Research Paper Instructions:

Your research paper should be an analytical and critical piece of writing examining a topic of your interest in World history. Ideally, you will investigate a person, event, topic within World history. But that is not necessarily required. If you are really excited about a feasible topic outside of the scope of this class, make the pitch in your abstract and I will decide whether you can make this project work.

You will need to do research into primary and secondary sources for this project. Primary sources are first person eyewitness documents, and often consist of letters, diaries, manuscripts, etc., a good collection of primary sources is the Fordham University  Internet History Sourcebook (Links to an external site.) .

You should plan to meet the following research minimums: 1-3 primary sources, 3-5 secondary sources. There is some flexibility here. For instance, if you do a paper on say, the Armana letters, you would cite those letters multiple times and that would be okay. This is where the abstract and proposing the project will factor in.

You will also need to research into secondary sources for this project. This will be articles and books written by mostly historians, who were not present at the event in question but have nonetheless written vetted, trusted accounts.

Your paper is due the last day of class: Sunday May 22

Grading the Paper:

• please note that the paper should be double spaced and printed in “Times Roman” font at “12 point” size.   In addition, the paper should have one-inch margins.  In the upper left hand corner, please list your name, the course number, my name, and the date.  Please remember to use page numbers and to give your paper a catchy, imaginative title.  And be very, very sure to check spelling and grammar.  Papers with misspellings will be penalized.

The paper should be minimum 3 pages in length.  You are encouraged to go over the page minimum, but students who fall substantially short of the minimum will be penalized

• First, remember that I will mark you down if the paper contains misspellings, grammatical errors, and any other evidence that you either didn’t proofread or can’t write a complete sentence.  Sloppiness will cost you dearly.  If you can’t take the time to proofread your paper (or get someone to look it over for you) you can rest assured that your grade will suffer.  A paper written the night before will have an excellent chance of earning a “C” or a “D” – if you’re lucky.  Don’t disappoint me by handing in shoddy work.

• Second, you must have an argument, other wise known as a thesis.

• Third, you must back up your argument with evidence from the readings.  That means that each paragraph should develop an aspect of your argument and then back up your contention with evidence.  Whenever possible, you should quote from the sources as well. Each paragraph should have at least one quotation, and several citations.

• Fourth, you must cite the sources you are quoting or drawing from.  Do so by using Chicago format. To cite a source in Chicago format: click insert and then footnote. Make sure your footnotes are numbered (1, 2, 3, etc..) When you fill out the sources: start with name, title (place of publication, publisher, year) and then page number. So a good citation looks like this: Eric Foner, Reconstruction (New York: Basic Books, 1997), 142. Once you have cited the source, you are not required to perform a full citation, instead you can use an abbreviated citation: Foner, 34. In a works cited page, cite the full citation of an outside source, ex: author name, title of work, (place of publication, publisher, date). If it is an internet source make sure to cite the full hyperlink so I can track it down and look at it myself. Remember, edu and gov hyperlink’s are the most legitimate. Make sure you critically assess any other website before citing it in this paper.

• Fifth, avoid unnecessary spacing to try and artificially lengthen the paper. Do not put extra spaces between the title and the paper or between paragraphs. Also, avoid long quotations. If you have a quotation longer than 4 lines that is fine, but you must single space the quotation into a block quote. This is so that you don’t have a page of quotes and no actual prose. Contact me with questions about this point.

• Sixth, don’t plagiarize.  While some history professor somewhere has undoubtedly assigned questions like the ones I have assigned, the evidence with which you will answer the question is unique to this class.  So don’t bother looking for someone else’s words in place of your own.  Also, remember if you draw anything from someone else’s work, even if its just an idea, you must cite it. Intellectual property is real, and if you violate it you will be punished. Students suspected of plagiarism will be hauled before the appropriate disciplinary body on campus and punished according to the laws of the university. Plagiarism WILL result in a ZERO for the paper, and could result in an F for the class. I am obligated to do this, I don’t like to do it, so don’t force me to!

• Finally, I will accept drafts of papers before the due date. If you have gotten an early start and want me to proofread your work, please send it to me. I will also accept late papers, they will not receive full credit, but better late than not at all!

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