HIST 1483, Dr. Malka, Fall 2020

Directions for Paper #2

Paper two is an original research paper of approximately 2,000 words, or 6-7 pages, double-spaced. It calls for you to engage in the essential skills of a historian: defining a research question, gathering evidence, analyzing primary and secondary sources, and developing and articulating an original argument based on your findings. Imagine your audience as intelligent readers craving new knowledge about the past, but unfamiliar with these documents. What can you tell them about the sources that will surprise them—that will deepen their understanding of American history?

You have two choices in approaching this assignment:

  1. Select a research topic from one of the seven research kits provided at http://explorehistory.ou.edu/research-kits-for-hist-1483/. Each research kit has multiple primary sources and secondary sources. Using these research kits, write an original research paper that includes roughly six to ten of the primary sources and at least two of the secondary sources provided. Please note that while there only are seven research kit topics, there are various research questions that you can pursue within each of them. You can take these papers in many different directions as long as your argument is supported by evidence.
  2. In consultation with your TA, you may come up with your own research topic. If you choose this option, you will need to find at least 7 to 10 primary sources and at least 3 secondary sources on your own. You must receive formal approval of your topic from your TA in advance if you choose this option.

For help finding additional primary sources, please see: http://explorehistory.ou.edu/1483-primary-source-collections/ or the OU’s library webpage devoted to this course: http://guides.ou.edu/pre. The library stacks and electronic resources are where you should look for secondary sources. For additional help, please see: http://guides.ou.edu/pre/secondary.

Paper Requirements

  • Your paper should be submitted in whatever format your TA prefers, and should be around 2000 words long (about 6 or 7 double-spaced pages in Times New Roman font). Please include a word count at the end.
  • Use 7 to 10 primary sources as a target figure. Depending on the sources you use, you may need to go over this range. Check with your TA for approval in that case.
  • You will also be required to turn in two preliminary assignments in preparation for writing the research paper: a paper topic/research plan as well as an annotated bibliography.
  • The final draft of the paper is worth 200 points; the preliminary assignments are worth 25 points each 
  • All papers must include footnotes formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style. See the Citation Guide on the Exploring U.S. History website.

Writing the Essay

Work closely with your TA and use the resources available on the Exploring U.S. History website to include the following in your paper:

  • A strong thesis statement in your opening paragraph
  • Body paragraphs that begin with clear topic sentences and support your thesis with 
quotations from the primary documents
  • Historical writing that carefully guides the reader through your argument

Throughout the essay, your sentences should be clear, logically organized, and efficient. Quotes and evidence need to be smoothly integrated into sentences and paragraphs, and both your spelling and grammar must be correct. Conversely, you need not use fancy vocabulary or convoluted jargon. Simpler is better. After you’ve completed your first draft, please proofread out loud. The best argument can be undermined by poor writing—weak topic sentences, poor paragraph structure, awkward phrasing, excessive quotations, a feeble vocabulary, or typos. Clear writing is hard, and requires time, patience, and repetition.

Please note that collaboration between students on the assignment is considered inappropriate and plagiarism of any sort will not be tolerated. If you plagiarize, you will not only earn a zero on this assignment; you will also be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity. The final work must be your own. If you have questions academic integrity, please consult:

http://www.ou.edu/integrity/students#OU-and-Integrity and http://www.ou.edu/integrity/videos

Important Due Dates

  • October 8-9: Final Paper Topic and Research Plan due by discussion section. (25 points)
  • November 12-13: Annotated Bibliography is due by discussion section. This is a finalized list of primary and secondary sources for your essay and a 2-3 sentence summary for each. More information about this assignment will be provided in sections later in the course. (25 points)
  • December 3-4: Final Draft of Paper #2 due by discussion section. (200 points)