenced in your Final Paper. These should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
Students need to use the Chicago Manual Style as this is the format and citation structure used in the discipline of history.
An easy way to think about breaking down the paper is:
Pages 1-2: Introduce argument and topic.
Pages 2 -3: Place your argument in perspective of other scholars in the field by introducing and critiquing your two monographs.
Pages 4 – 8: Introduce your primary sources and relate them to your argument. How do they support your interpretation? Be specific. Do not think your reader can make the connection, state the connection and importance of the source to your argument.
Pages 8 – 9: Conclusion. Every paper needs to end with the author reiterating their argument and drawing the paper to a close. This should be done in 1-2 paragraphs.
Students may use material from the Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliography for your Final Paper. Don’t forget a bibliography 🙂 YOU CAN DO IT!
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